Most of you are likely familiar with phrases such as: “Expect nothing, and you will never be disappointed” or “The secret of happiness is low expectations.”
Previously, whenever I would come across these quotes or similarly-worded passages, I felt that these words resonated with me. I thought to myself, This is why I have been continuously let down in the past. I expect too much, and am setting myself up to feel this way.
But was I really? Or were my expectations in fact reasonable? Was I simply blaming myself for having “high hopes”, blatantly ignoring the fact that letdowns are an inevitable and unavoidable part of life?
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty for having expectations:
1. They keep you motivated.
When you lower your expectations, you are essentially coming to terms with the fact that you’re settling – even though you will hesitate to admit it to yourself.
Whether it’s how you are treated in a particular job environment or in a relationship, you intrinsically possess an imaginary checklist. Eventually, you may notice yourself crossing some of these items off – not because you accomplished them, but because you think to yourself, “Oh well. I guess I’m okay with not having that.”
Maintaining expectations helps you remember what you deserve, and prevents you from accepting “better than nothing.”
2. You present others with the best version of yourself.
By having expectations for your direct circumstances, you are naturally implying that you want to be the best you can be. Contrary of what others may think, being cognizant of what you deserve isn’t selfish – if anything, it’s selfless.
Because you know your worth, you are consistently determined to keep working hard and improving yourself. How you treat others is just as important as how they treat you – and you never forget the importance of that.
3. Having expectations won’t lead to disappointment – but having unrealistic expectations will.
There’s a difference between knowing what you deserve, and having a fairy tale view of how your life will pan out. It’s critical to find the middle ground – and that involves being comfortable with being let down from time to time.
So don’t rid yourself of any and all expectations – just manage them within reason. After all, pretending you’re happy with less can only go on for so long.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com