Do you find yourself complaining a lot, suffering a lot of let downs and disappointments? Is your life blighted by ongoing sagas about poor service or products that do not perform as they should?
When faced with being let down, or being disappointed, do you look for someone to blame — or do you acknowledge somewhere in your psyche that the problem may actually be one of your own making — the problem of false expectations?
I am not sure that my curious habit of looking at why things happen to me is personal to me, a small group of people or everyone — it is not really a subject that gets discussed over lunch or dinner.
I guess it could be a strong sense of personal responsibility that drives me to navel gaze as much as I do — or maybe an accumulation of lessons learned over my 55 years.
I know, for instance, that it was silly of me to expect the bath in the hotel in Pau to be full-sized when I was only paying 39 euros a night.
But was I so silly to expect a superb meal in a Michelin starred restaurant charging nearly a hundred pounds each for a three course meal for two including wine?
A lot of my earlier “failures” were undoubtedly due to me having unrealistic and therefore false expectations both of what was expected of me and with what I expected from others or from the situation at hand.
Lots of English idioms come to mind — “You get what you pay for” and “No pain, No gain” are just a couple.
It goes further than that though — if you have false expectations, were they of your own making or are there external factors which in the end leave you feeling you have been “suckered?”
I think in personal relationships, I have to take the responsibility — for being too trusting too soon, for misreading people’s intentions and also for hearing what I want to hear — rather than what people are saying. In other words I have, at times, been naïve and have been wearing “rose tinted spectacles.”
However, when it comes to outside services — from banking, to holidays, eating out to the provision of internet etc. — i.e. where I am handing over my hard-earned euros — I believe I should get what I pay for and a product that does what it says on the can, which of course, is where false representation can come into play.
Every minute of every day we are bombarded by “ideal” standards, you are not a “functioning” member of society unless you have a mobile phone, a new car, an iPad and a holiday home. This is the new version of the 2.2 children — the ideal family. There is a constant push for us to buy and consume. The perfume adverts where the girl always gets her boy — the deodorant adverts where the man always gets the girl — the loan adverts for loans at horrendous rates that clear all your debt and allow you a Caribbean holiday — conveniently not mentioning the new debt you have just acquired.
Just how much should we believe that “X” Hotel is wonderful just because they have a very flashy website and superb photography?
Do you ever check behind the publicity façade — check review sites where real people, including me, share their real experiences?
Do you check a review magazine before you buy a new camera to see how they perform — or do you trust the hype of the advert?
The next time you invest in time or money in someone or something take responsibility — do a reality check — ask yourself if your expectations are reasonable and if what is being offered is represented correctly and then you may just find that life gets a little easier along the way.