- your husband
- your wife
- your parents
- your children
- a teacher
- a boss
- a friend
- the world
Expectations can be positive or negative depending on the effect they have on a person. Positive expectations can encourage people to move ahead and reach their goals. Negative expectations can discourage people and stop them from reaching their goals.
Parents will often put the expectation on their children to follow a certain pathway, such as being a doctor, teacher, singer, etc. This can be a good thing if the child has an interest in that field and they are being encouraged to do well. However, if this is the parent’s dream and they push their child, who has no interest and doesn’t do very well, the child may feel like a failure.
People can also live up or live down to an expectation. If a child is continually told they always do well, that they are a winner and nobody is as good as they are, they will live up to that expectation but will eventually fail because they can’t keep being a winner. If a child is continually told that they can’t do something, they are a slow learner or they are worthless, they will live down to those poor expectations and probably not try to succeed in life.
Spouses often have unrealistic expectations of each other. They think the other person understands how they feel and what they are supposed to do. Then when they don’t fill each other’s expectations, they are disappointed and this leads to marriage breakdowns. Friends are the same. Their unrealistic expectations lead to relationship issues. Everyone is different, but we expect people to think and act like we do. We need to listen to each other and learn how to accept our differences without judgement and conflict. Good communication is the key to understanding each other.
We need to put realistic and fair expectations on a person by:
- acknowledging their unique abilities
- not expecting them to do the impossible
- helping them accept their mistakes
- showing them how to learn from their failures
- encouraging them to try harder
- never comparing them to others
What do you expect from your children? What do you expect from other people? Is it realistic and fair?