The Bigger Picture

Expectations—They’ll Getcha Every Time

Oprah Winfrey interviews Chelsea Handler

Sandra, a not so well-known but dear friend of mine tossed out this pearl of wisdom over dinner a few weeks ago, “expectations are preplanned disappointments”. The adage made perfect sense to me as a litany of instances where my own pre- and ill-conceived notions of how a situation should unfold (or how someone should behave) ended with me getting the short of the stick. So I put forth the effort to change my modus operandi.

And it worked for a while.

Until some situation went down in a manner that was not to my liking. Or expectation. And lo and behold, when asked for his opinion on the situation, Jon (my roommate in New York last fall) made the observation that I was taking things too personally.

I responded with, “…well, I’m the person it’s happening to.”

What can I say? Old habits die-hard. But I gave the matter serious thought and realized I had inserted myself into a situation that really should have no bearing on my life at all.

Last night a similar situation occurred.

I’ve followed Oprah Winfrey along her very public journey of self-discovery, and her sharing of God’s call on her life with the world. To say that bearing witness to her walk has inspired me would be a gross understatement.

Oprah has been at the forefront of self-empowerment, self acceptance, and overcoming obstacles (internal and external). She’s established them as tenets in her brand and even shored up her once floundering network by injecting it with more of her core beliefs.

I was baffled last night that she would deign to give Chelsea Handler—a woman known for her cruelty and callousness— global exposure on her platform. In all honesty, Chelsea Handler was completely off my radar until I saw her February 2012 interview on Rosie O’Donnell’s show on OWN where they both disparaged Little People. As a Little Person, I was mortified (along with hundreds of people nationwide) at the unabashed objectification, denigration, and abject ignorance both women displayed regarding Little People during that interview.

This isn’t my first time at the rodeo, so I’m well aware that Oprah Winfrey is free to do with the Oprah Winfrey Network and its programming whatever she sees fit. But the fact is she’s been the driving force in crafting a brand so firmly rooted in principles of love, respect, and empowerment; but to turn around and then showcase someone who’s schtick is in direct opposition to those principles, I had to wonder: is altruism at the heart of OWN? Or is it a desire for more eyeballs no matter the cost?

Before going off on a rant, I had to examine why this pushed my buttons so, every response that came to mind began with “I”. The all-important ego, self, me, myself, and I dominated the justifications. And that wasn’t a good sign. It all came back to my expectations of what Oprah should or shouldn’t do.

The take-away: expectations are preplanned disappointments. People are people. We’re all free to make our own decisions. I know I’ve made decisions which may seem incongruous with my values that have left people scratching their heads. Who knows why Oprah chooses who she chooses to interview? Regardless, those choices have no bearing on my life. At all. The next time she chooses to interview someone who is in conflict to my core beliefs, I always have the option to change channels.

Now that’s living my best life.

5 thoughts on “Expectations—They’ll Getcha Every Time”

  1. Sitzy says:

    I’m in agreement with John N.’s comment about the blog, “Its subject seems relevant to me now as well.”. As always, Clay, thanks for letting me bear witness to some of your walk.

  2. Katie says:

    Love this and agree on so many levels! Thanks for sharing Clay

    1. Clay Rivers says:

      Katie! Thank you for swinging by the blog! Feel free to pass it on. I miss you! —xox—

  3. John N. says:

    I enjoyed reading this blog post, Clay. Its subject seems relevant to me now as well.

    1. Clay Rivers says:

      John, thank you. Some might interpret this stance as apathy, but I have to disagree. It’s more about boundaries and allowing others to make their own decisions free of my presumptions or judgments.

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