Expectations often lead to disappointment and hurt. As an individual, everybody has expectations-parents, children, relatives, friends, employers, colleagues, etc. In return, everybody expects at least something back. It would also depend on whether the expectations you have are practical enough.
It’s not bad to know what you want out of life, who you want to become, and what path you’re going to go. The problem arises when we tend to have too high expectations from ourselves and the people around us. I truly believe that the secret to a happy and fruitful life lies in the ability to control people’s expectations and situations.
The biggest dissatisfaction in life is usually the result of misplaced expectations. Thus, one of the most important challenges we have to face is learning how to accept people for what they really are. Correct the expectations of others, and you’re likely to reduce the feelings of disappointment and pain in your heart and finally have a chance to focus on things that really matter. Just realize that other people’s expectations can’t change them. But you will also change your attitude and, as a result, find satisfaction in your interactions with others.
Why Do Expectations Hurt?
We can divide expectations into 2 forms:
The first one is kind of a personal one. These are the expectations that we set on ourselves, the easier example of which may be as simple as someone having a personal goal.
And the second includes the expectations that we have about others, that they could be your friends, lovers, parents, etc.
Now let’s have a brief look into each one of them:
Expectations Set On Your Own Self
So how could something as easy and positive as setting a personal target to be counter-productive? OK, when you put an expectation on yourself, it means that you have laid out the expected truth of your mind that is expected to be fulfilled in a set amount of time.
When the reality of your behavior falls short of your goals, your expectations will not match the reality of the world. E.g., you may try to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months, so you slip into a cheat dinner, miss the gym here and there, and voila, and then you’ll know that you fell short of your expectations, so you get upset, drown in self-loathing, shame, and guilt.
Expectations Set On Others
Forget about not meeting a personal expectation that is more in our hands. Many of us put unimaginable expectations on others. This is like betting on someone else’s reality to match our fantasy.
Here’s the real truth about raising expectations for others when others’ very human performance falls short of our expectations, which will inevitably happen from time to time, we’re going to feel bitter and self-righteous. So every time you get upset that someone else’s behavior doesn’t fit your expectations, realize that your mind is playing you. At the end of the day, you can’t control others’ truth, and, despite that, putting your happiness at the hands of someone else’s behavior is the easiest way to feel bitter and resentful.
What Can We Do About It?
Now that we know how expectations will affect us and make us feel bad about life, the big question remains, “What can we do about it?”
So Here Are How You Can Set Your Expectations Without Ending Up Getting Hurt:
1. Tempering Your Expectations
That is to say, setting realistic expectations would allow you to accept the relationship as it is. Lowering your expectations of others will benefit you. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change others, this acceptance will make you feel better. Sorrow and disappointment happen when the expectations don’t materialize. Workaround the group, the way they’re working with you. If you do a favor, don’t ask much in return. Remember, you become the most powerful of everything you do if the action is done for its own sake, rather than for any secret motive behind the story!
2. Difference Between Expectations and Dependence
It would be best if you were clear about this. If the occurrence depends on what’s happening outside of you, you’re continually living as a slave to the external situation. Your dependence on others is going to hurt as your expectations are going to be very high. Never make someone responsible for your happiness.
3. No One Is Perfect
Acceptance of this helps you to control your expectations. Everyone’s got flaws, and the same goes for you, and this is OK. No one can satisfy what you expect from them, except yourself. What you need to do is get on with yourself and be positive with yourself.
4. Don’t Ask People To Read Your Mind
You need to accept that even those close to you might yet not be able to decipher your expectations. If you did something for them, it might not be true vice versa. In return, your behavior should be without any hidden expectations. You’ve taken an extra step, or you’ve gone an extra mile, and that’s what you wanted to do at the moment. It was right to do it, but expecting something in return would eventually make friendship become a barter system.
5. Change Your Focus
If you say you’re disappointed, you’re probably disappointed. Also, If you focus your thoughts on negatives, you’re just going to expand them and feel frustrated. If you change your mind to more caring and positive thoughts, you will be able to let go and move on with your good self.
6. Having Plan B Helps
If you work with alternatives, it will reduce the hurt. You ought to be flexible, take the alternative route, and move forward. It’s easy to accept to go on. If there’s no plan B, it’s important to shut the lid and go on and accept that you’ve done what was right for you, you’ve done your bit.
7. Don’t Take It Personally
Better it’s to say than to do it. Try to focus on it. Just be yourself. Let the others be. Move on without making it a personal one. It’s helping in the long run.
The Bottom Line
The expectation is the source of all the pain in the heart.
Expect what you can, reach out to, and be aware of the fact that sometimes life throws a curveball at you. Try to be confident when maintaining positive expectations; remember not to make those expectations so high that they are impossible or unreachable.
Acceptance is a beautiful trait that needs to be actively followed. When things don’t turn out the way we’ve planned, it’s much more important to understand how reality works rather than being frustrated by the situation. Have more hope than expectations, and you tend not to be as disappointed.