Dangers of unrealistic expectations

Expectations we all have them.  I would even go so far to say, that it is apart of the human condition, in that it comes naturally to us.  We create expectations of ourselves and others.  Sometimes our expectations are realistic and other times they are just unrealistic.    Realistic expectations are great because they are achievable and most times even reasonable.

Unrealistic expectations on the other hand, are the total opposite. They are often unattainable and unreasonable.  They can have negative effects on relationships and the individual.   I have lived through and survived both. Today I want to highlight some of the things I learnt along the way and how I overcame them.

Some negatives that could arise due to unrealistic expectations within the relationship are:

  1. Create unnecessary conflict
  2. Foster resentment
  3. Increase stress levels
  4. Breakdown in communication
  5. Avoidance of each other when possible
  6. Baffled ( as you try to find logic in what is being asked of you)

Some negatives that could arise from self-inflicted unrealistic expectations are:

  1. Bring on depression
  2. Increase stress levels
  3. Increase the risk of failure – (if the goal or target set is not realistic you will fail)
  4. Beating up yourself emotionally – (negative self-talk)
  5. Foster resentment towards yourself – (for not meeting the expectation)
  6. Cause loss of appetite for some people – (side effect from the stress)
  7. Trigger over eating in others – (side effect from the stress)
  8. Negatively impact your health sometimes mentally and or physically.
  9. Hinder your happiness

Some examples of unrealistic expectations include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Relying on your loved ones to make and keep you happy.
  2. Expecting to never fail at anything.
  3. Expecting to be great at everything.
  4. Expecting everybody you meet to like you.
  5. Expecting the people you love to never make a mistake.
  6. You can ‘fix’ everyone. 
  7. You can do everything yourself.
  8. You don’t need anyone.
  9. You are in control of everything.
  10. Our kids want we want for them.

How I overcame my unrealistic expectations:

  1. Stop expecting others to be perfect.
  2. Admit and accept that I was not perfect.
  3. Be realistic and honest with myself. Don’t expect of others things  I do not expect of  myself.
  4. Put myself in the other person’s shoe. Not because I am good at something means everyone else is too.
  5. How we communicate what we want, is just as important as what we communicate, if not more.
  6. Apologize (where I was guilty) and genuinely try do better.
  7. Make a list of anything I deemed was unreasonable and I would try to communicate same to whomever was guilty of it and try to come up with a better way forward.

It took time and practice but I have gotten better at managing my expectations of others and myself.  I’ve seen the benefits both in my relationships and myself.  Always aim to be realistic and reasonable in your expectations.

Thank you for stopping by.  🙂

Author: Cherylene

Cherylene, is an aspiring writer whose desire is to help people nurture and develop the best version of themselves. Through her writing she hopes to encourage her readers to dig deep both spiritually and mentally to heal and enlighten the mind, body and spirit.

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