Are Expectations a Function of Ego?

Today I was running through a drive-thru to get a quick breakfast.  Little did I know that this would be a moment that would allow me to explore my feelings to understand and ask “are expectations a function of ego?”

The car in front of me pulled forward after getting their food and then stopped just far enough that I could pull up to the window.  I paid, got my breakfast burrito and was ready to jet out of there.  Well, the guy in front was still sitting there.

I let out a friendly tap on the horn, this was the type of honk that says “excuse me”, not the type that says “move your ass.”  Just a quick note on the horn to let him know that I wanted him to stop digging in his bag of food and get going.

I expected he would wave and move along.   Well, he didn’t. He stuck his arm out the window and signaled for me to pass him on the right.  Fortunately, there is an open area that allowed me to do so.  But I was mildly miffed.  Why was it more important for him to sit there than to get out of the way?

I maneuvered around him and exited onto the street. The way the streets are, I have to make a quick right turn, then another quick right turn to go through the alley behind the restaurant to get to the main street that I needed to take.  This gave me the opportunity to do a second look and see if he was still there.  Sure enough a couple minutes later, he was still planted in the drive-thru exit.

This got me thinking though.  Was my upset really necessary?  Did he do anything wrong or was it that I was upset that he didn’t move for me.  If so, then this injured my ego and as you may know, anytime the ego feels injured, anger arises.

So my expectation of him moving had nothing to do with him.  Rather it had to do with me and my belief that he should not be there blocking me.  Was he wrong for do so?  Yes, I made him wrong for doing so.  Is that the truth?  No.  It is only my opinion.  Opinions are not truth.  The truth of the situation was he didn’t move.  That is neither good or bad, only what was.  My interpretation of the situation made it bad… because my ego was bruised.

I think that this is one of the most difficult things for people to do, that is, to separate “what is”, from what you feel and your opinion about it.   If we could live in the place of just experiencing what is, and not place our opinions around it, we would live in a more peaceful environment.  Unfortunately, so many people are reacting to their environment and forming an instant opinion and then taking that opinion as truth, that they get upset, angry, frustrated and even violent.

Everyone does this, but if you understand this, you are able to separate the “what is” from the opinion.  Then you can have perspective and insight into yourself and possibly make a small change within.

Bottom line, if you are feeling anger, frustration, or upset from a situation do not react.  Pause and think about what happened and see if it is worth these negative emotions.   The next time this happens to you ask, are expectations a function of ego?  Post a comment below and share with me if you have had a similar realization.

2 thoughts on “Are Expectations a Function of Ego?”

  1. Great reminder! I agree that ego plays a big part. I had a very recent experience where in hind site my ego/pride was bruised, but also the thing that occurred was inappropriate and non-professional. So I would be interested in hearing how you get another person to see the issue and realize that what happen was more than emotional it was a poor business decision. So how to take out the emotion and address the business professional concern.

  2. I think what you stated is key. Alot of times we expect people to react a certain way and when they don't follow the path we expect them to we can get upset. Ego and expectations go hand in hand. Maybe it has the human tendency to want to be right. And for me, during those rare times I'm actually able to be mindful, I try to imagine why that person did something. Many other events or emotions for that person that lead up to that moment. It helps me calm me down a bit and reminds me that when I get upset, I'm just hurting myself and you're not enjoying the present. Thanks for the post!

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