The Dangers Of [High] Expectations [E]

We all have expectations in life. Our expectations serve as a basis for a better future, leaning towards perfection. And then there are some things that didn’t meet your expectations and it soon becomes a source of stress and frustration…

Being a perfectionist, I tend to have high expectations in life. Anything that’s below my standards is a big disappointment. Yes, I’m a nice person by nature and I wouldn’t fuss over little things, but I tend to get cranky when things didn’t go my way. I mean, who wouldn’t get mad if things didn’t go exactly as planned?

So much for expecting only the best things in life. What if you are controlled by other people’s expectations?

Your Own Expectations

We all have our expectations in our daily lives. We wanted to experience only the best things in life. But then, you can’t always get what you want. It’s frustrating.

Like for example, I have a lot of expectations. There’s traffic, courtesy, public transportation and internet connection speed. The heavy traffic, lack of courtesy, inefficient public transportation and slow (and crappy) internet connection are some of my biggest annoyances. I know I can’t control my frustration over these matters, but there’s more to it than that. Others had the same expectations as mine.

Over time, your own expectations can lead to rage, frustration, stress, behavioral problem, and anxiety. These can have a great impact on your health and your attitude. Yes, we’re aiming for something better but it’s important not to let your expectations consume you.

Other People’s Expectations (Towards You/A Person)

Isn’t it annoying that there are some people who are pressuring others to do better? Yes, they have high hopes for that person to do well in whatever ability he has. So pathetic. They could just give support to that person instead.

Their expectations (for a person) may vary, but it can always mean pressure for the person being asked. I mean, why are they expecting something from a person as if they were giving that person an ultimatum just to do better? Do these people know that their expectations may have a negative effect on that person?

Parents are the usual suspects to this kind of attitude. It’s as if they’re losing a lot if their kids didn’t make a lot of achievements or get the highest grades in tests. Wake up, you’re pressuring your child too much just to do better. I mean, it’s great that you’re pushing the kid to do well, but overdoing it can lead to fear, stress, and anxiety, as well as developing a sense of perfectionism. Yup, there are some cases wherein some parents enforce strict discipline on their children in order to focus more on their studies. The end result? Some children are pushing themselves too hard in order not to fail and they’re suffering from emotional distress once they fail.

Grown-ups aren’t exempted from this case just so you know. Their superiors have high expectations on their people to do well in their job. Their good performance is what the superiors are after, and the competent people who are performing well are likely to get promoted.

The Dark Side Of Expectations

All right, so there’s a dark side to this expectancy. Do I have to list everything one by one?

Basically, expectations are there for you to do well and to do better. But too much of this can lead to frustration, disappointment, stress, and anxiety that can burn you out. The risks of expecting great things at the time of inconvenience can be disheartening. It’s like expecting a big change for this never-ending problem.

Expectations and perfectionism tend to go together very well. Just imagine if things didn’t go your way, you easily lose your focus and may tend to dwell in the past.^ At times, you tend to quit what you’re doing and that’s kind of disappointing.

And speaking of frustrations and disappointments, many people tend to criticize the inconveniences they experienced in their daily lives and the people behind this. They all have their expectations that these people (particularly those in position) should solve these problems in order to provide convenience for everybody. But since they didn’t do their job properly, there are the endless comments of intense frustration and disappointment at the people in the office. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is what’s happening in my country.

Perhaps, the most common example of this may sound like advertising… but in fact, it’s like an expose of a bad service. Whether it’s a telecommunications company that offers a crappy service at an expensive monthly rate or a terrible service at a so-called 5-star restaurant, these people have the guts to expose everything they experienced and receive sympathy or criticism for it. They all have their expectations.

And perhaps, imposing expectations on someone by means of strict discipline can impact their emotional well being. They’re prone to depression, frustration and self-blame, which only happens when they fail to live up to expectations… for self, and for others. Worse, they are pushed down the brink and their honor is tainted with humiliation that they either live with it or they end it all.

Dealing With Expectations

It’s better not to expect too much in life. Yes, we’re all expecting something better, but of course moving out of inconvenience doesn’t happen immediately. Also, you mustn’t stress yourself with these expectations in life, the one that leads to perfectionism. Remember not to expect too much from a person, and don’t impose your expectations on others in order for them to do better. Don’t be the cause of other people’s anxiety.


In the end, whatever we expect in life must not lead to expressing your frustrations and anxiety over such a simple matter. We all have our expectations, but don’t let your expectations consume you.