How to Let Go Of Unrealistic Expectations Before They Destroy Your Happiness
Managing our expectations is one of life’s greatest challenges. Positive expectations can lead to positive results. Too often, however, we make ourselves unhappy because we have unrealistic expectations.
Unrealistic expectations can also have a ripple effect. For example, when you expect the best from someone, you’re more patient and supportive. You invest time and resources in them because you believe it’s worth it. On the other hand, when you expect the worst from someone, you downplay or dismiss their efforts. You don’t invest your emotions in them and you withhold time and attention that could help them do better.
What you expect becomes your reality, because the brain believes what you are thinking. Life is too short to let unrealistic expectations stand in the way of happiness. So from time to time it’s a good idea to assess our expectations and adjust to the way life really is, not the way you wish it to be. Because life isn’t a fairy tale where everything magically has a “happy ever after” ending.
Are you affected by some of these seven common unrealistic expectations?
Life should always be easy and fair.
When things don’t easily go as planned, people tend to do one of two things: 1) complain and give up, or 2) roll up their sleeves and work hard to create the life they want. Yes, an excellent life takes hard work. But with hard work comes a sense of self-worth and deep satisfaction.
This predetermined way of thinking will keep you from trying to change your circumstances. People have demonstrated over and over that they can get healthier, improve their finances, create a happy family life, and make a difference. We can all make changes, but it’s a gradual process that takes time and patience.
The universe owes me!
Many people in the United States feel entitled to a certain standard of living. Entrepreneurs especially are fed the philosophy that if you send out good vibes to the Universe, it will bring you what you want. Just because you deserve more money doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. You have to have the emotional courage to stick your neck out, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and ask for it. When you limit yourself to what’s given to you, you’re at the mercy of other people and you’ll always feel indebted and small.
People should automatically get what I mean.
People can’t read your mind. What you think you said is not always what they hear. You might be asking someone to do something, but if you don’t give all the relevant information, or explain the reasons why something is done a specific way, you’re going to have problems. Learning NLP can help you communicate effectively. Communicating clearly begins with understanding the other person’s perspective. Also, it’s unrealistic to be offended when others disagree with you. There is hardly ever only one right answer.
I know I’m going to fail.
I don’t believe in failure. I believe life is a learning process. You learn all you can about your project, believe in yourself, and do your best. Remember that Thomas Edison “failed” 1,000 times when inventing the light bulb. A reporter asked him how it felt to fail so often, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Everyone should like me.
Realistically not everyone will like you. Your worth isn’t measured by being liked by everyone. Concentrate on creating trusting, intimate friendships. There are no shortcuts.
I can change/fix him/her.
As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself”. So why do you want to spend time with someone you feel needs “fixing”? The only person you can change is yourself. Avoid people who bring you down and pursue friendships with genuine, positive people.
It takes mindful effort, but you can let go of unrealistic expectations.The first step is to recognize them for what they are and see how they’re keeping you from achieving your full potential — this takes honesty and soul searching. Then look for what your unrealistic expectations are telling you about yourself. Are they revealing that you need to form more meaningful relationships with people who support you? Perhaps they’re telling you that you need to courageously take a first step toward a different direction? Your body wisdom will help you discover the real message you haven’t been seeing up to now.
It may feel overwhelming to even think about stepping forward into something new. That’s why I’ve been working on identifying and documenting the little steps that make big changes happen in life! I’m distilling it into a Program I call Stepping Forward. You can download a sneak peek to it here: Introduction to The Stepping Forward Program.