Living with unrealistic expectations can be dangerous. For instance, two weeks ago my feelings got hurt because I expected others to act differently. I’m a giver and there are moments where I pour my heart and soul to help others. That week I gave all my energy to a group of people who didn’t even thank me. I felt disappointed, as if I wasted my time. On my way home I started crying because I felt unappreciated. That’s when I realized that I shouldn’t expect others to act in accordance to what I believe is right. Throughout my life I always reminded myself about this, but it took a hit to my heart to fully grasp this concept.
Let’s talk about the difference between expectation and reality. Before we go into detail lets define each concept. Expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case (Oxford Dictionary, 2019).” While reality is “the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them (Oxford Dictionary, 2019).” In other words, expectation can affect how we feel because it is defined by our perception, belief, memories, and attitude. Now, it isn’t completely bad. The problem is when our expectations are too high. This sets us up for disappointment. Another problem is when it is unmet. When this occurs, we end up feeling pessimistic.
You might be asking yourself, What are the benefits of having expectations? Well, it sets the standard for your life. It is like having desires. Due to expectations we know that abuse in a relationship is wrong. That we should expect love, care and respect. Now, how can you be happy in life despite having expectations? The key is to manage it. Let’s take the example I stated about myself. I believed that the group of people I helped should have treated me with more respect. I always told myself, “treat people the way you want to be treated.” This notion always left me disappointed. Not everyone will reciprocate. The trick here is to have realistic expectations. This will allow you to accept people’s flaws and help you understand that we are all different. Always keep in mind that your expectations will not magically change people.
The only people you should expect similar treatment from are those you surround yourself with. And even then, you need to have realistic expectations. We aren’t perfect. In fact, there has been moments where I unintentionally let someone down. Think about it this way. It is unfair to live in accordance to someone else’s expectations, so you shouldn’t expect people to live up to yours. This type of thinking doesn’t condone disrespect nor mistreatment. It simply allows you to with less disappointment. I believe the cure is to view the other person with compassion. We are all flawed one way or another. So, don’t let the world take away the good in you.