Update – The winners for this giveaway are:
When life doesn’t meet our expectations, it can devastate our sense of security, threaten our self-esteem, and leave us feeling lost, scared, and out of control. I know—I’ve been there quite a few times before.
Like the time I moved across the country to live with a man I’d met online just a month prior, only to recognize nine months later that we were two broken people who were toxic together.
Or the time I got involved with a multi-level marketing company, thinking I’d be a huge success, only to realize six months later I’d invested myself (and my savings) in a pyramid scheme.
Or when I left LA with my fiancé, thinking we’d be able to live on two coasts near both of our families, only to realize after three years in limbo that we couldn’t make it work.
When things don’t go to plan, we feel out of control, angry with ourselves, and possibly with others. We wonder what we could have done differently and if we’ll ever be happy, now that the thing we pinned all our hopes to hasn’t worked out.
Author Christine Hassler knows a thing or two about dealing with these kinds of life-shattering disappointments.
In her new book Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life Christine addresses how to deal with disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual level.
If you’re disappointed, maybe even devastated, by unmet expectations in your personal or professional life, you’ll likely appreciate the insight, wisdom, and practical exercises that pepper her book.
It will help you reframe what’s happened and empower yourself to thrive, not in spite of your struggles, but because of them.
I’m grateful that Christine took the time to answer some questions about her book, and that she’s offered two free copies of Expectation Hangover to Tiny Buddha readers.
To enter to win one of two free copies of Expectation Hangover:
- Leave a comment below
- For an extra entry, share this interview on Twitter or Facebook, and post a second comment with the link
You can enter until midnight PST on Monday, May 2nd.
*US winners will receive a physical book in the mail; winners outside the US will receive an eBook.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to write this book.
My own expectation hangovers and work as a life coach, spiritual counselor, author, and teacher inspired me to write the book.
I noticed people’s greatest suffering happens when their realities don’t match up with their expectations and/or when life throws them an unwanted curveball that leaves them with what I call an “expectation hangover.”
Most of us want to get over disappointment ASAP, but we often miss a big opportunity for positive change with that approach. What expectation hangovers offer us is a way to become more responsible for our own lives.
Disappointment isn’t a bad thing, or even something to be avoided. In fact, my greatest disappointments have lead to my greatest successes.
Today I am grateful for all my expectation hangovers, from leaving my successful career as a Hollywood agent at twenty-five to being in debt to health issues to my divorce, and inspired to teach people how to leverage their expectation hangovers!
2. How do you define an expectation hangover?
An expectation hangover is the myriad of undesirable feelings or thoughts present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:
- A desired outcome does not occur.
- A desired outcome does occur, but does not produce the feelings or results we expected.
- Our personal and/or professional expectations are unmet by ourselves or another.
- An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what we want or planned.
- A career path that was planned and executed with precision becomes tainted with doubt and lackluster.
- A relationship with “the one” suddenly becomes the one thing we can’t get right.
- A salary or promotion that was counted on is not a reality.
- A home that was dreamed about still remains a fantasy.
- A pregnancy that is wished for isn’t happening.
- A parent who we could always lean on suddenly isn’t there anymore.
- A lover or spouse leaves.
- An illness interrupts our life.
- A job and the financial security that came with it is gone.
And then there are expectation hangovers that are more spiritual in nature that happen when we have checked off everything on our life checklist and still experience a lack of fulfillment.
The symptoms are similar, but far more miserable and lasting, to those caused by a hangover from alcohol: lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, confusion, denial, anger, poor work performance, diminished creativity, strained relationships, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, regret, and a disconnection from a higher power.
While suffering from an expectation hangover, we are typically caught up in regretting the past or latching on to something we think will make us feel better. We’d do anything to end our suffering—the problem is we just don’t know what that is.
Expectation hangovers usually fall into one of the following three categories:
Situational Expectation Hangovers
These occur when something does not turn out the way we wanted or we do not get the anticipated satisfaction from achieving a result.
Interpersonal Expectation Hangovers
This kind of expectation hangover occurs when we are let down by someone else or unpleasantly surprised by the actions of another.
Self-Imposed Expectation Hangovers
These occur when we do not live up to the standards or goals we have set for ourselves. In other words, we are disappointed in ourselves and the results we’ve achieved or failed to achieve.
3. What are some of the most common unhealthy ways we cope with expectation hangovers, and what are healthy ways we can begin to treat an expectation hangover?
It takes a lot more than two aspirin, some greasy food, and staying inside with the lights low to treat an expectation hangover! Because we don’t like feeling bad, we look for an external way to ease the discomfort.
Rebound relationships; abrupt career changes; miscalculated risks; “over-ing” in the form of drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, work, or shopping so much so that it becomes an addiction; and numbing oneself with something like television are common.
The first step to treating your expectation hangover is to get yourself out of any kind of victim thinking.
“Why is this happening to me” is the wrong question to ask. Ask instead, “What am I learning? and “How is this happening for me?” That simple shift in questioning will rescue you from sinking into the quick sand of victimhood and hopelessness.
Next, keep your mind out of judgment, regret, and shoulda/coulda/woulda thinking. Remember, you did the best you could. You didn’t do anything wrong. Your worth and value are not attached to anything or anyone external.
Security from any outside source is an illusion—your ultimate “safety” is in love. Surrender is much sweeter than being addicted to control. And again, you didn’t do anything wrong. Really, you didn’t, and neither did anyone else.
