How Much Do You Expect From Life And People?


Expectation is a natural human instinct – a child expects attention, love and care. If he doesn’t get the basic care, his expectations don’t end there. He seeks it elsewhere.

Those children who grow up in misery and penury don’t get immune to expectations. Their eyes are always at the sky, anticipating all that they yearn for!

Our expectations flow like a stream that keeps widening as it touches the plains.

The seeds of expectation are nurtured at a very early stage of life by our parents, teachers and friends.

We expect so much from life…we assume our life would be good, virtuous and comfortable.

We hope to be successful with a lot of money; we visualize the home of our dreams, bursting with loving faces and fountains of love and peace all around us.

“We love to expect and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.”—Samuel Johnson

All great thinkers and writers advise: “keep your expectations low” WHY?

This question keeps haunting me – why should we keep our expectations low?

Do we encourage the growing adolescents to aspire low?

Don’t we boost their efforts when we tell them that their goals are achievable?

Life would be so dull and dreary without expectations. Hopes are very closely related to expectations, while we keep our hopes alive, how can we lower our expectations?

How much do we expect?


Do we expect more –Never-idealize-others.-They-will__quotes-by-Leo-Buscaglia-21

  • If we want mutual respect and honesty?
  • If we just want love and affection?
  • If we just want to be heard patiently?
  • If we expect security and kindness?
  • If we wish our children to be well behaved?
  • If we expect them to be focused?
  • If we want them to be happy and successful?


  • To be treated fairly and equally
  • To be respected and understood
  • A positive working environment
  • Trust, empathy and flexibility
  • To be paid well.

Do we expect too much?


While it is essential to set high expectations for students and young aspirants, it may be quite absurd to do so in case of relationships. All relationships cannot be perfect and experience teaches you how much to expect.

Many times we feel let down by the people we love…it is natural human disposition to expect people to be reasonable, to be respectful, to behave in an expected manner.

So it may be very hurting when they are indifferent or don’t reciprocate in a warm and sensitive manner.

Anger, frustration and negative thoughts grip our mind when things don’t work out according to our expectations. Low self-esteem looks us in the eye and challenges us.

While we can’t control the words and behavior of people around us, we can train our mind to tune off and become immune to their reactions.

Don’t let people become a big disappointment of your life. DON’T EXPECT anything from them. Here I would agree with all those erudite thinkers who have warned us against expectations.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”—Alexander Pope.


Lower them. Try to understand that people have their own life and they may be considering you and your needs as their second priority. They might realize their responsibilities towards you if you keep yourself busy elsewhere.

Quit self-enhancement bias. We may consider ourselves as all-important and rightly so but that may not be true in connection with your near and dear ones. Their own self and their work is most important for them.

Redefine your dreams. If your life has revolved around those persons whom you considered all-important, you have to move on. It is the time to fulfill those dreams, for which you never had time. It is the time to expect more from your own self.

Eliminate unrealistic expectations. Have you been mired in such expectations, which could be unrealistic? It is better to discard them before they distress you any further.

Analyze unmet expectations; it is better to let them go. This could be a golden time for self-analysis. When your own people, your dearest friends disappoint you, it is better to smile and move ahead. Probably they are too busy to pay any attention to you.

Work on realistic expectations with renewed fervor; change your perspective. You can be answerable only for your own actions and thoughts.

Abandon toxic and indifferent people. Such people don’t add any significant virtue to your personality. They may be a cause of unwanted, unexpressed heartaches, which can be abdicated without any guilt.

Never try to change people. You can never change the basic traits of a person. If he/she doesn’t understand the warmth of relationships, he never would. It is better to detach yourself from them.

If we expect more from life and less from people, we can have a smooth sailing. I don’t mean to say life will not disappoint us. We know life is an amalgamation of failures and achievements…one step up and one step down and the battles of life continue.

The more the merrier – expectations from life can be infinite because we possess a great potential to deal with life. Only relationships weaken us.

Must read: Why Relationships Go Sour?

What are your expectations? Have they ever disappointed you? I would love to hear your views.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

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19 thoughts on “How Much Do You Expect From Life And People?

  1. Balroop, you write beautifully ! You articulate your thoughts so wonderfully that they leave a deep impact on readers mind.👍

  2. Hi Balroop,

    My husband has always been one of those people that expected less so disappointments weren’t as heartbreaking as someone like me who always had higher expectations of people and situations. But I’ve learned to think more like my husband 🙂

    I do think expectation has a lot to do with being realistic. I also think the older we get the wiser we are and wisdom gives us more of a clear picture of reality.

