How expectations are blocking your happiness and how to fix it

How expectations are blocking your happiness and how to fix it
How expectations are blocking your happiness and how to fix it

When we have expectations of others, it usually leads to disaster

I recently returned from a family get-together. I hadn’t seen these people in over six months and had been looking forward to reconnecting with them. But during the trip I constantly felt left out. Despite my attempts to be included, three of my family members constantly excluded me in various ways. This continued over the course of my entire three-day trip.

Being left out – whether it’s in conversations or group activities – is probably the #1 way to make me feel like crap. I believe one of these people was doing it completely on purpose, the others were probably just being carelessly thoughtless.

Regardless of whether it was deliberate or just inconsiderate, I was hurt. Again and again. I felt unloved, unwanted, and unimportant. And I really resented them for making me feel this way.

My ill feelings even manifested in my body in the form of killer upper back pain, so severe that nothing I tried brought relief. The upper back is associated with the heart chakra – the chakra of love. So when you have problems in this part of your body, it often means that you are feeling unsupported and unloved.

After the trip was over, I returned home and had some time alone to think about things. And the more I really thought about the whole situation, the more I realized that I had been blaming my family when I should have been blaming myself.

Expectations are thoughts that we impose on others

Expectations are thoughts that we impose on others

The reason I was feeling badly was 100% my fault because I was the one that held these expectations. Instead of accepting and appreciating my family members for who they are, I expected them to act as I would have. Inclusion is extremely important to me, so I go to great lengths to include everyone as much as possible. And it upsets me when this behavior is not reciprocated.

But after giving it proper consideration and thought, I came to realize how ridiculous this way of thinking was. Everyone is different. Everyone has their flaws and everyone has their strengths. It is completely wrong for me to expect that anyone would have the same strengths or way of thinking that I have.

Expectations damage relationships

When we expect something of someone, we are imposing our beliefs on them. There is 99.99% chance that they won’t actually live up to our expectations, so failure is inevitable.

In addition, when they “fail” (as we perceive it) resentment builds up. In the case with my family, I didn’t say anything at the time, but I was dying inside.

Nobody cares how I feel. Nobody wants to be with me. I don’t have anyone’s support. Why am I even here right now?

Honestly, I still believe these things to be true and valid, as they relate to these particular family members. They don’t care about me the way that I want them to. But I can’t do anything about that. I can’t make them care, and feeling down about myself sure isn’t going to change that. So I knew I had to just let it go.

Acceptance is the answer

The best way I knew to do this was to take a lesson from my all time favorite book and forgive. To truly forgive, I need to accept and appreciate them for what they are. I need to release them from my idea of what they should be.

Damn expectations!

One could argue that expectations have their place. For instance, in raising kids, you need to set certain expectations so they can learn to be decent people. You don’t want them to think getting Ds and Fs on their report card is acceptable. You don’t want to condone their playing Call of Duty all day instead of mowing the lawn. And curfews were invented for a reason.

But it’s important to know the difference between realistic expectations (like the examples above about raising kids) and unrealistic ones like the ones I was imposing on my family.

Your feelings are still valid

Despite all these things I eventually worked out on my own, I knew deep down that my feelings of being unloved and unsupported were still valid. But at least I was able to accept them. And honestly, I’m okay with it – but I think that’s only because I have truly accepted my family members for who they are.

Your feelings are still valid

I now realize that I was trying too hard, and really need to cut it out! Maybe I won’t take that four hour drive to visit them again anytime soon. I mean, my time could be better spent doing something I enjoy, with people who love and appreciate me.

That’s not said out of bitterness or a desire to manipulate – it’s truly how I feel. Because as I like to say “I got your number.” I understand. This is how it is and I can live with that. The only way I can move on is to feel this way, and so, this is how it is. It’s 100% true acceptance, and no hard feelings. I take complete ownership of the emotions I was experiencing.

But who needs that kind of negativity in their life anyway? I have more important things to do, like celebrate my own badass self. There’s no reason to bask in the negativity of my own self-pity, even if it was triggered by other people. Instead, I will choose to practice some self-love and self-appreciation.


Are you having a hard time with how others are treating you? Hypnosis can help you move past your emotions, find forgiveness, and release expectations of others. Contact me with questions or book your free consultation online.

Jen Merkel Holistic Hypnosis and Wellness