Expectations aren’t a bad thing.
And when others have expectations of you, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
If you a two o’clock appointment with a client, for example, it’s not a bad thing for them to expect you to show up at two o’clock.
However, there are some expectations that can weigh much more heavily on us than others, and sometimes we’re not even aware that they’re there.
As a manifestation life coach in Toronto, I work through a wide range of different concerns, but a big one is learning how to understand and let go of the expectations others have of you.
We all deal with them, and if we’re not careful, they can control our lives, keep us feeling stuck, and hold us back from creating the life of our dreams.
When Are The Expectations Of Others Bad?
In her book Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, author Bronnie Ware talks about her time working in palliative care and developing relationships with people who would die just a few weeks later.
And the number one regret?
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Let that sink in – living according to the expectations of others is the most common regret of those on their death beds.
But expectations of others aren’t always bad, are they?
The simplest way to understand this is to recognize that the expectations of others are bad when they’re involuntary and confining.
Involuntary expectations are expectations others have of you without your having had any say in the matter.
Meanwhile, confining expectations are expectations others have of you that stop you from creating your dream life.
Perhaps you always wanted to go to art school to become a painter or a sculptor, but your parents wanted you to be a doctor or a lawyer.
So they pushed you to go to medical or law school, study your brains out, and now you have a lucrative career in the field.
But it doesn’t feel fulfilling.
Your parents wanted you to live a life free of need, a life of wealth and abundance, but they never took into consideration what you wanted in life.
As a result, you feel stuck and frustrated.
Or perhaps you always wanted to start your own business, but your family pushed you into a job with a steady paycheque and a pension to play it safe.
Maybe you wanted to study abroad for a year, but your parents convinced you the more sensible option was to go to school at home.
Or maybe you feel like you never had a chance to meet the love of your life, since you were expected to work so hard on your career at the expense of everything else.
It can even be the smallest of expectations that frustrate your goals.
Perhaps you’re focused on manifesting a state of greater wellness, but your friends or coworkers expect you to go out and drink with them, and your mother expects you to eat all the cakes she baked, otherwise it would be rude.
Regardless, these expectations end up holding you back.
1. Others’ Expectations Can Be Contradictory
Most of us have more than one person in our lives who holds influence over us.
This might be two different parents – especially if your parents are separated.
It might be other close family members, your spouse, or even your kids.
And of course, everybody has a different perspective – which means they’ll have different expectations of you.
What happens when you try to live your life according to others’ expectations, but those expectations contradict each other?
You’re in a no win scenario.
You can never make everyone happy.
Besides, others’ happiness is not your responsibility.
2. Others’ Expectations Can Be Unrealistic
When you live your life according to the expectations of others, you live according to what they imagine you to be capable of doing.
That doesn’t mean you’re actually capable of doing it.
What happens when your parents expect you to become a doctor, for example, but you faint at the sight of blood?
You set yourself up for failure.
3. Others’ Expectations Can Breed Resentment
Let’s say your dream is to become an entrepreneur, but your family pushes you to stay in a job you hate.
Sure, it might grant financial stability in the short term, but you’re the one who has to go to work every day frustrated and miserable.
How could that possibly not breed resentment?
How To Let Go Of Others’ Expectations
Easier said than done, of course, but there are ways to get around these expectations.
Let’s take a look.
1. Put It In Perspective
The expectations others have of you are their expectations, not yours.
Therefore, it’s their problem, not yours.
At the same time, remember that in the vast majority of cases, when others have expectations of you, they’re not being malicious.
Quite the opposite in fact – they usually come from an earnest desire to help you avoid making some of the mistakes others may have made in the past.
But that doesn’t mean they’re right for you.
2. Ask Yourself What You Want
So you want to move away from others’ expectations of you.
What do you want?
That’s a big question, and it’s not always easy to answer.
Spend some time with your inner voice, exploring what it is you would do if you were free of the expectations of others.
3. Learn To Let Go Of Your Own Expectations Of Others
Once you begin letting go of others’ expectations of you, it’s a good idea to take a look at the flip side of the coin.
What sort of expectations are you putting on your spouse, your kids, your parents, your coworkers, your friends?
And how might those expectations cause them grief?
When you realize how to move away from the expectations others have of you, it can help to grant the same courtesy to others.
Book Your Appointment With Evelina Hovich Today
Are you finding it difficult to shrug off the expectations others have of you?
Or are you uncertain about what the next step might be even if you did?
For some, others’ expectations might almost feel almost safe – despite its discomfort, it feels paradoxically comfortable.
As a result, it’s sometimes hard to let that go.
I’m Evelina Hovich, Toronto life and manifestation coach, and I can help.