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Set healthy boundaries.

Even if we understand the motivation of difficult co-workers, we still need to take care of ourselves. If we don’t set limits around our personal space, we can be trounced on or move into co-dependency. No one in today’s workforce should put up with ongoing harassment. A toxic environment quickly affects productivity and efficiency. We can’t do our best work if we’re bombarded by anger, by the fear of losing a job, or by unfair expectations.

When we consciously or unconsciously harbour expectations that are much too high, we set ourselves up for failure. As a result, we end up feeling frustrated, angry and personally discouraged.

Expectations play other roles in relationship conflicts as well. Whenever we form a relationship by means of another person, we almost always have expectations about how both we and that person should think, feel, and behave. When these expectations are violated, stress can occur.

Friendships, for example, are based upon a mutually understood set of expectations. We expect our friends to be loyal, honest, and trustworthy. We expect they will never try to hurt us or harm us intentionally, and that they will always be responsive to us when we are in need. When people who profess to be our friends don't behave in these ways, we feel angry and betrayed. Perhaps they were never our friends at all. Perhaps they were only out to use us. But our faulty expectations may have caused us to perceive them as being more committed to true friendship than they really were. when our expectations about ourselves, about life, or about others are too low, we experience decreased self-expression, underachievement, depression, resignation and diminished self-esteem.

When you become consciously aware of your hidden expectations, however, this can free you from being dominated by them. You can look at a specific expectation such as "Life should always be fair" and ask yourself "is this really true?" When you pause to think about this question for a moment, you will often see things in a much more accurate light.

Of course life isn't fair. Tornados aren't fair. Street muggings aren't fair. Death isn't fair. Betrayals aren't fair. The point is, once you become aware of an untrue or unrealistic expectation, YOU gain the power to free yourself from it.

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