Becoming Aware of Your Expectations

We all have expectations and beliefs we hold on to, and they create our daily lives. Maybe they are learned from childhood or through media, though are they real?

Look at your expectations and decide whether they are supporting your well-being. Are they realistic, manageable, or do you bump into disappointments regularly? Do you have a belief that something should be different?

Expectations inherently are not necessarily negative. It depends on how realistic they are in your current life. The key to your overall happiness lies in being aware of them and deciding what is best for you.

Take time to listen to yourself and evaluate what you expect from others and yourself.

Our expectations are often automatic, and we are not conscious of them; we react. If you feel that you and others are not meeting expectations, step back and listen to what you are saying to yourself.   Here are some ideas to play with:

Expectations of Others

How often do you set expectations for others and their behavior, and do they frustrate you because they will not change their behavior? Somewhere inside us, we believe that if we want them to change, they should and can.

Ask yourself, “Is my belief that they can or should change serving my well-being?”   I doubt it, as other people only change what is important to them, not necessarily what is important to you.

Also, your expectation may not fit who they are as people.   One area I became aware of regarding expectation is how we seek love from others.

  • We expect them to show love to us the same way we show love.
  • The way we offer love is familiar to us, though it may not be familiar to the other person.
  • Will your need for love be satisfied if you expect the other person to show love the way you do?
  • Are you angry, frustrated, argue with them, pout, sit within that feeling of helplessness, and feel entitled to your belief that they must change?

If your constant thought is they must change, it’s sapping your energy, and you will not get your need met. If your goal is to be loved, step back and become aware of how the other person expresses love towards you, and you may be pleasantly surprised it feels good.

We can’t change anyone but ourselves.

Expectations of Ourselves

When you decide to make a change, you are probably eager to have it occur right now.   It doesn’t usually happen that way. Change is a process.

Expectations for ourselves can be positive or negative – it depends on how we feel about ourselves.

  • Positive Expectations – helps us create a goal, anticipate the challenges, and believe that what we expect ourselves to do is specific, measurable, and doable. We include the time to meet what we set out to do in our plans.
  • Negative Expectations – you should be perfect in what you do, never make mistakes, and expect to complete it in an unrealistic time.

Some thoughts to manage your expectations of yourself:

  • Give yourself time – it takes time to make the adjustments to include a new belief or action that adds a change to your life.
  • Be flexible – You can decide to create change in your life, believe you know how to do it, and maybe something goes wrong, or you didn’t anticipate all the different parts of the change, and it takes longer to do.
  • Let go of judgment – most of us criticize ourselves frequently, and when we don’t live up to our expectations, we feel like failures. When managing your expectations, keep in mind that you are changing and are a beginner, and beginners need more time and make mistakes.

Enjoy being a beginner with the changes you want to make in your life.

Ways to Let Go of Expectations

  • Notice your expectations — you are disappointed, frustrated with yourself and others because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted
  • Writing down our feelings helps us sort them out and release them from our minds. We park them elsewhere and give our minds a break.
  • Review your expectations, and figure out where they came from and if they are serving your well-being,
  • If you bump into frustration, review the situation and decide what worked and didn’t work for you.
  • If you don’t meet your expectations, be compassionate with yourself.

Thoughts automatically surface every moment of your day, and you can’t stop thinking. No matter how hard you try, ideas flow up into your consciousness.

It’s good to sit back and observe and recognize that not everything needs a reaction.

Your Thoughts

Think about the expectations you carry around in your life. “Shoulds” are abundant in how we treat ourselves and others.   Can you release at least one “should” today?

Women’s Group Topics

Whenever I’m in a group, expectations pop up in many conversations.    I guess it’s normal to be frustrated and feel that life isn’t going the way you want it to.   Yet, maybe looking at one’s expectations could help us let go of thoughts that don’t serve us. Release the need to struggle and instead be balanced with what is happening in your life.

Be well,

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)


Other Topics You May Be Interested In
5 Powerful Traits to Develop in Your Life
How to Let Go of Ambivalence
Are You the Artist of Your Life?



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