Managing your expectations

We all have expectations about how a situation should go or how a person will react. It is part of who we are. However, when expectations do not fit reality, we become frustrated, angry, or depressed. For example, maybe you planned a romantic dinner for your partner’s birthday, and they wanted to go straight to bed after a hard day. You expected they would be delighted, and they weren’t. You may feel angry with them, but is that fair? Instead of letting this defeat you, learn to manage your expectations and enjoy more happiness in your life.

Determine What Your Expectations Are

Think about your goals and ambitions. If they are unrealistic, you will find yourself stressed and consistently criticizing yourself. Look at your timeline for reaching your goal. If it is unrealistic, consider changing things to be more realistic.

Think About What You Expect from a Situation

Sometimes our expectations lay at the feet of others. When they disappoint us, then we grow frustrated. Ask yourself how you expected them to act and why. You may learn that you wanted to do something nice or that you wanted to be the centre of attention. In both cases, you learned more about yourself.

Be Willing to Adjust Your Expectations

It is easy to overreact when things don’t go as expected. Instead of giving in to those emotions, try not to let your emotions rule you. You can choose to reframe your expectations within the context of reality. (Hint: look for the positive.)

Avoid Judging Yourself Harshly

When others do not respond the way we think they should, we often take that to mean we did something wrong. That isn’t always the case; however, you wind up defeated if you start degrading and judging yourself. Choose to chalk this experience up as a lesson learned and grow from it.

Avoid Making Assumptions

Many disappointed expectations stem from when we make wrong assumptions. You might assume someone understands what you were trying to convey and what you expect. That is a sure way to have things go wrong later. Go into every situation without making any assumptions, and you will rarely be disappointed.

Remember that Social Media Is Not Always Reality

People most often post the best parts of their life. We tend to compare that to the worst parts of ours. The reality is everyone has bad days, and no one has a picture-perfect life. It’s a better idea to remind yourself that social media doesn’t always display a reality.

Over Communicate Your Expectations

When you share what you expect, others have the opportunity to meet them. This will require you to over-communicate your expectations frequently. You may find you are less disappointed when you tell others about your plans, projects, and goals. It helps others manage their expectations of you as well.

Plan for Disappointment

A sure-fire way to stop disappointment is to plan for it. An adage says, ‘Plan for the worst and expect the best.’ When you do this, you will be pleasantly surprised during those times someone meets your expectations.

Consider Others Expectations of You

Disappointing others is not only disheartening, but it can affect your view of your self-worth. If you expect always to treat others in a certain way, but you fail, this can cause you much heartache. Understanding what others expect from you helps you both be aware of each other’s expectations.

Suggested Actions

✅ Set aside some time to think about what you expect from yourself and others. What should you really expect? Are your standards too high?


✅ Determine to have a much-needed conversation with someone about your expectations. This could be a partner, co-worker, or parent. Remember to communicate what you need from them and ask what they need from you.


✅ Limit your exposure to social media, especially when you feel you are not living up to your own expectations. Why add frustration when you know that reality is not as it is portrayed in the pictures?


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