Expectations: a brief review


Expectations are part of human existence.

Expectations are typical for all of us. From the crack of dawn, until we hit the hay, we hold a set of presumptions regarding the course our day will take. These beliefs can be conscious or subconscious and profoundly impact our outlook on life.

Essentially, expectations refer to our perceptions or suppositions of forthcoming events. For instance, if we expect our day to be full of stress, we are more likely to perceive every minor obstacle as a significant dilemma.

On the other hand, if we expect to have a fantastic day, we are likely to feel more content and confident, even when things do not transpire according to our plans.

Expectations – how they are formed

They can stem from experiences and societal or cultural norms and are heavily influenced by the people we interact with. Our social circle, be it our family, friends, or co-workers, can significantly impact our expectations. For instance, if those around us maintain a pessimistic outlook on the future, we may unintentionally adopt the same stance, even if we disagree.

Expectations are a fascinating aspect of human psychology. They can powerfully influence how we experience the world around us. However, it’s essential to remember that our perceptions aren’t always accurate or reliable. They can often be quite different from the reality of a situation.

This discrepancy can occur for many reasons. Sometimes, we base our predictions on limited information or an incomplete understanding of a situation. Other times, we might be unconsciously influenced by our biases and assumptions.

Unrealistic expectations

Consider a job interview, for example. You might have researched the company and prepared extensively, but there’s always the possibility that the interviewer will ask unexpected questions. So even if you feel confident going into the interview, you may feel disappointed or frustrated if the reality doesn’t match your expectations.

Similarly, imagine going on a first date with someone you’ve been chatting with online. You might have built up high expectations for the evening based on your conversations.

However, in-person chemistry can be different, and you might realize you don’t have as much in common as you thought. As a result, you may feel disappointed or disillusioned with the dating process despite your initial excitement.

Be open-minded

Moreover, our expectations can also shape our definition of success and failure. If we establish unrealistic expectations for ourselves, we may feel like underachievers even when we accomplish significant feats.

Conversely, if we set practical objectives and appreciate our achievements along the way, we can feel pride and triumph that motivates us to strive more persistently.

Being receptive to new ideas and perspectives does not require compromising our beliefs or principles. Rather, it entails exhibiting a sense of inquisitiveness, posing questions, and considering alternative viewpoints. It also implies respect for others and their opinions, even if they conflict with ours.

In essence, being open-minded signifies a disposition of non-judgment, willingness to learn, and receptivity. This trait can propel personal and professional accomplishments and foster affirmative social interactions and connections.

Communicate clearly

Another helpful approach is communicating our expectations clearly and openly with those around us, personally or professionally. This can prevent misunderstandings and disappointment while also establishing a level of accountability.

It is also essential to be receptive to feedback and willing to adjust our expectations based on the feedback we receive from others.

Effective communication plays a pivotal role in transmitting our expectations clearly and concisely. Being specific while articulating our thoughts is crucial to avoiding ambiguity and assumptions.

Ensuring that the recipient understands our message precisely and without ambiguity is essential.

Lastly, it is imperative to actively listen to the recipient’s response and be receptive to feedback. Communication is a two-way street; understanding the other person’s perspective can facilitate the adjustment of expectations and lead to a mutually beneficial outcome. Communicating effectively can build trust, prevent misunderstandings and foster warm, strong relationships.

Practice self-compassion

Lastly, it is crucial to recognize that some expectations may be beyond our control. For example, we may have lofty career aspirations, but external factors such as market conditions or industry trends may impede our ability to achieve those objectives.

In these circumstances, practising self-compassion and acknowledging that it’s okay to revise our expectations and recalibrate our objectives is essential.

Self-compassion is a powerful tool that can aid us in acknowledging that not everything in life is subject to our control. When things don’t go as planned, it empowers us to be kind and empathetic towards ourselves.

By cultivating self-compassion, we can relinquish the need for flawlessness and develop a more practical and receptive outlook towards the uncertainties of life. This, in turn, creates a more serene and gratifying state of mind.


Expectations are an indispensable part of human life that can significantly influence how we perceive and experience the world. By elevating our consciousness of our expectations and developing constructive approaches to manage them, we can establish a more constructive perspective on life, leading to greater overall well-being and contentment.

We must approach situations with an open and curious mindset, communicate candidly with others about our expectations, and commemorate our accomplishments. We can create a more gratifying and fulfilling life by cultivating mindfulness and self-awareness.

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