3 Unrealistic Expectations That Are Making You Miserable

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

Bruce Lee

I was listening to Dr. Demartini’s list of 15 unrealistic expectations the other day and I thought it would be useful to share what I believe to be the three major unrealistic expectations that tend to prevent us from being happy and growing into a fully intentional and purposeful life. First, it might be useful to define what unrealistic expectations are. We may say they are beliefs or thoughts we carry and hold about what and how life should unfold. Second, we need to see unrealistic expectations as primarily linked to our hopes and ideals. These can either run consciously or unconsciously in our minds, but we desire they could be manifested.

We can have unrealistic expectations about different aspects of ourselves and others. Ultimately, all unrealistic expectations lead to negative emotions (e.g anger, sadness) and frustrating experiences (e.g. conflicts at work and at home), because they are distortions of reality and of the fabric of human existence. As such, they can have a negative impact on our health and well-being. Although we can’t do anything about other people’s unrealistic expectations, we can grow aware of ours and do our best to mitigate them. Here are three unrealistic expectations that often work against us:

You Expect Only One Side of Nature

I think this particular expectation is linked to our complex relationship with change. We like to have some predictability in the way reality presents itself to us and thus it is more comfortable to hold on tight to the expectation that people or situations have only one side. If someone is nice and kind to us repeatedly, we easily develop the expectation that that person will always be that way. If someone is generally grumpy or unpolite, we form the expectation that that person will always be that way. We tend to create expectations that favor only one side of nature, categorizing people and situations as either good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. Duality is, nonetheless, the nature of our human reality, and no person or situation is either 100% bad or good.

You Expect Others to Live in Your Values

Each one of us has a set of values. No two people are likely to have a list of values that match perfectly. We are complex beings, displaying unique talents and interests, so our values are also a reflection of that complexity. What we hold dear to our hearts may not resonate with what another person believes or feels to be important. Expecting that others will believe and give equal importance to what we value the most is setting ourselves for failure and heartache. It is not our place to tell someone else what is or isn’t important in their life. We can make educated suggestions but never expect that others will comply or incorporate what we envision to be important or a priority.

You Expect To Live Outside Your Values

When you put your values on hold to live another person’s values, you are setting yourself not only for failure but for mental, emotional, and spiritual breakdown. Living according to a set of guiding principles that are not your own or which you don’t resonate with makes you grow distant from your core and lose touch with who you are. There is a reason you are breathing as a unique being and that’s to be you. Everyone else is taken, and no matter how much you try to live somebody else’s life, you won’t make out of it sane or whole. The more you try to live outside your values, the more you will feel disconnected and miserable about yourself and life in general.

Do you want to learn even more?
Here are some books by Dr. Demartini

Concluding Thoughts

Although it’s not easy to grow awareness of and dismantle our unrealistic expectations, it is something we need to focus on and work on, if we want to lead a happier and healthier life. Everyone has expectations. It is unrealistic to want to get completely rid of them. However, unrealistic expectations can seriously negatively impact our well-being and mental health. I hope these three examples of unrealistic expectations will help you reflect on where you may need to do some changes and empower yourself to live a life more based on freedom and respect for everyone’s differences.

Other blogs you may want to read:

What is Holding You Back? Four Major Psychological Roadblocks

Sometimes we want to move on with our lives and create positive change only to find out we can’t or that we are not ready yet. Sometimes we know why we remain stuck in old ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, but other times we don’t. This list of major psychological roadblocks may help you tap into some hidden reasons or factors that have prevented you from designing and living the life you wish for yourself. If you have found you are being affected by one or more of these factors, please know you are not alone and you can ask for help.

