The power of ideas and expectations to alter one’s reality has long been stressed in psychology, but how far is this achievable? Can we anticipate procuring anything we desire from our life? Is it true that positive thinking alone may bring you whatever you desire, while negative thinking attracts the things you generally feared for?

Positive aspirations and hard work do not always triumph, especially when reality sets boundaries. It just takes a few moments for us to conjure up an ideal situation in our heads, and we cling to it like Velcro. The issue arises when our expectations do not match reality, and we are left dejected. This can have a long-term detrimental impact on our mental health. Many of life’s setbacks could be envisaged and circumvented if we spend time to fully comprehend the conditions we are confronted with. Expectations must be managed with caution, since some of them may make life excessively difficult.

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
Brandon Sanderson

The following expectations can be unrealistic and destroy happiness:

Everyone should like me

I believe that seeking validation from others is at the pinnacle of the list of worthless things we practice in society. Why would you seek to be affirmed by individuals who are not even interested in your life?

The fact is, no matter how low you go to acquire those likes and following on social networking sites (a metric for how well you’re liked or hated) or to impress other people, at the completion of the day, the only person you are accountable to, is yourself. You truly deserve every ramification that crosses your path if you only focus on things to impress the streets.

Please keep in mind that no one genuinely cares about you. Everyone is preoccupied with putting food on their table, living to see another morning, and simply being happy. Only a handful of people have that much time to bother about you and themselves. So even the loathe or delightful comments you generally get are someone’s opinion in the heat of the moment. The moment they finished writing or speaking those things to you their thoughts shift back to survival mode. Dear, they are no longer focused on you.

“Set the standard! Stop expecting others to show you love, acceptance, commitment, & respect when you don’t even show that to yourself.”
Steve Maraboli

I must always do well

Yes, one should aim high and dream big, but one must also be pragmatic, since some goals may be beyond our reach. With years of practice and hard work, you may be capable to publish a novel, secure top health, a top executive job in your company, or complete a full endurance race. However, expecting to become a world-class cricketer or the Prime Minister of a nation the next day is a bit unreasonable. While striving for more might motivate you to work harder and do your finest, it can also deprive you of delight, notably, if you anticipate things to come more readily or in a different manner than they do.

Let’s keep our expectations SMART and REACHABLE.

“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”
Lisa Kleypas

Things will make me happy

The desired partner, a long-awaited promotion, dream luxury car/ house, the goal weight, or whatever it is that you have desired, if lands, you’ll finally get eternal happiness. It’s not your fault for believing this, since you’ve been fed this the moment you stepped into this world.

But this logic is flawed. Achievements don’t protect you from feeling like crap, and they don’t make you superhuman as well. Multimillionaires still get depressed. Even those with “perfect” physiques are abandoned. The fact that you have a pretty steady, passive income does not preclude you from forfeiting a loved one to cancer. You’ll be much nearer to contentment if you can commence enjoying where you are rather than pinning your feeling of fulfillment on some future achievement.

“A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.”
Jonathan Lockwood Huie

People should understand what I’m saying or others should agree with me

People can’t interpret your thoughts, and what you’re attempting to convey isn’t always the same as what they hear. You can’t assume that people will comprehend you just because you’re speaking; you must be precise. It’s easy to leave out crucial content because you don’t think it’s necessary, whether you’re asking someone to do a task without providing context or explaining a complex concept behind a huge project. You won’t be able to converse properly until you put in the effort to understand other people’s points of view.

Being correct isn’t always the best option. We expect people to think and act the same way we do, and we get upset or angry when they don’t.

“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”
Sylvia Plath


Life should be fair

Despite your best efforts, you were unable to pass an exam. You put forth a lot of labor, yet you were not promoted. You adore him, but he refuses to answer your calls – such is life. Many individuals moan about how inequitable life is and how things have gone wrong in their lives. This often leads to despair because it’s basically against our convictions and our expectations. But, hey, life was supposed to be this way; all you have to do now is embrace it and stop treating it like a piece of cake you can forever have.

Life is unfair, you can’t do anything but move on and be mindful of the current situation around you. You just have to let these feelings pass you by, and not linger on them. When life appears terrible, you may wish to give up; nevertheless, you may triumph by embracing reality, holding on to an optimistic tomorrow, and doing all you can right now to stay alive.

“Life is unfair to everyone in different aspects. Someone is emotionally broke; someone is financially broke. Just that, while complaining always remember there are millions still struggling to be you or what you are.”
Nitya Prakash

I can change others

If you try or wish to change others, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You weren’t here in this world to please others; you were sent here to make a mark for yourself. Preventing the urge to change others begins with concentrating on yourself. Other people’s beliefs and behaviors cause people to waste a lot of time, effort, feel irritated, angry, or disappointed. Isn’t it ridiculous to consider changing another person – a free-thinking, self-aware individual like ourselves? So, today, spare yourself some aggravation by learning to quit attempting to influence others. Try associating yourself with true, positive people, and avoid bothersome ones who always drag you down.

One of the most difficult truths to learn in life is that you can only transform yourself, and that too takes a hell lot of effort. Concentrate instead on improving your flaws/mistakes and you may find yourself enjoying a better, fulfilling, and more tranquil existence.

“Trying to change others is a smokescreen, start by changing yourself then others will copy from you.”
Auliq Ice

Fortunately, there is an elixir to the toxin of unrealistic expectations: Gratitude. It’s one of the most crucial aspects of happiness and prosperity. Gratitude is a way for people to embrace what they have rather than continually seeking something new in the hopes of making them happier, or believing that they won’t be fulfilled until all of their physical and material needs are addressed. Gratitude encourages individuals to emphasize what they have rather than what they don’t. And, while it may appear artificial at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice. Contentment becomes the embodiment of all our activities when we sincerely feel fortunate for everything we have. Count your boons, solve your issues, and spend time looking for answers, and the rest will fall into place.

“Being grateful does not mean that everything is necessarily good. It just means that you can accept it as a gift.”
Roy T. Bennett

Dr. Abha Kathuria and Mr. Dushyant Gupta

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