Personal Development

Why High Expectations Should Only Be Set For Ourselves

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"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path."   – Buddha

Somebody had rightly said that "expectation is the worst desire". But here, by "expectation" he meant not expectation on oneself but rather expectation from others. We have this innate tendency to expect so many things from others- unconditional love, devoted commitment, unconditional support and so on. The problem arises when these high expectations are not met by our so-called loved ones. It could be that you are pleading for help for a certain task from a near one and he declines (maybe he was unable to help you) "“ the end result is your task stays incomplete and you are left saddened not just because the task is incomplete but your friend did not live up to your expectations.

give_up_dreamsYou are not the only one to face it- and it is not uncommon to have people not living up to expectations. Thus, the wisest of men & women have always advised to set expectations only on yourself and not on others. The post below clarifies the importance of setting expectations on oneself and not on others.

They might be unable to help

At times, we tend to set unreasonable expectations on others without contemplating whether they would be able to help us or not. For example, if your bestie has just got married, it would be really unreasonable to expect her to spend every weekend with you as was the case in your free spinster days. As she is a married lady now, she would be busier in managing her new life and new home and it won't be possible for her to take time out for you each weekend.

The dopamine drop

According to psychiatrists, the negative feelings tend to be stronger when expectations are not met compared to when expectations are met or exceeded by others. For example, if you are expecting X & getting the same, you will experience a slight up in dopamine level. If you get 2x, there would be a higher rise. But if you get 0.9x, the dopamine drop is much bigger. You will only end up feeling depressed & more negative. Actually, when our expectations are not met, the brain is not just slightly unhappy- in fact, it transmits a note of threat and danger that further worsens the situation.

It bitters the relationship

Amazing camaraderies have soured given the play of expectations from others. As mentioned earlier, when you expect something from others and don't get it, you end up being drastically stressed which can really bitter your relations with the loved ones. When we are depressed, we fail to understand the limitations of the other person and this makes us more unreasonable and bitter to them.

Others are not in your control

At times, it's really impractical to set certain expectations on others and it's mostly because their thought process and activities are not exactly under your control. You might be looking forward to bestow a major part of your project to your youngest team member. Now, what if she is not responsible enough to conduct the needed research and complete the part given within the set deadline? You never know! End of the day, you would be the one ending up with an incomplete or erroneous project. So, you would be the final loser ultimately. This is why, in some cases it is stupid to set blind expectations on others.

More self reliant

When you set expectations only on yourself, you get to be more self reliant. You get to learn how to make things work and this gives you a sense of achievement and confidence. As you are the one who would be doing the work, you would be free from the constant worry whether the other person would be able to perform the work or not. You can always control or monitor your actions and you will learn to adapt them fruitfully according to the needs of the situation. It's always easier to adjust your ways as per the needs of the hour instead of motovating others to do the same for you.

Only you can save yourself

The great Buddha was right when he said nobody other than us can save ourselves. Yes, it's always fantastic to have loved ones around through thick & thin but you should know nobody will fight your battles for you. This is the eternal truth. When you are hungry, would it do if your best friend eats for you? Similarly, you have to lead your life's story & fight your own miseries or demons to lead a fulfilling life.

Tips on expecting from oneself & how to fulfill them

  • Set reasonably high expectations

Low expectations can make you happy when fulfilled but if you don't set high expectations on yourself then you won't be able to realize your entire potential at its best. Then, again make sure to set realistic expectations as unrealistic expectations can do serious damage to self confidence when not met.

  • Hard work is important

In many cases, we expect others to do the work for us when we can easily do it ourselves. It's an ill habit and only diminishes your potential. You should learn to work hard as this would make you more self reliant & better aware of your true potential which can lead you to success independently. Dependency can be a serious hindrance to success in some cases.

  • Stay positive

If you are constantly saying "I can't do", you are only pushing yourself to expect others to do it for you. Instead, tell yourself, when they can do it, why can't I? Stay positive and learn to believe in yourself. Just remember, nobody will achieve your success for you.

It is always great to get love, support and validation from others but remember that you have to lead your own life. Most importantly, you have the power to live your life independently, without expecting much from others. Don't forget that we all have arrived alone "“ everything that we need is right inside us and hence we should ask everything from ourselves only.

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About the author

Lisa Smith

Lisa is a Designer by profession, has love for creativity, and enjoys writing articles for almost all topics. Also, she is a regular contributor to where you can find her favorite topics related to Success, Motivation and Self Improvement.