Having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and other people are a huge reason why we struggle with stress and anxiety. Creating realistic expectations will decrease our anxiety.
“The problem isn’t the problem. Your reaction is the problem.”
5 Unrealistic Expectations and How To Change Them:
1. You expect things to go a certain way because you spent so much time planning for it
Your itinerary and all the details of what you will do on vacation is set to go. You have a perfect plan that took a lot of time and effort on your part. The problem is nobody wants to do what you want to do, and you are not getting what you expected.
Do the planning, but forget the plan
It’s great to do the research before you go on vacation with things to do and places to eat. When you get there, have your ideas in mind, but don’t expect that you will check off everything on your list. Try to go with the flow and ease into each day without following a detailed plan because your frustrations may prevent you from having a good time. If there are several of you and you have one thing you really want to do, consider going your separate ways for the day and meet everybody after dinner.
2. All people should like you
You go out of your way to convince somebody that you really are a good, likable person but they still don’t give you the time of day.
You will not be able to get everyone to like you, yet these are the people that you are trying to convert!
It’s nice to be cordial, but don’t want to waste your time trying to win people over. It will be better spent with people who do want to be with you.
3. Your husband has habits that frustrate you
We all have things about ourselves that our husbands don’t love. Maybe it’s flossing our teeth in the living room- talking with our mouths full –taking up too much of the bed– snoring – or worrying too much – planning too much in a day- spending too much money- being too sensitive – getting mad at him for getting mad at you (Lol), etc. But our expectations are that our husbands are supposed to act a certain way to accommodate what we don’t like about them.
We all have little things that bother us about the other
It is a problem if you spend too much time feeling frustrated by meaningless things. Try to find the humor in some of your husband’s habits and remember to focus on the reasons why you are together. He is all yours:)
4. You want our kids to be more like you
Our kids have their own minds and ideas for how they want to live their lives. They don’t make all the right decisions or check in as much as we would like.
If we communicate that frustration or expectation to them, it is going to push them further away. It’s not easy to be a listener when we have the wisdom that they sometimes lack, but they will talk more if we talk less.
It is hard for me to not try and “fix” things for my sons when I think there is a problem and they don’t. But I might be communicating to them they they are not capable of taking care of problems themselves. So it’s work in progress for me to stop “trying to help”.
4. You expect others to appreciate you at all times
You let the woman go ahead of you at the store and she doesn’t thank you. That guy who just cut you off could have killed you, and you missed the light!
These people don’t know know that you’re fuming by their actions. They’ve just gone off on their merry way, so don’t waste your time and energy being mad when they don’t even know, or care! A few choice words to yourself might make you feel better, but telling people about it a week later is just going to prolong the anger.
The only person we can change is ourselves – and our attitude towards the things that bother us.
I quit my job
I left a job because my supervisor micromanaged and criticized everyone, including me. The mistake I made was taking it personally. I always performed beyond what was expected, but as a perfectionist I did not take criticism very well. Some people are not going to act as they should, but this is their problem and we don’t want to make it ours.
5. You expect your party to be perfect
You spent weeks planning for your party and it poured. The decorations had to be taken down, the food and coolers were brought in and everybody had to squeeze together into the house. The disappointment you felt bothered you all week.
The people at your party are your friends or family. Everyone, including you – will have had a better time if you can make light of bad weather, or anything else that goes wrong. You’re all together and you have people who want to be with you.
- Our unrealistic expectations have everything to do with our need to control things that are outside of our control. This causes anxiety.
- Make a list of things that you worry about, or things that make you angry. If they involve people – the weather – holes in the ozone layer – or events – cross off anything that doesn’t involve you alone.
- Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
Be less affected
If you expect less from any situation, you will get more from life. This means more happiness, less anxiety.
What expectations cause you anxiety?
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson
This groundbreaking inspirational guide–a classic in the self-help genre–shows you how to put challenges in perspective, reduce stress and anxiety through small daily changes, and find the path to achieving your goals. Among the insights it reveals are how to:
- Think of your problems as potential “teachers”
- Do one thing at a time
- Share glory with others
- Learn to trust your intuitions