Why Lowering Expectations Can Be Good

disappointment expectations happiness Feb 07, 2023

We are often told that we should have high expectations in life. We should aim to be the best we can be and always shoot for the stars. While this may be good advice in some cases, it can also lead to disappointment and unhappiness. This blog post will explore lowering our expectations and discuss why it can be good.

Do you have reasonable expectations?

When we expect, we think about a probable scenario or outcome we like to happen. It can come from a situation, someone, or our actions. It's like imagining an idealized scenario we want to happen that satisfies us. Each of us has our expectations about something or of others. Our expectations act like a standard of how we want things to happen; if things don't happen according to what we expect, we become disappointed or frustrated.

It's okay to have expectations in life. It doesn't hurt to think of an idealized future; we can even use our expectations as some goal to pursue if we want something good to happen. However, when expectations become too high, we may be setting unrealistic expectations from others and the world around us. Our mental health can get affected by continuous disappointments when things don't happen as we like them to, and the reality is that things won't always go our way. One thing that can help us feel better is to lower expectations and create a reasonable standard for ourselves and what we like to happen. Low expectations make it possible to become happier and more satisfied with life. There are several things you can practice to lower your expectations.

1. Don't think you can completely control what others do or how something happens

The problem with expecting too much is that it is as if you want to control the actions of others and want everything to fall into place perfectly, which is not how life works. Many other factors can influence the outcome of things, so even if you do your best to expect a particular outcome to happen because of what you did, things can still happen differently from what you want. You cannot supervise and force others to act according to how you want; if we are talking about people, we have our own will that cannot be entirely overtaken by somebody else. Things may also suddenly occur out of nowhere, so things can change. So by lessening the need for control, we can lower our high expectations and be more flexible with how things happen.

2. You are not entitled to anything

Some people have a self-entitled mentality that makes them think they deserve to receive things because of their social status and upbringing. Therefore, it is more common for such people to expect as they believe they only deserve to get what they want, so disappointments will occur more frequently since they expect more, and life won't always give what you want. What we have to realize is that nobody is entitled to anything. The world doesn't owe us anything; just because we possess special authority or status or have experienced hardships before doesn't mean the world should give us something good in return. By removing our sense of entitlement, we can lessen our feelings of disappointment by eliminating the thinking that we should receive something just because of our status and not doing anything.

3. Put yourself in somebody else's shoes

One problem with expecting too much is that you only think of yourself regarding the outcomes you want to happen. Of course, you want things to happen according to your way, but have you ever thought about what caused things to change? For example, it is easy to expect people to act in a way we like, and when they don't, do we ever think about why they worked like that? Perhaps certain circumstances in their lives make it difficult for them to meet your expectations. When we start to have an open mind and think more about what could have happened with others instead of just focusing on what we like to occur, we can lessen our expectations by considering the situations of people, which could change outcomes.

4. Don't compare yourself with others too much

Sometimes, we can't help but compare ourselves with others; nowadays, it is so easy to do that with social media and the Internet. When comparisons become too much, expectations may form in our minds. We may think that if others can do it, so can we. However, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment with this way of thinking. Every person has unique circumstances that make it possible for them to succeed. However, the success they attain may not be the same for you. So if you keep thinking that you can always do what others did, you may be disappointed when you don't achieve the same accomplishment. You may want to check if you are capable of what others are doing and if you have the same situation and resources. If you do, you may replicate the same thing that others do; if not, it may be better to lessen the comparison, focus on your strengths, and see what you can accomplish with your situation.

5. Don't think you can predict the future well

It is easy to make assumptions and have ideas about how future circumstances should look. However, many factors and unforeseen situations can happen, and when they do, they can alter our perceived vision of the future, which leads to disappointment. Therefore, unless you can see into the future or control the actions and decisions of every factor that can influence your assumed scenarios, it's better not to think that something will happen 100% according to your expectations. Instead, a better approach might be to do your best and see how things go and adjust yourself depending on what occurs.

6. Do something without expecting any in return

Many transactions and actions we do come in the form of doing something and then expecting that you get something in return. A good example is receiving payment for the work you did in your job. It's normal to expect to be paid in such a situation after giving your time and effort to do something for several hours. However, there are some situations where we can wholeheartedly devote ourselves and do things because we want to and only desire the best for the recipient of our actions. An excellent example of this is our relationships with people who matter to us, such as our family and friends. We want the best for them and are happy to see them happy, so it doesn't matter if they don't give anything in return. Adopting such a mindset can do wonders in a relationship. It may be possible to apply it when you don't devote too much time and effort to doing something good for others. It may sound altruistic, but if we develop such a mindset, it can work on lowering our expectations that others should give back in what we do to them and focus instead on just doing good for the benefit of others.

7. Don't push your values on others

Our expectations form as a combination of our past experiences, present circumstances, values, interests, and perceptions we like to happen in the future. When we expect something from others or a situation, it's like placing what we want and like to be done by others, which may not necessarily happen. Each of us has different interests and values, and others may not agree with your perception, resulting in a different outcome from what you like. For outcomes to be desirable, there has to be a compromise between your expectations and what others expect. Others can't give you everything you want, and you may do the same for others. You can think of an ideal outcome you want, but try not to push people too much into acting and thinking to make your desired outcome a reality. They have their values that may conflict with yours and may not always be available to accommodate your demands.

Lower your high expectations.

Some people hesitate to lower their high expectations because it may sound like they are degrading their worth and capacity to dream. However, reducing expectations means setting them according to reality, meaning what you think can most likely happen according to what you did and what's happening around you. On the other hand, setting expectations too high puts them in the realm of fantasy, and you may have many future disappointments if you think like this. It doesn't hurt to expect, but we must also be flexible enough to adjust if things don't happen according to how we like them, which can happen often. It can be good to have backup plans if outcomes change, mainly if worst-case scenarios occur. A good mindset is to lower your high expectations, do your best, and hope things turn out okay. You can feel less disappointed this way and be happier too.

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