    Love this post and thank you for the thoughtful journey.


    1. Hi Liz,

      Welcome! I am glad that you liked this post. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

      Yep, lesser expectations make our life more peaceful as we don’t keep looking forward to help or affection from those quarters, which drift away or no longer care for us. Such a situation comes in the life of most of the people, some accept it calmly whereas emotional people take a longer time to reconcile. But the reality is that we all have to face it eventually.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, it is greatly appreciated.

  3. My aunt brought this topic into my life a long time ago and she’s always been spot on about a great many things in life. Lowering expectations has definitely brought much lower stress. I agree with that 100%!!! However, I will tell you that I battle with it daily so it’s a huge life hurdle for me to overcome. Really good post, Balroop! We hope you’re having a great day and weekend 🙂

    1. Hi Mike,

      You are right, all of us have to battle with expectations everyday at all stages of life. Once we accept that certain changes are inevitable…we have to make new pathways to leave those hurdles aside, life becomes easier.
      Thanks for those kind words, they mean a lot to me. You too have a nice weekend.

  4. Hi Balroop! I do agree that expectations can be a huge cause of problems in one’s life. But I also believe that intentionality is important. What I find is that by setting intentions, and then surrendering to whatever happens works best for me. It isn’t necessarily the expectation that gets me into trouble, it is my attachment to the expectation that causes all my pain. As I said, if I can be okay with what happens knowing that it is all working out for me in the best way possible for my higher good, then I am usually okay. Still, it is VERY important to stay mindful about that! Thanks for the reminders! `Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Yes, intentions do play a huge role in managing the thorny issues and wisdom lies in surrendering, no doubt! Attachment is bigger than expectations because the latter can be abandoned whenever you feel they are unrealistic but the former tug at our heart so closely that a part of it gets torn when we try to detach. I know the pain of detachment lingers on even when you convince yourself that your nest is empty, you know this is the way of the world but your heart refuses to let go.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, it is really valued! Have a nice, long weekend!

  5. Expectations can be good and bad, depending of their effects. Sometimes they motivate and provide good boundaries. And other times, they cause so many problems! Such a hard topic to write about since they are so funky!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      I have a very clear view of expectations. If they concern our own self, our dreams and life, they are very motivating. They give a boost to our endeavours but if they are connected with people – our own near and dear ones, our loving friends – they could disappoint.

      Yes! it was hard to write on this topic. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your loving support.

  6. Your post reminds me of how much I need to stop expecting things from my mother, namely expecting her to be the type of mother she’s never going to be. Ack, and I’m saying this even as I near forty years of age… Someday I will learn how to let go.

    1. Hi Jeri,

      We can never make a person do what we want, we can never make them change for our sake…the behavior is very hard to change! The sooner we accept this, the better we become as persons. I know, this letting go feeling keeps us reminding the harsh realities.
      Thanks for sharing a personal memory. Your presence is greatly valued here.

  7. I def. have expectations of the people I love and they have expectations of me…
    but the truest friends love you unconditionally, even thru your many flaws. These are the people I hold onto!
    Great Post! x

    1. Thanks Kim, I am so pleased to know that you have such reliable and true persons around you. May you stay blessed.
      Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate them.

  8. Hi Balroop,

    As I was reading this post I kept thinking of a quote from Abraham-Hicks so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here:

    “The emotion you feel is always about the vibrational variance between where you want to be and where you are. If you’re out of balance, there are only two ways to bring yourself into alignment: Either raise your expectation to match your desire—or lower your desire to match your expectation.”

    I kept thinking about this quote which basically means that if you want something you have to expect that it will. I totally agree with this as well.

    You do write beautifully, thank you for this message.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      There is a very thin line between desires and expectations. While desires involve our own efforts and us; expectations are connected with other people or the circumstances. Sometimes we can’t change others according to our desires. We must have desires but we should also have the resilience to face their non-fulfillment, whenever that situation arises.

      I like your choice of the quote and its inspiring tone. Thanks for adding your perspective. I appreciate it.

  9. Hello Ms. Balroop
    I trust you are well.
    I have to agree, you write beautifully.
    One of the lessons I have learned is to place expectations on me and not others.

    Sometimes we have expectations of others, and when the expected is not provided, the let down takes place.

    I raise the bar on myself and not others.

    You have such a grace to put words together 😄

    Thank you

    1. Hi Gladys,

      Thanks for your kind words. You have picked up the gist of this article SO well! Yes, it is good to place all your expectations on yourself…it adds to our happiness and serenity of mind, which is our goal.

      Thank you for the visit, I value it immensely.

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