The Impact of Having Expectations – Reblog

Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   We are very sensible especially about the things that matters for us. Because of this, we can be easily influenced. But guess what? The biggest influence comes from within, to be more precise, from our expectations. I approached this topic a year ago, but I still find it fresh and with a huge importance (the original post can be found here).

   Wondering about how and why our feelings are changed, I bumped into another potential reason. Expectations are the ones that bring us down when they are not met and they also bring a little joy into our lives when everything happens as we predicted. Is this a good or a bad thing?

   Of course, this is debatable. It might be a good thing because we are not caught off guard when things happen as we expected, but this also neutralizes the amount of feelings we get and if it is a great thing, we don’t feel as good as we should so this makes it a bad thing as well. We set our expectations based on our own thoughts and feelings and this might not be the best thing to do because the others have their own thoughts and feelings. When we expect someone to act in a certain way, we might be wrong and this will bring to us all sorts of feelings. If it’s a good outcome, we’ll feel great, but if it’s a bad one, we’ll feel much worse than without expectations. This happens because we have a double shock. The first one is for our expectations not be fulfilled and the second one is for the bad outcome. If we wouldn’t have those expectations in place, we would’ve been feeling better.

   Having expectations kills all the joy in a good situation if everything goes as we planned because we had time to accommodate with that good outcome and when it really happens, it’s nothing new to us. If our expectations are not met, we feel bad because we were prepared for something to happen and we lived it in our heads multiple times. If reality is different, we feel as fools because we have to eliminate all the good feelings we had because of our hypothetical outcome and we have to deal with the feelings that come from the real outcome.

   IF we can’t eliminate our expectations, we should lower them so the impact won’t be that big. We have to try to live in the present, otherwise we’ll never really live. Instead, we’ll be chasing future feelings and situations that would make us feel good, and the problem with this is that we’re feeling those good feelings every time we think about those situations and when we really get there, we’ll be feeling almost nothing.

   We should have great goals to aim to, but we shouldn’t expect to get there. Instead, we should be working as hard as we can to get there and we should enjoy the ride, not the goal.

   How often do your expectations turn out to be wrong? Does it worth having them in the first place? Why or why not?

22 thoughts on “The Impact of Having Expectations – Reblog

  1. I think as people our first mistake is that we tend to think the world revolves around us. With this mindset, we percieve that others are supposed to think and act as we do. However, when they dont it causes us to get our feelings hurt, reason being, we have them on our shoulders. Very few people live in the moment. We are either walking in the past doing the same things over and over expecting different outcomes or we are living in the future hoping others percieve the same as we. When in reality all we have is right now.

  2. When I think of expectations, I think of disappointment. It is very rare for something to exceed expectations. In my experience, most expectation is ultimately followed by disappointment. So most of the time my expectations are wrong, and therefore it’s probably not even worth having them in the first place.

  3. I learnt quite a while back that expectation is sometimes a b*tch. You know, just because it can.
    So what this taught me is to make a habit of having tiny little expectations, if any at all.
    I’d you didn’t have expectations, you don’t get much disappointed when things go south. And you get doubly excited when they go north.

      1. I just try (not always successfully though) to stop myself before I go too deep and end up being disappointed.

  4. I’ve learned that is ok to have expectations. However, also have to have a plan if that expectation does not occur. This helps balance your expectations. I don’t think we can ever cut out expectations altogether.

    1. We probably cannot because we’re designed to make predictions, which leads to having expectations. I guess the difference between predictions and expectations is the level of emotional involvement.

  5. I am negative person so most of my expectations ends up wrong. Being negative, it won’t hurt that much. I am not over expect anything but I always sincere so it could be the other reason.

  6. I think expectations can be positive when they support behaviors that keep us safe from harm. I have however struggled with taking on the expectations implicit in the roles society sets up for us; gender roles are of course the most prominent but what about the expectations of one’s chosen career or path of study? Perhaps I am simply really impressionable compared to others but, in particular, expectations around what it is to be a career artist did me harm for a long time. At some point, when disappointment was a constant friend, I began really examining why I did things or why I thought I “should” do things and I found a lot of, often conflicting, expectations rattling around in my head. Naming then was easy, excising them, harder, and rebuilding my life in their absence is ongoing… But some expectations remain, the ones that I reckon keep me safe and sane. Nowadays when I express frustration my husband just looks at me a certain way and I say it for him: “Manage your expectations!”

    1. That is very interesting! We’re influenced not only by our own expectations, but by other people’s too… What helps you managing your expectations?

      1. Self-awareness is key for me; I get to this through journaling and making time to sit down with my emotions when I feel them rising. Especially disappointment: when I feel this I ask myself what expectation is not being met, and if it ends up being one in which I have, for instance, placed the expectation of a specific behavior on another and they did not follow through then I just have to let that go: I can only really manage that which I can control, so holding on to expectations of other’s behaviors is poison. Does that help?

      2. Managing the expectations that I hold that come from outside of myself, from society or other people, is a whole other monster. These often come to us as the “I Should” statements, and any statement beginning thus should be–in my opinion–treated with caution. Again, spending time analyzing my feelings of unease and experimenting by “trying on” ideas and scenarios in my journal, seeking to isolate the expectation at the root of the dissatisfaction, is time well spent. For instance, I have often felt that I SHOULD be making my art into a career, and have struggled for years to do just that. After much self-sabotage and many failed attempts I just lost interest in my art altogether. This worried me greatly, especially since I was relying on it for my livelihood, but when I sat with this worry, refusing at the same time (an experiment) to participate in art-making, I realized the expectation that I make art for money was coming from outside of myself. Making art is something that I enjoyed, but wasn’t the be-all, end-all for me. I realized this because, as soon as I returned to my daily life operating with the new expectation “I make art for fun, not money,” suddenly the work was flowing again and I felt good about myself. I got a “real job” and art has been a release for me ever since. It is worth noting that some external expectations are good in that they allow us to support a healthy relationship with another person or institution; to my mind, you can’t expect to get by with only your own expectations to guide you. For instance, knowing my husband’s expectations allows me to carry on in our relationship in a way that we both find satisfactory; thus reinforcing my first point that some external expectations are good. I think being open about them in any relationship is vital to success. But do mine the depths to extricate those expectations that are keeping you mired in “shoulds” rather than “want tos.” Cheers! Tam

  7. eliminates expectations________

    in everything i write, i’m enjoying,
    i love it, it’s my emotions________

    and yes, it’s annoying when you’re not understood,
    when readers can’t read between lines_______

    it says your readers must find themselves in the story, then where is the connection,
    where is the fantasy, where is their imagination in between? forget them___________

    how many times you wrote about food and literally was interpreted as if you talking about love? aaaaaaaaaa…

    honestly, those with big expectations are the readers, a writer already knows its aim_____

    can’t be judged just ignored

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