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Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations

unrealistic expectations

Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations

So many of relationship troubles have these two statements; “I thought and hoped he would ……” (fill in the blanks) and the second statement; “I never thought he could or would do that to me.” Both are classic cases of disappointment built on illusion and the need to be the exception to the rule, which of course your ego and inner child needs for you to have a special place in his heart that no one else has, making you loveable and special.

All of us hold unrealistic expectations. In fact, the biggest unrealistic expectation is that people shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations, according to Miranda Morris, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Bethesda, Md. “It’s part of the human experience.” But what unrealistic expectations actually do is chip away at your relationship, shut down your desires and goals and they even have the power of being so unrealistic that you are incapable of seeing what you have in front of you because you need to hold onto the illusion of perfection. This is the beginning of a very unhealthy isolation bubble. Unrealistic expectations are potentially damaging because they constantly set us and others up for failure. There is no way to win, so no way to be happy with yourself or your partner.

If you hold the unrealistic expectation “If my relationship was good, then it would always be easy.” When you experience problems, you jump to the conclusion that your relationship was a mistake, hopeless and not willing to put any energy working on your issues or seeking professional help. As a result, your relationship continues to deteriorate and maybe even ends. Relationships are usually difficult and require effort after the limerence (love with illusions of no flaws) fades away. Thoughtfulness, cooperation and compromise have to come into play even when things are going well.

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Listed below are some examples of Unrealistic Expectations from yourself, for your partner and your relationship pointed out by couple counselors. The trick is to spot them and then accept we all end up with spinach in our teeth sooner or later if you are with them long enough.

  1. “Everyone just has to like me!” The reality is that we CAN’T make everyone like us, cold hard fact.
  2. “The world should be fair.” This is so unrealistic because we are living this life to learn unconditional love and “can’t control all aspects of the world so that it always operates in a fair manner.”
  3. “My golden retirement years were supposed to just be golden.” Forgetting that with aging comes many transitions and challenges.
  4. We can usually force our unrealistic expectations and levels of control on others by manipulation. We call this emotional bullying and for you, straight jacket material.
  5. We are constantly pushing our partner to “do better” as you see his great potential and he doesn’t.
  6. “It’s not OK to be depressed, anxious, have painful feelings and thoughts” when things don’t go well in your relationship or the past hurts creep up in your memory. “EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE!”
  7. “I have to have control over everything and how I do that is the need to know every small detail of what’s going to happen.”
  8. Expectations are heavy on “should haves,” whether it’s about ourselves or others. Your ego follows this format; “If my partner loved me, then they SHOULD have known how I was feeling.”
  9. My partner does not have the right to be upset at me for any reason. “I always have a good reason for what I said or did and it should be accepted without question.”

If your expectations are working against you, see if you can release your grip a little. Your unreasonable rules to create a perfect scenario stops you from participating in life’s challenges. The first step to address what seems reasonable and what is not, is compassion. Compassion for yourself and your partner. Step into their shoes for a short period of time and see how it make you NOT feel good about yourself. Learn flexibility and cooperation. Unlearn the words “you did, you said and you have.”

Susan Z’s Verdict

Unrealistic expectations are rigid. They don’t leave any room for changing circumstances or let us or others be flexible. They interfere with our ability to pursue what matters to us in life. “It’s not OK to make mistakes,” means you won’t take risks. And “if you can’t take risks, it’s hard to stretch and pursue the things you care about.” They’re unworkable. Some expectations might even seem reasonable, fair and realistic. “But your ego’s actual experience tells you these expectations can’t be met.” Also, your expectations create more problems than they solve. We worry that if we loosen up on our expectations, other people will exploit and hurt us. However, we don’t need sky-high expectations to ensure our safety. Get out of your heads and focus on your present experiences, such as how your partner is treating you and go from there.


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2 Comments

  1. some really good advice…one of the lessons in this lifetime for me is that I can not control anyone or anything only myself..Happy Mother’s Day :=)

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