Do you expect your partner to know the reason for your sadness without you even telling them?
Do you also expect people around you to appreciate your efforts for them?
And do you feel sad, hurt, or resentful when no one behaves the way you expected them to?
So, how do stop expecting from others?

Well, ‘expectations always hurt’ and more so if they are associated with people around you. When you expect someone to behave a certain way and when they don’t you feel sad. You expect your loved ones to know what you are feeling inward, but when they don’t you feel betrayed. In short, you create a mess of your feelings and yourself just because you expect too much from others. Even if it’s not too much, but expecting is not a healthy trait to possess. In the end, people do what they please, not what you want them to do. So, today to save you from facing all the disappointment, sadness, or frustration I am here to make you learn how to stop expecting things from others. With this shift of attitude towards others, you’ll be able to live a much happier, healthier, and heartbreak-free life.

So, let’s get started but, before getting into the ways I’ll tell you why people stop expecting and why should you as well!

Why Do People Stop Expecting? And Why Should You!!

Expectations as Psychology Today says are ‘premeditated resentments.’ You jump into this pool of sadness, anger, frustration, and resentment of unmet expectations knowingly.  Expecting people to act according to your wishes and desires is even worse than this. If expectations aren’t met you not only feel worthless but you also unduly pressurize the other person to behave the way you want them to.

However, merely talking about not having expectations from people is easier but walking the talk is not! Though it isn’t impossible. Now let me give you some examples of why you should stop expecting from others and stop being disappointed yourself.

Firstly, humans are complex creatures. No two humans in this world of 7 billion people think alike or act alike. Though there are similarities, the differences outweigh them. Even identical twins don’t have everything in common. Now, this means that what you think and want might not be what you think and want. You might be a hopeless romantic but your partner might be an utterly realistic human. So, you expecting them to dance with you in the rain every time is not what they want and feel happy about. Then what’s the point of expecting it if the other person doesn’t like doing it even.

On the contrary, if you accept someone for who they are, they would be happier and work on ways that make you happy. For me expecting someone to act a certain way is like forcing them to do something. Not only do you drain your brain for overthinking but you also make the other person feel as if they are not enough.

‘Expectations feeds frustration. It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t.’

Steve Maraboli


6 Simple Ways to Stop Expecting And Start Accepting

1- Realize Your Worth

How many times have you done something just to be recognized by others? Do you frequently go out of your comfort zone just to make your friends happy? Do you also secretly wish for people to appreciate your each and every move? Well, if this is the case then you are certainly having low self-esteem.

People who constantly do things to seek validation from others suffer from self-esteem issues. You constantly see yourself through the lens of other people. Neither do you have an idea of who you are as a person nor do you know what to do with your life.

This constant need for approval from others has further been emboldened by the use of social media. You post a picture and check on your phone again and again to see likes, comments, shares, and reposts. You write something and look for appreciation from your friends.

Though, this attribute of external validation is quite ingrained in humans since their birth. For instance, when you accomplish something as a child, the first thing you do is to look up to your parents for appreciation. But, as we grow and create an identity of ourselves we develop a sense of self-validation as well. Simply put, self-validation is the act of seeking approval from yourself. Knowing what your values and morals are. Acting in line with these values even when no one approves of them.

Now to be very honest, everyone seeks approval from others. You can’t just brush aside this feeling. But, expecting it all the time is extremely unhealthy. On top of that, if you fail to self-validate yourself then this is going to harbor self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression issues.

So, stop putting other people’s ideas of you above your own idea of yourself.

2- Understand That People Are Imperfect

We seldom forget the very crux of human nature i.e. imperfection. Humans are perfectly imperfect. They make mistakes. They fail to keep up with their own expectations usually. Then how do you expect that people will live up to your expectations every time?

While it is okay to do something out of concern for someone in your life. But, using all your energy to keep with the expectations that others have of you is worse. What’s even worse is abusing your relationships for your own standards. Just because you think your partner will be there for you on your bad days doesn’t mean they will be always. Of course, there will be times when they might be going through something even worse in their life. There can be times when your friend won’t be able to console you because they themselves are going through a rough patch in life. 

Remember not every smile you see is really a smile. So, stop assuming that everyone is fine and only you have problems. This thought pattern is really problematic in the first place. If you think along these lines you automatically assume that everyone’s life is perfect and only you are the damsel in distress. However, in reality just because someone you know didn’t share their problem with doesn’t mean that their life is perfect. Not everyone likes to whang about their problems with everyone. But, that doesn’t make them or their lives perfect. And they do not have to be at your disposal.

In a nutshell, stop expecting and try accepting that everyone is as flawed and nuanced as you are. So, offer compassion and be accepting of their shortcomings, just as you want people to accept you with your imperfections.

