The trouble with expectations is that we assume they’re doing one job when really they’re doing a very different one.
See, most people assume that expectations are a way to foster growth and achievement:
- Having high expectations for our children academically encourages them to do well in school and be successful at work.
- Having high expectations for our employees encourages them to work hard and do high-quality work.
- And of course, setting big expectations for ourselves leads to personal growth and self-improvement.
Expectations are often unconscious defense mechanisms we use to make ourselves feel better. Not only is this a recipe for chronic stress and disappointment on your part, but eventually people in your life catch on that your rigid expectations aren’t really about their wellbeing and that they ultimately are selfish — a lazy way for you to make yourself feel a little better without addressing the real root of your insecurities.
Expectations have their place. But they very easily run wild and start causing hugely unnecessary stress and unhappiness unless you’re vigilant of them. If you want a calmer, more peaceful mind, get in the habit of checking in on your expectations regularly and making sure they aren’t too far outside of reality.