Are other people's expectations holding you back? Or are your expectations holding yourself back?
Are other people’s expectations holding you back? Or are you holding yourself back?

Of course we want to be positive. Everyday, Most minutes and preferably all the time. In fact our expectation is we just need to be positive and our day will follow suit.

If I just think positively – I am sure it will work.

So why is it so hard?

Being positive is really different to having positive expectations.
All the positive psychology, self help programmes and books focus on helping us find the good in our circumstances. We are encouraged to consider our feelings and move towards being more positive.

This approach is healthy, helpful and works for us often.

However having a positive outlook on life is more than how we feel, because it is tied into the expectations we hold of ourselves and others.

These expectations are a powerful force within us. An expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen, or will be the case”. They exert a significant influence on our experiences – how we see them, the feelings they evoke, the actions we take and beliefs we create.

Whether our experience is one where we are excited, or one where we feel dread – we create an expectation that matches our thoughts and emotions. It only takes a second to create… but we seem to hold onto those expectations for dear life.

When our expectations are positive, we are motivated by happy feelings, a sense that good things are going to happen and we are confident we know what is most likely to happen next. They help us be calm and at ease when dealing with others as we know what to expect and what is required from us. We also tend to have good idea of how much time and effort we could put into these relationships and experiences.

But what happens when our expectations are not met?

We feel a range of emotions – anger, disappointment, being unnoticed, upset are the most common feelings. Stress, anxiety and anger outburst often occur. Of course we can also feel relief, surprise and sense of escaping when a negative expectation does not come about.

The challenge we have with expectations is that we do not often talk about them. But we are keenly aware we do not want to disappoint others and let them down.

So what do we do …. we start to have conversations with ourselves about if we met others expectations of us. Or we keep thinking about those people who did not meet our expectations. We stay in our emotional state thinking about others behaviours and our own emotional reactions. We stay here for far too long.

This we know is exhausting, and worse a waste of our time and energy. Nothing changes until we change how we handle our expectations – especially those which are not being met.

We need to make sure we learn how to manage and /or control our expectations because if we don’t, they can cause us heartbreak, sadness, anger, resentment and frustration. All of which leads to low mental health.

Having robust mental wellness, means being able to identify and reflect on our expectations so we can influence how we experience our circumstances – preferably in a positive way.

At Changed Insights, our registered psychotherapists help you learn the skills to clarify and reflect on your expectations, decide how to build positive changes in them, and then how to act so they are more likely to be a positive experience. Teenagers in particular need to learn they are in control of their own expectations, and to value communication with others regarding expectations they may or may not be meeting.

Clinical or Process Hypnotherapy gives you some easy techniques and approaches to use to help you become more positive in your outlook on your life for a long time.

So yes it is possible for you to change your thoughts and behaviours so you can achieve a different positive life for yourself.

Which positive techniques have you tried that has worked for you in the past?