Tag Archives: expectations


By Dr. Barnes Boffey

How many hours in our lives do we spend trying to fulfill expectations others have of us in which we had no part in creating or agreeing to? The answer is simply “too many.”


As children we learn that to be loved and accepted and praised, we need to figure out what is expected of us by parents and others and then act in a way that meets those expectations. We know when we do that because we hear, “Good boy!” or Good girl!” or “I’m really proud of you.” It seems logical. Our teachers and parents and other adults lay out expectations and we are obviously responsible for doing our best to meet those expectations. When we don’t the chorus changes to “I’m really disappointed in you right now.”

The transition to adulthood and both the freedom and responsibility that accompany it is marked by the realization that many of those expectations are unrealistic, self-serving, or simply have nothing to do with the actual people we are becoming. But if we have been waiting for others to create those expectations over all those years, it’s often hard to create our own without feeling we have done something wrong, or that our disappointing others is a sign or ingratitude or disrespect.

Nothing is father from the truth. Our job as children growing into adults is to sort through the expectations of childhood, holding onto those that we want to integrate into our adult lives, and moving beyond those which are no longer useful. As we create our own lives, we also create the expectations against which we want to be judged.

True adults are in short supply. And just because we are ready to participate in the above process does not mean that others will be ready; it does not mean they will let go of their expectations or cease judging us.  It takes a truly courageous decision to begin to create the criteria by which we are willing to be judged and also to gently refuse to be held to expectations which we have not created or agreed to.

“Sweetheart, I know you are mad at me for not going to the store on the way home, but I don’t remember either being asked to or telling you that I would. Your judgment does not feel appropriate in this situation.”

“I know everyone expects me to be the one to talk to grandma about her negativity, but I am no longer willing to accept that role or feel like I have done something wrong when I ask others to share that load.”

In short, I aspire to say that in my personal relationships, I will no longer willingly participate in the process of being judged by criteria and expectations I had no part in creating or agreeing to.”  Easy to say; hard to do!

Expectations or “Acceptations” my life as a bumper car!

By Dr. Ken Larsen

I have noticed a growing awareness of our need to be connected. We need the life that flows within and between us in relationships.   Yet with this growing awareness, I wonder if many of us don’t see this as something that “they” need to deal with. I’m going to suggest that this is something that “we” and “I” need to deal with. I need to learn better ways of touching the lives of others, if not for my sake, then for the sake of the other. Loneliness within our culture has risen to the level of an epidemic. What can I do to help?

Even though we know we need one another for our mental health and happiness, many of us connect with one another about as well as bumper cars connect. We approach, we come close and then we bounce off.

As we choose to come to a place of wanting to make some changes in order to meet our need for love and belonging, we need to have a plan for “what” we can do differently.

One way to change would be to takbumpercare a look at how our expectations of others cause us to withdraw rather than connect.

If I have a mental picture of who you “should” be in relationship to who I want you to be, and then you don’t live up to my expectation, we bounce away. Both parties can sense what is happening. The other sees subtle cues in the ways I express myself in body language, facial expression and in words. There is an awareness that we don’t measure up that may not find itself into consciousness, but it is there.

First of all, this is not fair to one another. How can I possibly be who you want me to be. I can only be me. If you accept me for who I am, and if I accept you for who you are, we can at least avoid bumping off each other and who knows, we might even find something in one another that is good and interesting and that brings us closer to one another.

I’m trying out a new word to express this shift. Instead of “expectations” let’s work on “acceptations.”