As We Move Forward: Expectations


At every point in our lives, we are faced with expectations. As life begins, our expectations are that every need or desire will be satisfied—instantly. As we grow, our expectations still focus on basic needs such as shelter, food and safety, among others. Expectations become mutual as our lives develop through our various relationships. Our families have certain expectations, which can vary depending on whether the current relationship is with parents, siblings, or members of our extended family.

We develop the expectations we have of others at the same time we are forming our patterns of responding to the various expectations others have of us. While there are many different responses to the ever increasing number of expectations in our growing number of relationships, we do develop certain styles of response to the expectations of others.

It is normal to treat family members with love and respect. It is also normal to respond with emotions like fear when we are not treated well. How we handle these expectations that are other than normal has a lot to do with the personality’s was styles we develop as we grow up. If we have positive initial experiences like family and school, it usually means our expectations for these settings will be positive.

Every relationship we experience carries these mutual expectations. Understanding the various expectations we encounter and developing appropriate responses to the expectations of others goes a long way to determining how we do in establishing and maintaining healthy relationships in all areas of our lives.

As we move forward, it can be helpful to understand the expectations that are part of our various relationships. It can be helpful to look at a few of your more important relationships. What expectations do you have for the people in your personal relationships? What expectations do they have for you? How about work? Asking these questions can be very valuable in experiencing the most productive and rewarding relationships we are  capable of.


As we move forward, let’s remember we cannot control the expectations others have of us. With understanding we can modify our expectations when necessary to achieve lasting, positive relationships. As in many things, satisfaction often begins with understanding.

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