The Danger of High Expectations

December 2, 2015

Sometimes, we put extremely high expectations on certain people. It’s inevitable, something we all do rather frequently: thinking that your partner should support you in everything you do without disagreeing, expecting that your friends or family will solve all of your problems, expecting that they be there every time you need them…

Establishing extremely high expectations for the people around us can also be a form of coercion, an almost moral obligation that they fulfill our desires. It’s a way to take away their freedom, when in reality, the only person we should rely on completely is ourselves.

garden girl

We go through most of life expecting things, waiting for certain things to happen, expecting others to act the way we want them to. However, we’re not always aware that “expecting” is sometimes synonymous with “wanting,” and this implies a little bit of manipulation.

It’s always better that the people in our lives act with complete freedom and according to their own will. If they do something for us, it’s because they really wanted to from the bottom of their hearts, and so we thank them. But if they don’t do it, it’s not something that we should worry or obsess over.

It’s yourself that you should expect everything from, you who should be able to solve your own problems without putting it on someone else, you who should confront your fears and not project them onto other people.

The dangerous power of expectations

Don’t expect anything from anyone; expect everything from yourself. This statement may seem overwhelming, but we’re sure you’ll be able to find a situation in which this idea describes what happened very well. People set expectations every day and often, they involve a certain level of illusion.

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For example, you could place certain expectations on your partner, for example, that they always be with you, that they give up everything for you and make you their highest priority. However, say they’re about to take a vacation from work and they tell you that they want to go on a vacation with friends. A part of you can’t avoid feeling disappointed, as a small part of your expectations have been broken and you don’t know how to deal with them.

Does this mean that your partner doesn’t love you? Of course not. It simply means that you’ve built up expectations that are too idealistic, that involved a bit of anticipation, in which you predicted certain things to happen that are now not going to happen.

People have a tendency to predict future events and to make assumptions about people based on what they want them to be like. And when this fails, disappointment sets in. And do you know what feeds disappointment most of the time? Concrete expectations and hopes that we have placed a lot of certainty in.

Never assume anything. You’ll be less disappointed when you avoid high expectations and becoming too attached to them, and in turn, you’ll be able to offer more freedom to others. Expect everything from yourself, because you are the creator of your own life.

Accept the unexpected

We know that it takes a lot, that it’s not easy to accept that life is ever-changing, that who you want today might not be who you need tomorrow, that who supports you now could change their mind within an hour. But how can you deal with such daily uncertainties?


By remaining balanced and taking control of your own life. You’re the only one you can always trust, and you’re the one who should face your fears and keep yourself from feeling emptyDon’t put this obligation on anyone else, or make them find solutions for you or be a slave to your expectations because you’re afraid they’ll disappoint you at any moment.

Let them love you freely without submitting them to your will. Let them do things for you because they want to, and if they don’t do them, don’t punish them or mope about it. Let them be who they want to be. And be who you want to belearn to go through life with security and maturity and create your own happiness. Expect a lot from yourself and live in harmony with others.

Image courtesy of Viccolatte