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Unrealistic Expectations

By Karen Vally on 14 Jun 2017

Unrealistic expectations such as expecting others to see things as we do, can cause unpleasantness in our relationships, prevent us from achieving our goals and mislead us. Instead of paying close attention to our current experiences, we set unattainably high standards, thinking that these will bring us lasting happiness.

In order to change this habit, we need to get to know our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves as well as those we have of other people. A useful exercise is to write these expectations down and then to examine them closely.  Thereafter, we should apply the golden rule of not expecting someone else to fulfill an expectation that we have yet to fulfill.

Choose a suitable time during which to discuss these expectations with one's spouse or partner and try to reach a state of mutual agreement. Instead of communicating what we expect of our relationships only when these are not met, rather communicate these important expectations before there is an opportunity in which one, or all of them are not met. The key to a healthy relationship is effective communication as well as hard work and dedication. When we learn how to manage our expectations, we save ourselves a lot of heartache.

We would be wise to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others and to be more flexible. We ought to be more sensitive to our changing circumstances as we navigate through life. We can change our rules, beliefs and expectations at any time, to inspire and support us, rather than keeping us stuck.

If  we're uncertain about a particular expectation, we could  ask ourselves, " What advice would I give to my best friend if he or she expected such an outcome?"

" Our expectations of our experiences dramatically colour not just how we experience waiting for them, but the experiences themselves." 

Alex Lickerman describes 4 possible outcomes for any future event:

1. Low expectations and a poor experience.
2. Low expectations but a good experience.
3. High expectations and a good experience.
4. High expectations but a poor experience.

Some of us cannot help having high expectations while others expect little. Often, unrealistically high expectations rob us of an enjoyable experience. Our personality type plays a major role in how we deal with these expectations. Perhaps we could find out as much as possible about an upcoming event and then adjust our expectations accordingly?

Our expectations determine our reality. Our expectations affect others. Let us practise believing in ourselves and in others.

How many unrealistic expectations of yourself and others will you replace with more realistic and manageable ones?


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