Expectations: a belief that something will happen as we want it to be and will last forever. Whether it’s you or me we all expect a lot from our life or even our family, friends, relationships but at the end we all get disappointed because it doesn’t turn out as we want it to be and that’s the problem with expectations. Sometimes we interchange the meaning of hope and expectations and some people even feel they mean the same but they don’t. Hope is a wish for something to happen while expectations is the assumption that something is actually going to happen.
So, the question is why do we expect?
From our childhood we have heard from our parents about what they expect us to be and we try to fulfil their expectations and that’s how we start expecting from others, that is we expect more because we are conditioned to expect more. Like every morning, everyday we get our breakfast ready on our dining table but if one day we’ll not get our breakfast we’ll get disappointed. It is a human tendency to expect and get expectations in return. There is nothing wrong in this because we are social beings and our relationship with society is mutual but the fact is that sometimes, we over expect and that just kills us from inside. Expectations should be realistic i.e. which can be fulfilled. Realistic doesn’t mean to lower our expectations to avoid disappointment, it basically means to do what we can to make our goals realistic by fulfilling the conditions and requirements for success. What might seem unrealistic to us may be realistic for others so it just depends on our circumstances or our choices. We have emotions and feelings, that is why we tend to expect the same love and care we give to others but we have to accept the fact that all our expectations might not be fulfilled.
Managing our expectations
We expect a lot from ourselves and others but what we don’t realise is that most of our expectations are unrealistic which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. So managing those expectations is necessary.
Managing personal expectations
- Give yourself some time
We can manage our personal expectations towards our goals by giving ourselves some time to fulfill them rather than trying to achieve them instantly and making sure that we have a realistic plan to achieve them.
- Stop judging yourself
We should stop criticising ourselves for failures and being disappointed when we are not able to achieve our dreams . Whether it’s success or failure it teaches us some lessons so we should keep them in mind and start working hard towards achieving our goals.
- Modifying expectations with the new situation
If we are not able to fulfill any of our personal expectations it may be due to the changes in the current situation so we should try to modify our expectations with the new scenario.
Managing expectations from others
Managing expectations from others is not as easy as managing our personal expectations but we can always try to do so by communicating with them and telling them that what are you expecting from them so that it will make things easier.
- Predict other’s expectations
We can try to anticipate what people expect from us and either work to meet those expectations or communicate about why they should be altered.
Can expectations really affect reality?
So, let’s take a random scenario, you planned your day.
“Tomorrow will be a productive day, I’ll workout in the morning, will read some novels and books and will work on my assignments.” And the next day you woke up in a bad mood because a new construction work started in your neighbourhood and that caused a headache and you are not able to do anything you planned to do .So that’s how expectations affect reality. If we might have not planned what we’ll do the next day the situation might have been different, we might not be disappointed. Sometimes we’ll not be able to do what we wanted to do but we should not be disappointed because of that.
This is one case, let’s take another case of expectations related to our career. We expect that we’ll achieve everything in the world but if we don’t work hard to achieve those goals there is no point in imagining then. To get a perfect future we need to work for it in the present by giving our 100% and then you’ll be able to achieve everything you want to. So, expectations can turn into reality if we work hard for it and work towards it with passion and interest.
This is one side of a coin that is expectations from life, career and the other side is expectations from people. Keeping expectations from people is not bad but you should be ready for its consequences because maybe they’ll not be able to fulfil it. You need to accept the fact that when others do not live up to your expectations, it’s perfectly fine.
Everyone has different views on expectations. Some feel like expectations lead to anxiety, hopelessness, depression, impatience while some feel it increases your morale to work towards your goals. In my perspective lowering expectations is the key to happiness because if you don’t have expectations you would simply take things as they come and deal with them.
“Expectations feed frustration. It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli