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The Illusions of High Expectations

The Illusions of High Expectations
The Illusions of High Expectations

When we expect too much of others, most often we are trying to change or control them in some manner.   And in doing so, by definition, we aren’t accepting them as they are.

Simply put,“When you expect, you can’t accept.”

The Illusions of High Expectations 

Many of us justify our expectations in the belief that we are “helping” others.   That we know what’s good or best for them.   But do we?

Aside from bordering on arrogance (and a shortage of humility), I have repeatedly found that I often don’t know what’s best for me, let alone others!   From mentoring others, I know I’m not alone in that.

Moreover, because such expectations place undue pressure on people to be other than who they are or do other than what they wish, resentment and fraying of relationships easily occur.

Who likes being told what to do or how to act or what’s best for them?  You are in effect telling them they are not “good enough.”

Upon closer (and a more honest) self-examination, it is more often the case that we feel we will be better off, or that our important “needs” will be met, if others act the way we want or expect them to.

This belief system warrants scrutiny.  It’s more illusion, than reality.

When our focus and reliance is too much on others—which is where our expectations direct us–we lose sight of what we can do to make things better for ourselves.   We thus risk stymieing our own growth and development.

In short, we give up the power to make our lives better. 

Piercing the Illusions

In The Gifts of Acceptance, I discuss tools and strategies in some detail for moderating expectations aimed at trying to change or control others.

Included are some interrelated self-queries that have helped me pierce the illusions of my expectations—particularly of loved ones, family, and close relationships–and in the process become more accepting of them:

*Are there any unfulfilled needs of mine underlying my expectations? 

*Can others realistically fulfill my needs—even if they wanted to?

*Will I truly be better off if others do or want as I expect? 

*Is my happiness or well-being that dependent on others?

I encourage you to make the same (or similar) queries.  Hopefully, they will help you release your expectations of others.

If you wish to explore this important subject further, below are four other posts that you may find helpful:

5 Ways High Expectations Hurt You

How to Lower Family Expectations

Tips for Letting Go of High Expectations

Let Go of Control by Moderating Expectations

In the meantime, remember to

Let It Go—and Accept “What Is!” 


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