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21 Comments

  1. toomajj says:

    Expectation is premeditated resentment. I’ve heard this often and 100% agree with you on everything you said. I’m myself grown to be quite judgmental of values in my relationships. There’s a sense of arrogance and self entitlement, probably transmitted through family, by which I believe my values are somehow better, and even worse, that others have to conform to them. I think there’s a self centered fear behind this. I try to be more cognizant of this and catch myself in the act. A practice that has worked for me when I become aware of doing this is I ask myself “what would happen if I didn’t judge right now or dropped my expectations?” With curiosity, and then stay with the uncomfortable sensations that drove me to do it in the first place. To my surprise, absolutely nothing happens and I have more serenity.
    This morning too I was a bit in that space and reading your post snapped my out of it. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Toomaj, I’m glad this came in good timing for you. You seem to have a deep capacity to analyse yourself, which is very useful to spot these patterns. I’ve been sometimes guilty of the same issue and what has helped me tremendously over the years is to think about karma and the fact that every individual in this world tends to think they are right, so it’s impossible that everyone is right all the time, including me. Following Socrates thinking of “I know that I know nothing” has also helped bringing more humility to my interactions, which seems easier at home than at work, hehe. Keep up the good digging, you will find your answers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. With each point you made you were just spot on. Living outside your values can destroy you, I’ve come to learn this one and as such, I don’t expect others to live in mine. I’m just living my life. Thanks so much for this post. It is brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find that’s one of the best mindsets and lessons to master. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Jeannie, I much appreciate it ❤️

      Like

  3. projectgirl2woman says:

    Hmm I agree that expectations are a huge cause of dissatisfaction. The question is, how do we turn them off?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly the million dollar question I’m going to try to answer next month, I promise, but in the meantime here are three things that have helped me spotting and turning off these expectations: meditation, journaling, and compassion. All these increase self-awareness and with that comes the ability to identify and change our response patterns because we “hack” the mind to make it less reactive and more responsive.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We definitely agree that expecting only one side of human nature and expecting others to live by your values are unrealistic and will make you miserable. This is a great post, and thank you for sharing! Check out our post of the Five Unhealthy Habits Damaging Your Life and How to Fix Them, which touches a little on the same idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback, I much appreciate it!

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  5. Eri Tz says:

    This was a great read. I do agree with you about how much dissatisfaction expectations can bring in one’s person life. Your remarks were spot on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you, I’m glad this resonated with you! ❤️

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  6. So interesting to read this post! I was actually hurt by someone last week and after taking time to think about it, it was because I had an unstated expectation of them. It’s such a worthwhile pursuit to understand what expectations we might be having in life–especially as you say some are unrealistic. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry that you felt that way, I hope you feel recovered now. They are tricky, these unrealistic expectations. Sometimes we’re not even aware we’re having them. I’m glad you caught the busilis of your situation, it’s a great leap toward resolution and better relationships. Sending much love ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Not gonna lie, the best blog post I’ve read in …idk. Maybe because it was so meaningful, but I felt like you were speaking to me! It’s like you were saying “hey girl you do ALL of these” + I’ve been hurt when my expectations failed (because they were out of my control). I learned a lot from this! Thank you 🤎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god, thank you, that’s a huge compliment. I’m glad this resonated with you and that you are working on your expectations. They can sabotage our efforts a great deal and like you said sometimes we’re the ones carrying the gun that is pointing at us. I appreciate your feedback and shared experience ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cassie says:

    This was a great post. I don’t think people realize how tied up our joy and sorrow in life is to expectations. You’re right in saying that they also live in our subconscious. I try not to have any expectations, but when I find something unexpectedly disappointing, I know that I did. I also agree that, whether or not we’re aware of it, we do project our values onto others. So many good thoughts shared in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cassie, I appreciate your time and feedback 🥰 They can really get under our skin sometimes, sort of saying. Since I’ve been practicing journaling in a physical notebook and meditation almost daily I have grown the muscle to pay attention to the first signs I’m having. I don’t think we will ever remove them but we can try to catch them before they turn sour 🙌

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  9. Jaya Avendel says:

    What awesome observations these are! I especially love your thoughts on how we want to see only one side of nature. In appreciating the side we love, we forget that nature is untamed and unexpected. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s spot on, Jaya, nature definitely reminds us that not everything is under our control. Thank you for taking the time to read this one and for chipping in, I really appreciate your feedback ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Charlie says:

    Interesting post. At same point I have done at least one of these. Just trying to learn why to stop with these unrealistic expectations. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Charli! Thanks for coming by and taking the time to read this one. I will do my best to have some practical tips next month on how to deal with and manage these expectations ❤️

      Like

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