Expectations aren’t making it easy for you -But what did you expect?

Ioana Grigorescu
Sep 4, 2019 · 5 min read

Have you noticed how your entire life is made up of expectations? And the irony of it all is that those expectations aren’t even yours.

In a world which plans to isolate every individual using social media, online games and a phenomenal work volume, we’re still looking for approval from those who surround us. Even when we’re short of an audience, we look towards strangers and think if that look of disapproval targeting us is the result of yet another of our failures. Maybe those strangers we’ve never seen before know we’ve let someone down, they know we’ve messed up at work and that it won’t even be our last display of failure. And now that they know, they won’t want to have anything with us. And it’s strange because they are strangers to us. And deep down inside, we might not even want to be friends with them. The human mind can be so incredibly complicated at times.

Expectations. That’s what we are made up of.

We are not made of feelings, of experiences, wishes or desires, or at least, not of those which belong to us. That’s the real tragedy. We own nothing. We don’t even own ourselves.

The richest of us all are not the ones who own expensive cars and houses and travel all over the world, enjoying fancy drinks on exotics beaches or taking life-threatening pictures on top of the mountains.

The richest of us are those who belong to themselves.

Those who have never known what is expected of them, have never cared and have never tried to please.

Expectations appear very early on.

It is not like we call them. But we do get stuck with them as soon as we come into this world. At first, you don’t feel the pressure. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s there, the pressure exists, only it’s usually absorbed by parents.

Just think about it. When a child is born into this world, he or she is expected to begin walking from a very early age, the sooner, the better. The child is also expected to learn to talk in record time, develop a rich vocabulary, be highly sociable and cute, of course. This last one is a must. Naturally, the child doesn’t know what the expectations are and maybe that’s why early childhood is a mystery to us all.

We can’t regret something we can’t seem to remember.

I’m sure that if we could remember what it felt like to be free, we would resent adulthood (more than we already do).

The pressure is real.

As you start growing up and begin understanding that there is something( or a lot) expected of you, the pressure becomes real. You begin to feel it. You can feel the weight getting heavier and heavier on your shoulders as time goes by.

As a young adult, of course, you try to fight it off. You resent it. You resent being told what to do or what you should do. But up to point. Most of us simply give up and make the weight on our shoulders part of who we are.

Although those expectations are not yours. You don’t want to be doctor, deep down in your heart. And you don’t think that red doesn’t suit you. But you are currently attending medical school and if you think about it, you don’t own any red piece of clothing. So, those expectations are, surprise, surprise, yours, from now on.

And that happens at work when you set the bar too high. Sure, passion will get through at first, but at some point, you need to understand that you are a human being, not a robot. You can be wrong. You can make mistakes. And you will. Accept them. Alter expectations. Move on. But it’s not that easy, is it? That’s the pressure.

The problem with expectations are the side-effects.

It is simple to imagine that the expectations coming from our parents are good. They make us work hard. They make us want to realize great things. After all, is it so bad to be a doctor?

Well, honestly, it is if you don’t want to and if you don’t succeed. Expectations make you work harder, but when something doesn’t function as planned, the disappointment is great and the irony of it all is that you feel bad for not being able to complete a task, a mission, to fulfil a dream which wasn’t even yours, to begin with.

You see, being aware of all the expectations surrounding you, the atmosphere around you becomes stuffier than ever.

You can’t breathe for your life, so being happy for small victories is completely out of the question.

You are always struggling, always trying to become better than you were. Self-improvement is no longer a quality, but a curse, an obsession. You no longer see results. The only two words remaining in your vocabulary are: Not enough. And that is wrong. These are the dreaded side-effects of expectations.

Don’t expect, enjoy!

The point I am trying to make is that expectations, like everything else in life, need to be handled with care. We need to have our own, personal expectations about ourselves, we need to live our lives, dream our dreams and fail in our expectations. If we do that, then disappointment will be simpler to manage and success will be sweet.

Forget expectations. Smile, be happy and live your life. To the fullest.


A world where thoughts run wild

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store