When Expectations Become Unhealthy

Everybody has expectations and that’s fine, but when do these expectations begin its pressure on you luring you into entering a path towards anxiety, stress and eventually depression – self-destructive in other words.

The greatest source of disappointment is expectations.

I got to write about expectations on a recent blog post but it seems that it’s a recurrent root cause of depression and anxiety in most of the people who have reached out to me and so here’s my take on it –

Have you ever wandered into space, not literally though, and entertained thoughts such as Ï didn’t expect my life to be this way. I was supposed to be this but what happened?”

The part of the “what happened” refers to being part of the majority and not the exception.

I have encountered friends who were pressured to have their lives lived always to be extraordinary to be the exception, it was always assumed that if they worked hard enough, they would succeed; if they did well in school, they would succeed. I’m not saying that it’s not good to expect, I think the disadvantage leans more on the pressure that it causes the other party to feel thus leading to unhealthy emotions. There was a time that I myself became a slave to my expectations, and they were ruining my life. What was running on my mind was I should have been this and that things were supposed to be different unknowingly my own expectations were taking away the happiness I needed simply because I wasn’t where I really wanted to be, I didn’t have what I was expected to have, and I wasn’t who I expected I should be.

Happiness equals reality minus expectations.

Happiness equals reality minus expectations.

I know of some people who survive on pieces of our expectations. Some have a job, even if it’s a job they dislike, working on overtime daily to pay the bills.

Recent statistics show that depression and anxiety are on the rise which is really sad and a battle cry for mental health programs to really be pushed. So it makes me wonder – How could depression and anxiety not be on the rise when we bear in us some burdensome expectations?

I’m a firm believer of fulfilled dreams but the whole point is that we shouldn’t force to expect it to happen all the time, that’s when the pressure builds up. If it happens, then good but if it doesn’t and we’re expecting it, or others at that, that’s where the likelihood of disappointment and frustration happens.

We shouldn’t base our happiness and personal satisfaction on expectations, much more the pressure of other’s expectations on us, besides there’s no written rule that says that for us to live a purposeful life we must all achieve the expectations we have. In the end just do what you can to the very best of your ability and pursue your passion, whatever happens in the end is what’s meant. Don’t allow expectations to define who you are. Don’t make it a basis for you to consider yourself happy and fulfilled. I drive at a point to tell you that it’s fine if you didn’t meet your expectations and that there will be a lot of times that life throws lemons at us but as they say make lemonade out of them instead of crying over it, it is what it is, don’t be too harsh on yourself and others too, and for some reason if life doesn’t go the way you planned it to be, don’t lose heart, it doesn’t mean we have to scrap out and stop working towards our goals – it just means that we can be happy regardless of its results. Focusing on what we don’t have can lead to unwanted depression and anxiety, instead try to focus on what we have.

The path towards happiness is to keep working towards realistic goals but don’t expect for them to become always a reality. I ain’t a pessimist but that’s the whole paradox of expectations. We all need a goal and a dream to keep us motivated and keep us going but at the same time we also need to live with the reality that things may not go on as we planned it to be, only with the reality that whatever happens in the end is what’s meant. With that, regardless of the outcome, we won’t be disappointed.

I’m not saying that it’s good to get comfortable with being average but hey we’re all born to be extraordinary in the first place in our own small way not from other’s expectations but out of our own effort, do things because your heart is in it and not because we’re expecting something. It’s about being happy at the same time working to be better each day, one step at a time. When you look closely happiness is found in the little bits of progress you make in your daily life and in being thankful for the small things. It’s about accepting the idea that your dreams possibly may not happen but that shouldn’t stop you from living the life you wanted. Make peace with life, that even if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to be, you still live with the notion that it will give you what is meant to be.

Happy people are not those who have everything but the ones who make the best of what they have.

Totally out of context but I just wanted to share the song that was playing on the background while I was writing this entry. Old soul indeed am I.

 

 

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