Do You Expect Happiness From Other People?
Write your own reality with these science-backed mindset shifts.
Expectations lead to resentment.
When unfulfilled — and most often they are unfulfilled — they ruin your relationships.
In this post, I’ve curated five things you should stop expecting from other people in your life. Each observation is backed by science and will help you become a more secure, self-aware person.
1. You see what they show you, not what you want to see.
Often, we view our relationships through the lens of our ideal world.
Instead of accepting someone for who they are, we keep expecting they’d be perfect. We wait for the right time when they’d mold themselves according to our wishes.
And in waiting, we end up needlessly hurting ourselves.
While making major life decisions, it’s important to stop expecting people to change. Accept the current version you see, and don’t expect they’d turn their lives around for you.
Your history with them might cause you to get blindsided.
But people change.
Their priorities evolve with time, and the person you’re interacting with today might be radically different from the person you met ten years ago.
As journalist Dorie Clark writes in Forbes, you must question your assumptions. Don’t be biased by your initial impression of the other person. Keep re-evaluating how you perceive them and their contribution to your life.
2. You don’t expect them to be mind-readers.
Even if you’ve been with someone for a long time, they can’t know precisely how you’re feeling.
Expecting people just to know things is entitlement on your part.
It only leads to disappointment and resentment.
“It is hard for someone to live up to your expectations when they don’t know what they are, but you still might see this failure as a violation of your social contract.” — John A. Johnson Ph.D., Psychology Today
As an adult, it’s your responsibility to advocate for your needs as opposed to expecting them to be automatically fulfilled.
Of course, communicating your needs doesn’t mean they’ll get fulfilled. But at least the other person has a chance to know what’s on your mind before making their decision.
This brings us to the next point…
3. You know your needs won’t be prioritized.
Well, in some cases, they might be.
But stop expecting people to put your needs, opinions, and preferences first.
Every person is dealing with their own struggles. They view the world through the lens of their biases. It’s unreasonable to expect them to consider your emotions while making a decision.
You must be your own advocate.
You don’t need permission from someone else to do what you want.
You don’t need others to agree to your opinions for your experiences to be valid.
If you can’t find anyone to accompany you in the new adventure you seek, you must be your best friend and venture ahead alone.
As writer Jo Ritchie puts it, “Instead of spending our every waking hour thinking about that other person and forgetting ourselves, we (and our partners!) would be better served by focusing on ourselves. This way, we’ll be able to give from a place of wholeness, without expecting anything in return or feeling resentful.”
4. You keep reinforcing your boundaries.
Stop expecting people to respect your boundaries if you haven’t explicitly stated and reinforced them.
Do this on an ongoing basis.
While setting boundaries, you must know your limits and be assertive in your communication.
There should be no shame in communicating your needs and drawing boundaries. As Mariana Bockarova Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today,
“The ability to know our boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth, or valuing yourself in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feelings they have toward you.”
Having open and honest conversations about your expectations, needs, and demands is integral to healthy relationships.
5. You know no one is perfect.
Stop expecting people to be perfect.
Every person has some idiosyncracies that make them who they are. They have flaws and imperfections that aren’t always pretty. But these are also integral parts of who they are and come as a package deal with all their other good qualities.
Don’t have rigid expectations and give people the space to make mistakes.
“The reality of life is that it is imperfect.
People make mistakes, everyone experiences setbacks, relationships take work, and what you see on the media and others’ social accounts is edited.
When you anticipate perfection, it can cause you to take failures hard, upset others, and avoid decisions or opportunities.” — Marc Shulman
It isn’t easy loving yourself in a world designed to pull you down at every instant.
Self-love is a fragile thing that needs to be cultivated and fortified every day. When you rely only on yourself and stop expecting happiness from the people around you, you’re ready to take the first step on this journey towards being your best friend.
Summarizing, here are the five things you should stop expecting from people to live a healthier and happier life:
- Stop expecting people to change according to your expectations.
- Stop expecting people to know what you want without you having explicitly stated it.
- Stop expecting others to prioritize your needs, wants, and opinions while making major life decisions.
- Stop expecting your boundaries to be respected unless you keep reinforcing them with an open and honest conversation.
- Stop expecting people (and life) to be perfect all the time.
What other traits would you add to the list? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.