The Psychology of Expectations

Expectations are things you want to achieve, or things you believe life should grant you. Society, institutions, have a habit of placing expectations on us.

When we’re small, institutions like school expect great things. Children are expected to do well, and questions asked if they don’t. As parents we also place expectations on our children so they will grow up to be model adults, for them to do well and the cycle continues.

There are no expectations on those who deal with mental health issues, or a severe disability. Generally, when it comes to our own expectations, we have hope, hope that we can achieve what we set out to achieve.

If that doesn’t happen, we may have disillusionment. Expectations are placed on us from an early age, as we continue to live with those unconscious expectations.

Although expectations are with us from an early age, we tend not to think about them. Most of the time we’re just living our lives, and forget we have expectations placed on us. Expectations also depend on culture, and environment.

I was expected to get married and have children. A career was never discussed. When it came to school, it wasn’t on ‘the list of priorities’. Where it was clear I was struggling in the early years, that soon changed to, ‘oh it’s just Ilana’.


22 Jun, 2021

2 thoughts on “The Psychology of Expectations

  1. I can’t recall ever having had expectations as a child, which is just as well as my education/career wasn’t on the agenda. That did mean that I was able to ‘paddle my own canoe’ which is a good thing.

    It’s different for you, as your needs weren’t addressed when they should have been, so the only expectations you experienced were those of others and that is never a positive thing for a child or young adult.

    1. Thanks. You may not have thought yourself lucky in that respect, but I would rather have ‘paddled by own canoe,’ than have what I got. Those were extremely difficult times.

      Your life was your own to do with as you pleased. In your circumstances it was beneficial and if you did make mistakes, you only had yourself to blame.

      We learn a lot from making our own mistakes.

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