We live in a world of diverse people with varying abilities and personalities and in constantly evolving circumstances. This makes having expectations with a one size fit all approach very tricky.
What are expectations? Expectations are future oriented; that is they are beliefs we have about something that is most likely to occur. As you can see, they take our awareness out of the present moment which challenges our ability to respond in the now.
Many people believe that having high standards will motivate and inspire them to reach some goal, keep them from being lazy and idle, and prevent them from being exploited or taken advantage of. The disadvantage of too high standards is that they don’t motivate us, but instead make us risk avoidant because we fear failing so we don’t even try.
Unrealistic expectations are unhealthy. Our emotions, self-worth, and self-esteem are intimately connected to the beliefs and ideas we have about our bodies, ourselves, our roles, and our lives. When we fall short of meeting an unachievable idea, we can end up feeling inadequate and worthless.
And when these expectations are extended into our relationships they invariably lead to resentment and discord. We can end up jumping to conclusions that limit you and others with the word “you always forget…” or “I always mess up…” Over time these idealistic beliefs can ruin our relationships with ourselves and others because they cause us to feel and act in negative ways.
Some examples of unrealistic expectations are believing good relationships are always smooth sailing, needing to always be perfect and positive in all situations, being liked and praised by everyone, needing things to be fair, being in control of situations beyond our control, expecting to be able to do everything, and not making mistakes. Too high expectations set us up for disappointment, self-loathing, and resentment.
A peaceful mind is borne from having realistic, and accurate expectations of ourselves, others and situations. Relaxing our high standards helps manage anticipation and expectation, which play a vital role in healthy living.
May you be expectation free for a happier, healthier life.