We often have an image/ idea or a belief of what will occur or how we will feel should it occur. For example, we may expect people to email us back directly once they read the email. Expectation may also help us motivate ourselves to reach a goal. An example for this can be, ‘’if I will get good grades, I will find a good paying job easily’’. The reality, what actually occurs, may match your expectations fully, partly and completely not. When that does happens, we feel irritated, disappointed, frustrated, unhappy, discontent and even sad. When a mismatch occurs between our expectations and the reality, we tend to focus on the that disparity. We tend to ignore, underestimate or unappreciated what did occur. In other words, we focus more on what we think ‘’should of’’ and ‘’could have ‘’ instead of what it is and who we are now at the present.
As a result it can hinder the personal growth and create missed opportunities. It triggers negative emotions, costs more energy and reduces motivation levels, self-efficacy and self-esteem, thereby it reduces the wellbeing.
It starts by becoming aware of these expectations and looking at the known present facts not wishes/ desires or other unknown factors.
Are these expectations realistic?
Are these expectations achievable?
Do you have the resources needed (e.g energy, time, experience, support)?
Is it what you want truly and how you want/need it be or are you being influenced by others’ expectations and life ?
(e.g due to social comparison: you see on social media a friend with a house and a pool. He is really happy. You expect that working hard will enable you to buy the same house as him. Then and only then you will be happy), but the reality is that it took you longer to achieve it; it may not be as big and it does not bring you the happiness you thought it would.
Adjusting your expectations and finding flexibility, will soften the fall or even prevent it.
Should what you have expected not be the same as what occurred reality, try to practice gratitude and acceptance. Appreciate what you have, who you are and be compassionate with yourself instead of self-critical. Remind yourself that somethings are out of your control, such as other peoples behavior. Attend to your emotions and your own thoughts to sooth, comfort and regulate, in doing so you will boost your own well-being.