Related; 5 effective ways to be non-judgmental in practice

3- Accept That People Can’t Read Your Mind

You are sitting in front of the TV, having a cup of coffee when your partner comes in. Instead of greeting them, you pick your cup and go to your room. When does your partner ask you what have they done to not even deserve a greeting? Instead of reminding them about the dinner date you had planned 2 days ago, look out of the window expecting them to read your mind. Does this sound like you? Well, if you have been prone to using these tactics often, then you need to stop now.

People can’t decipher your thoughts and feelings by merely looking at you. Your level of understanding with a person might be one thing. But, compelling the other person to go through the arduous task of guessing your thoughts is another. No matter how well you know someone, the need to communicate your feelings will always stay important.

So, stop expecting your friends to come to see you when you are ill even without informing them about your health. Similarly, don’t expect your partner to quit their habit of smoking without you even showing concern about their health and identifying the future implications.

Make your thoughts loud and clear. Communicate your feelings clearly and timely. Don’t assume that people would know, because they won’t all the time. You never know how many thoughts are going on in someone’s mind, guessing about what you are thinking can be the least important to them at times. So, be mature and stop waiting for things to happen. Stop expecting that people would figure out your mind. Save your time and theirs by communicating honestly, openly, and tactfully.


Related; 9 Effective Communication skills that you need to master

4- Let Go of Dependency

Often times while expecting too much from others you end up being dependent on them. Expecting your parents to pitch in and decide a career for you because you are indecisive is an apt example of dependency. Letting people solve your problems and clear up the mess you created is not an expectation but dependence. Expectation and dependency are separated by a very thin boundary. However, seldom while playing the game of expectations we end up being dependent on other people.

To get rid of this trait of dependency you need to stop overly relying on other people for your life’s choices. You need to stop giving people authority over your life. Get in touch with who are and what you want in life. Find your glory and start with conviction. Though you would feel the need to ask for advice sometimes, this is totally okay. The problem arises when you hand over the control over the gear of your life to other people.

Be mindful of when you are about to cross the thin line between expectations and dependence. This is why expectations are bad to have in the first place. Because while expecting too much from others you blur the difference between it and dependency. Overcoming dependence by making your own decisions and being responsible for how you feel will eventually end the cycle of expectations and dependence.

So, stop relying on other people excessively. Stand up and make the choices of your life yourself. Stop expecting your loved ones to clear the path for you. After all, being dependent on others will drain the other person’s energy while hurting your feelings, crush your self-esteem and push you further into your insecurities.

Related; 6 Powerful Habits to Become Mentally Strong

5- Accept That Not Everyone Will Understand You

Let me be brutally honest here. Expecting everyone to understand you is like expecting a philistine to appreciate art and literature. Not everyone is going to understand you and appreciate you or your goals.

If ever you had shared your goals or ideas with a person who didn’t show any interest, then it was merely because they could not understand it. Every person you meet in this journey of life has gone through different experiences. They hold different values. They have a different worldview. Above all, they have a completely different thought pattern and their goals might be strikingly different than yours.

Suppose, you share your goal of becoming a professional freelance writer one day with a person who had lived an entirely corporate life and loves it too. Would they be able to appreciate your life’s choice? No, they won’t, and fairly enough because they have never experienced the feeling of joy that comes to you while writing at the comfort of your home. While contrarily, they get a sense of joy by being a part of an organization and doing a nine to five job.  

You need to understand that not everyone you meet will share enthusiasm or approve of your thoughts and ideas. But, that’s okay because everyone is different. So, stop expecting people to understand you. Don’t expect them to be as ecstatic about your lives choices as you are.

6- Understand That Not Everything You Do Will Be Reciprocated

Not everyone you meet will share the same genuine feelings and kindness towards you. Not everyone you meet will have the same respect that you have for them. Feelings are seldom mutual and so are actions. So, don’t expect others to do for you what you do for them. The world we live in isn’t fair. The people we meet aren’t honest. People do have hidden motives and intentions behind their fake smiles. Once you do what they wanted from you, you’ll never remain as important as you were earlier. The sooner you realize and accept this bitter reality of life the easier your life will be.

More importantly, always do something when you feel good doing it. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Do things for yourself. Complete your friend’s assignment if you want. Help your colleague understand the details of the task given to them. Surprise your partner by bringing them flowers every day. But, never expect the other person to reciprocate the same feeling. Do it because you feel good this way, not because you expect something in return. This way you’ll feel more in control of your emotions and your life in general.

Conclusion;

Having expectations is not bad. The problem arises when you start expecting too much from others. Learn to strike a balance between when you can have more and when you have had enough. Remember that people also face struggles and challenges in life. So, learn to stop expecting from others too much. The sooner you realize this the better would be your life overall.

About the Author

Sara Khan

Sara Khan is a writer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. She aims to inspire and motivate people to live, love, and laugh wholeheartedly.

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