Expectations Are Poisonous to Our Mental Health

Most of us are familiar with the classic Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s a story about a princess who is searching for her true love and the obstacles she encounters at the hands of the antagonist, the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen expects to hold the title of the “fairest in the land” by tricking Snow White into eating a poisonous apple. Truthfully, we all hope to be Snow White and have our expectations met.  However, even fairytales have shown us how hard that can be.

Sometimes, it is easy to have our expectations met because we are trying to accomplish something. We can set ourselves up to achieve the goal by writing it down, working on it a little at a time, and succeeding (or failing) based on how much we value the goal. But what happens when the Universe just says no? Just yesterday, I had some goals I wanted to accomplish.  I had planned on running some errands, maybe doing some grocery shopping and getting some housework done. Unfortunately for me, life didn’t see the day as I did. I had hoped to get the errands done early but instead, my expectations disintegrated when I ran into quite an annoying snag on a phone call. The phone call took a lot more time and brain power than was needed. I wanted to get out of the house by a certain time, but that wasn’t happening. I let the phone call ruin my day.

Why do we have expectations in the first place? Is it because we want to experience what we believe or hope for? The law of detachment says to allow things to be as they are. But how often do we do this? I know I don’t do it as much as I should. I ended up feeling disappointed because the Universe wasn’t in agreement with the plan in my head. Perhaps the older we get, the more we need to understand why it’s so important not to have expectations. Not everyone has the same plan that you do. Often at the end of the waiting game, if we choose to just “go with the flow” we don’t end up feeling negative at all. Yes, those feelings of disappointment are a fact of life sometimes. But they don’t need to be how we feel permanently. Simply, the less we expect disappointment the easier life is.

The best way in overcoming the anticipation of always expecting your goals to be met is to just accomplish what you can. It’s not to say others don’t (and won’t) help with the accountability. Just be on the same page when you ask for their help. Don’t let your best friend drag you down because she didn’t want to help with the cookie project you wanted done. On a Friday night. At 6:00 p.m. Agree on how you want to accomplish your goals and stick to it. If by making a plan, you meet your goal, great! But expectations can feel like it’s the end of the world when they aren’t met. It’s not. The prince did not give up on Snow White when he found his true love. He fought for her by defeating the Evil Queen. How would the Disney story be today had he not? Expectations are poisonous to our health, but only if we let them be.

Have you struggled with your expectations of how something should be?