Having unrealistic expectations is believed to be poison for our relationship, career, happiness and life in general. Expecting too much from someone or yourself is the reason that a lot of us are unhappy. Thinking you are at a less deserving job? Thinking your partner isn’t doing enough for you? Thinking that your friends don’t call you enough? All these thoughts make you unhappy because we as humans always expect outcomes and when those expectations aren’t fulfilled we become upset.
We have all heard the famous phrase ‘the fruits of your labour’. Yes, your hard work will get rewards but they won’t necessarily be up to your expectations. So, why can’t we just work because it makes us happy? Why can’t we be in a relationship just to spread happiness and love? Why can’t we be just in the moment and live it to its full potential without expecting some form of reward for it later?
Living life without having any expectations is the most basic and effective happiness hack out there. We know, it is easier said than done. That is why we are here to help you learn ways with which you can learn to lower your expectations.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Sandeep Vohra, Senior Consultant, Mental Health & Psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, who gave us 5 easy and practical ways to lower your expectations for a happy life.
Here is how to lower your expectations:
1. Don’t expect what you don’t do yourself
“You always need to remember that before you expect something out of others, you should have actually achieved that goal yourself,” says Dr. Vohra. Self-introspection and asking yourself questions like “Why do I even have that expectation from another person?” may help. You will have to get away from the typical notion of “Anything less is a result of abject failure.”
2. Don’t set sky-high goals for yourself
You will have to start focusing on yourself and expect only what you can really achieve. Dr. Sandeep suggests that practicing an exercise like standing in front of the mirror every day and asking yourself “Why do I have this expectation?”, “Is it even required at this juncture of my life?”, “What will be the pitfalls if I am unable to achieve the set goals?” or “Is it okay for me to have such expectations of others?” will help in clearing your mind and having expectations that are easily fulfilled.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
You should realize that it is easier to have expectations of others but achieving the same that you see in others can be disappointing. The very reason for this theory is that no two people are born with similar capabilities, talents or wants. Every one of us wants different things out of life and should work towards that only. Don’t fall into societal standards of how much you should have to be happy and satisfied.
4. You have no right to expect from others
It is human nature to feel disappointed when the other person has not come through your expectations. But you need to be aware that it is not for you to have expectations from others. Just the act of letting things go, or letting yourself know in a moment that you are not supposed to have high expectations, will automatically help you to be sorted in life.
5. The Jante Law
This law by Danish-Norwegian writer, Aksel Sandemose has some simple rules also known as the Fight Club rulebook. If you find yourself in a situation where your ego is overpowering the other aspects, taking a look at these rules will be helpful. Since such a pattern of behaviour prevails across societies, these rules will help you embrace humility and have only reasonable expectations from others. These are:
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to think you are anything special.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to laugh at us.
- You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
- You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
- You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
Remember that this will not immediately lower your expectations. You will have to practice them consistently, change the way you perceive things, make efforts and eventually you will be able to let go of your expectations to lead a happy life.