Which brings us to the next step—to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean you condone or agree with what happened or didn’t happen. It means you are in acceptance and letting go of judgments you are holding toward yourself or anyone else.
4. You talk about “spiritual bypasses” in Chapter Two—immediately jumping to the blessings of a disappointing situation. How can this be harmful?
It can be harmful because we may miss an opportunity for healing and change on the emotional, mental, and behavioral levels.
Yes, every situation has a blessing, and a lot of time that blessing can come in the form of a lesson. If we do not pause to ask, “What am I learning?” and immediately skip to finding the silver lining, we miss out on a deeper opportunity.
Spiritual bypass also skips the emotional level. We are humans and we feel. It is natural to feel sadness or anger in response to an incredibly challenging situation. Not allowing ourselves to feel can lead to suppression in the disguise of being spiritual.
To me, part of being spiritual is also welcoming and having deep compassion for the human experience. Spirituality is not just about being positive; it’s about being raw, real, and vulnerable with what we are authentically experiencing.
5. How, exactly, can we leverage our expectation hangovers for growth and fulfillment?
Instead of continuing to feel emotionally hungover, you can break the cycle and use those tough times as a catalyst for change.
That’s not to say you can’t grieve over a loss or express disappointment: Allow yourself to be human, don’t judge yourself, and don’t feel like you need to “fix” things right away. But when life throws you a curveball, you can learn from it and ultimately grow from it.
Here are three common scenarios that I have seen—and have experienced myself—and how to cope with each.
A Relationship Ends
First of all, realize that no one else can be the source of your happiness. The post-breakup period is an important time to work on yourself rather than outsource that responsibility to someone else.
Second, take off the rose-colored glasses. A lot of people put their past relationships on a pedestal. But if a person breaks up with you, you don’t want to be with that person. And we know it’s tough, but you should stop all contact with your ex (unless you have children together).
Relationships have expiration dates, just like the yogurt in your fridge. Women tend to have these expectations that we are meant to meet someone, be chosen, be proposed to, and when that doesn’t happen, we feel like a failure. But that’s not true—you learned what you were supposed to learn from that person, you didn’t do anything wrong; it was just meant to end.
And remember: A breakup is always a transformational door that opens to improve yourself and nurture your spirit.
A New Job Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
At twenty-five, I had climbed the ranks in LA’s entertainment industry, ending up in a big job with a big office, an assistant, an expense account, and power lunches. But I was miserable every day, and finally I quit, and eventually discovered my passion as a life coach.
Ask yourself: If I don’t feel like my work is meaningful or it’s not making me feel the way I want to, how can I change it? It’s in your power to redirect your thoughts and action.
Take someone who works at Starbucks: They could hate the drudgery of it and the early hours, or they could appreciate the aroma of coffee and the fact they get to connect with people all day long. It’s all in the way you look at that, and you need to be proactive about it.
You’re Not Reaching Your Health Goals
If you’re trying to lose weight, you know how frustrating it can be when the scale doesn’t budge, or you skipped your workout (again). To overcome this pessimistic mindset, be mindful of the “story” that you’re telling yourself.
When people try to lose weight, they tend to have a negative self-image. They’re eating right and working out, but their negative self-talk is still weighing them down. Plus, a big part of losing weight isn’t only physical—you have to heal your heartache or emotional baggage before you can make other physical changes, she notes.
There is also an entire section in the book called “Quick-fixes that work” in terms of preventing disappointment, so I’ll share my two favorites:
Don’t go to a Chinese restaurant when you are craving nachos.
In other words, be realistic about your expectations of others. Too often we expect people to act the way we desire or the way we would in a situation, when they are just not capable or willing. Period. End of story. You can’t change them. When we understand we cannot change people, and accept them rather than expect something from them, we prevent expectation hangovers.
Gorge on gratitude.
Expectation hangovers happen when we pay too much attention to what is either not happening at all or not happening in the way we’d like it to.
When we shift our focus to the amazing things in our lives—people, health, a place to live, and all the unexpected wonderful surprises the Universe delivers on a daily basis—we move out of a lack-mentality and into an abundant view of the world
6. Can you elaborate a little on how disappointments can actually be blessings in disguise?
Often life has to throw us a curveball (or several) so that we look in a different direction. The problem becomes when we desperately try to dodge the curveball, attempting to get out of feeling uncomfortable, and we miss the lessons that are available to us.
If things are not turning out like you had planned or want them to, that is actually really good news. The Universe has a better idea in store. But first you have to let go of the plan you have been attached to so that your Higher Self and the Universe can conspire for you.
Instead of thinking about how to treat an expectation hangover, consider how you can leverage it. This goes back to what I mentioned before—ask yourself, “What am I learning?” rather than “Why is this happening?”
Think about some of the most inspirational people you know. I guarantee you that part of what makes them so inspirational are the expectation hangovers they have been through. They leveraged their hangovers for their growth and learning. Instead of trying to snooze through the alarm of disappointment, they woke up!
Your expectation hangovers are gifts. Each one has been an opportunity to let go of something external that you have clung to for worth, safety, or love.
I really get that disappointment is not at the top of your wish list. However, if you learn how to respond to expectation hangovers from the perspective of a student rather than a sufferer, I 100 percent guarantee you will walk through doorways of transformation that will lead you to more love.
FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site.