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  • Amy Smitke

The Impact of Expectations

Are expectations healthy or unhealthy? We often find ourselves thinking only the positive about expectations, and yes they can be beneficial to motivate us, achieve goals and success, push ourselves, and grow as individuals. However, expectations can have a negative and unhealthy undercurrent we often do not see or understand and therefore we cannot address the issues. Expectations may be lurking in your shadows creating chaos in your life and your mental health. There tends to be common theme in my therapy work, regardless of the vast differences among my clients in every possible way, often I find myself seeing themes. This week I noticed a them of expectations and their negative impact on my clients mental health without them realizing that danger was lurking their their own head unidentified.


When it comes to our mental health, we can often be our own worst enemy. We set expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet, and then feel disappointed and frustrated when we don't reach them. This can lead to negative self-talk and a general feeling of unhappiness. But is it really worth letting our expectations hold us back? In this post, we'll explore the idea of setting healthy expectations for ourselves, and learn how to let go of the ones that are no longer serving us.


How might expectations present themselves?

  • High and likely unrealistic expectations of success of accomplishment

  • What is means to be a specific race, religion, culture, gender, etc.

  • How quickly therapy or treatment works

  • The outcome of giving or asking for forgiveness or addressing and unresolved grievance

  • Being a good mother/father

  • Holding on to receiving justice for a wrong doing

  • Expecting good deeds to be returned

  • And much much more...

We all have expectations for ourselves and for the people around us. We want to succeed, we want those close to us to be happy, and we want to feel like we're doing the right thing. But when our expectations become too rigid, they can start holding us back from achieving our goals and from enjoying life. It's important to be mindful of our expectations so that they don't keep us from living a fulfilling life.


Managing expectations is key to maintaining mental health. It’s important to be realistic about what we can and cannot control in life. Expectations play a role in our happiness, stress levels, and overall mood. When our expectations are not met, we can feel let down or disappointed. This can lead to negative thoughts and emotions which have a ripple effect on our physical health as well. We need to be mindful of the expectations we set for ourselves and others. There are many ways to manage expectations including setting boundaries, communicating effectively, and using positive reinforcement.


How do you identify and manage your expectations?


Until next time... Stay Motivated!

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