The Compounded Stupidity of Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations. We all have them and they lead to nothing but grief and frustration. A key component in re-booting your life is to find a way to dismantle such hopes. I chuckle as I type these words because the concept of letting go of unrealistic expectations is so obvious to grasp and so hard to do. I am light years away from such mastery even though I know how much happier I’d be if I did this.


What makes it even more laughable is that the vast majority of my unrealistic expectations are what I want other people to do. The fact that they are so utterly unwilling to behave and think as I would prefer is a source of daily irritation to me.


Argh. Why can’t they just cooperate? They’re so intransigent in their determination to be themselves. Life would be much improved if they followed my prescriptions. Honestly, I really do know best.




Ok, so here is where that obnoxious red “Reboot” button starts flashing.


How many times a day does a similar script present itself in your head? And the thing about it is, we already know we can’t control others and we know that indulging in the magical thinking that masquerades as our own assessment of what is “reasonable” makes it worse. Far too many of us set out silent markers by which we judge others, only they don’t know we’ve set the markers out (or more likely don’t care) and blithely go about living their lives and thinking their thoughts according to their own rules and priorities.


What happens then? We upset ourselves over things entirely out of our control! How stupid is that?


Repeat ad nauseam.


The only thing to do about unrealistic expectations is to Let Them Go. I have no suggestions for how you accomplish this other than to practice. And I hate practicing! Especially with something so satisfactory as my good ideas for somebody else. But, on the rare occasions when I have managed to do so, I discover that my life takes on a quality of equanimity that makes everything better! No roller coaster of reactions, no frustration or disappointment or rage, just a smooth, placid sea on which to paddle my canoe.


Does any of this make sense?


How do you let go of expectations regarding people and situations you deeply care about? What techniques have you implemented? Suggestions welcome.


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2 Responses to “The Compounded Stupidity of Unrealistic Expectations”

  1. helenga Says:

    I agree with you in that I wish everyone would do what I want them to do…unfortunately I have to repeat to myself “the only person I can control or change is me.” Sigh. 🙂

  2. grasshopper Says:

    so true! why is it so hard to let go?? constantly working on that myself…

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