Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations
Lots of coaches will tell you to dream big and “Go big, or go home.” While optimism is a great practice that helps people achieve and live more satisfying lives, nothing kills happiness faster than unrealistic expectations.
What’s the difference between optimism and unrealistic expectations?
Optimism is a generally positive outlook that come from how you show up in the world. For example, you have good problem solving skills, perseverance, and emotional intelligence. You are able to make the most of opportunities because you use these skills.
Unrealistic expectations are more about things outside of yourself. You expect things outside of you to work magic in your favor, and this is not how nature works.
Examples of Unrealistic Expectations That Will Ruin Your Life
Life’s supposed to be fair. If you’re like most of us, when someone got something you didn’t get, or you didn’t get what you thought you deserved when you were a child, your parents told you life wasn’t fair. That may not stop us from expecting it to be. If we pout, keep waiting for someone else to get their karma, or take it upon ourselves to even the score, we’ve missed the memo. And we’re making life harder on ourselves than it needs to be.Things should fall into my lap. Any version of “I am not putting forth effective effort towards X, but it’s coming to me anyway” is wishing. Things don’t happen because of wishing. They happen because of effective effort.”I deserve….” This is related to the idea that life is fair and that things should fall into your lap because you want them. We’re all worthy of having desirable things happen to us and receiving wonderful things. If we do not earn them, we’re likely to be let down when they don’t appear. I want everyone to like me. This might be a sign of insecure attachment and an “I’m not okay until you’re okay” belief. This will continue to make you low man on the totem pole until it’s healed.I’m obviously right. There are a whole lot of different people in the world and we all see things differently because of culture, life experiences, education, beliefs, etc. Even if most people agree with you, some won’t. It’s okay to disagree.I’m always wrong. “Always” and “never” are rarities. There are almost always exceptions. If you fear being wrong, bad, or failing, this is a learned belief that can be unlearned. If you really think this, you’re negating the times when this is not true, so you’re sabotaging your future.People should know what I mean. What’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to others. We have to communicate effectively if we want to be understood. Nobody is a mind reader – not your mother, best friend, or soul mate.”I’ll be happy when_____.” Your happiness does not rely upon you reaching any milestone. It comes from within. You will be happy when you decide to be. It’s that simple. You don’t need anyone or anything to give it to you. It’s already here for the taking.”I can change/save him/her.” What each of us makes of our lives is up to us. It’s nice to have others to lean on and walk beside, but we all have to do our own heavy lifting. The sooner we accept that and get fit for the task, the easier each day becomes.
How to Tell If You’re Expectations Are Unrealistic
These are just some of the most common unrealistic expectations that people carry. Here are two tell tale signs that other expectations are unrealistic:
The bar you set for yourself is very high. You have to get things perfect. You stress out over your efforts. When things don’t work out, you get very upset. You can’t compromise on your vision.
You put obligations and expectations on others that they aren’t aware of, don’t agree to, or can’t meet, then get upset when they “let you down.”
Since you are creating this, it’s very easy to let it go.
If you see other common ways that people practice unrealistic expectations, share with us in the comments.