How Do Expectations Make Us Unhappy?

How Do Expectations Make Us Unhappy?

Many of us believe that expectations help us get the most from our relationships, career, children, and even from ourselves. However, recent researches have revealed that people with low expectations are happier than the people with higher ones. We cannot move forward until we drop high expectations. It happens because when we are too attached to our demands we become so stressed that we actually cannot achieve our goals. We simply get drained and exhausted by too many demands, struggling to live up to high standards. On the other hand, people who cope better with ordinary life show better life skills. They tolerate better boredom in marriage and career, not expecting to feel continuously joyful and fulfilled. They simply accept life as it is. Only from that point we can move further and go with the flow. To learn more about how do expectations make us unhappy, the article “The Expectations Trap” gives us the following explanation.

How Do Expectations Make Us Unhappy?

With general affluence has come a plethora of choices, including constant choices about our personal and family life. Even marriage itself is now a choice. “The result is an ongoing self-appraisal of how your personal life is going, like having a continual readout of your emotional heart rate,” says Cherlin. You get used to the idea of always making choices to improve your happiness.

The heightened focus on options “creates a heightened sensitivity to problems that arise in intimate relationships.” And negative emotions get priority processing in our brains. “There are so many opportunities to decide that it’s unsatisfactory,” says Cherlin.

It would be one thing if we were living more satisfied lives than ever. But just gauging by the number of relationships wrecked every year, we’re less satisfied, says Cherlin. “We’re carrying over into our personal lives the fast pace of decisions and actions we have everywhere else, and that may not be for the best.” More than ever, we’re paying attention to the most volatile parts of our emotional makeup—the parts that are too reactive to momentary events to give meaning to life.

Because our intimate relationships are now almost wholly vehicles for meeting our emotional needs, and with almost all our emotions invested in one relationship, we tend to look upon any unhappiness we experience—whatever the source—as a failure of a partner to satisfy our longings. Disappointment inevitably feels so personal we see no other possibility but to hunt for individual psychological reasons—that is, to blame our partners for our own unhappiness.

Additionally, psychologists have identified three types of expectations of chronically unhappy people. Namely, unhappy people expect the best from themselves, they expect the best from their significant one and from other people and expect the best from life. They usually have the attitude that bad things should not happen to them. They are not resilient to life difficulties and their stress level is high. For that reason, experts recommend keeping our expectations realistic and being aware of unconscious perfectionism. Our culture is a culture of perfectionists and many of us are unhappy because of high expectations of our society. Therefore, we can benefit from occasional reflecting about our demands and quests. We may become aware of the great social pressure to have it all. When we drop off unnecessary demands and realize how expectations make us unhappy, we will be more content and happy.

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