One of the hardest things to deal with in life is false expectations; where we, or other people, expect usually too much from us, but sometimes too little. Our false expectations and theirs are present because of unreconciled inner wishes. And if we let false expectations meander they harm relationships as well as our self-concept.
Challenging false expectations is about coming back to the truth, determining what’s reasonably achievable, and being fair in each event. It’s a great relief to find out along the journey that God requires less of us, many times, than we or others often expect of ourselves.
Challenging Others’ False Expectations
The reason others have false expectations of us is more personal to them than we think. We might ask, ‘What’s missing in them for them to be so demanding?’ And, ‘How might it feel to be that demanding on another person?’
For anyone to have an expectation of another person which is not bounded by collective agreement is ridiculous. We’re talking in the adult realm here. By being involved in relationships there’s a steady flux of agreement that keeps us in relationship. False expectations ruin such a flux.
When we find ourselves preoccupied in thought of disappointing another person, and we see we haven’t met their expectations, we should ask ourselves if we’ve agreed to these expectations. If we agreed and the expectations are too high or too low we need to renegotiate.
Most often with false expectations we don’t agree with others regarding their expectations of us, but other people still insist on having their piece of us; to control us in some way. This is a transgression and we could consider a boundary to disallow this person such access of expectation.
It’s good to simply know that other people’s false expectations of us are invalid. Sometimes we need to reinforce this through our thinking, over and over again, just to remind ourselves that the other person’s reality is not reality.
The subject of other people’s false expectations of us feeds into those false expectations we may have with ourselves.
Challenging Our False Expectations
False expectations on the personal level will create frustration approaching madness if we keep them up. Though there’s nothing wrong with stretch targets, it pays to be realistic in life.
God requires nothing of us we’re incapable of sustaining. This is an important point of relief. Once all pretence is debunked and we’re able to be natural with ourselves, we find we’re at the peak of our capability. We see that false expectations are crippling. God knows this and wants us freed of the pressure to maintain impossible standards. That’s what Divine grace is for.
It’s such a relief to finally allow ourselves the freedom from false expectations, and to know that God has proclaimed an end to such legalism.
False expectations can tear relationships and ourselves apart. They tear the fabric of reality and make life unfair. Challenging false expectations is a God-anointed freedom. We’re never more capable than when we’re free of false expectations.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.