Realistic ‘Expectations’

31 July 22

Expectations can be very helpful for ‘envisioning’ one’s future. However, ‘UNREALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS can ‘destroy’ relationships and make one arrogant, cynical, and angry.

INTRODUCTION
Last month I discussed that although anger can be a ‘good’ thing, most of the time it is not. The thing is, it really depends on ‘what’ the anger is all about and ‘who’ it is directed to.

I also noted that a family member was kind of a “Debby Downer,” mostly negative and pessimistic. He was constantly bringing up the bad or depressing aspects of life and what had ‘happened’ to him over the years (although there were times when he actually did enjoy life and time with a long-time friend). He had a prejudiced, cynical, and unrealistic view of the world and, in his words, was “‘MAD’ at the world.”

The thing is, he had very UNREALISTIC ‘expectations’ for how the ‘world’ should treat him, how other people should treat him, and even how God should treat him. All of these expectations created a profound ‘depression’ that affected his ‘mindset’ and ALL of his relationships. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.”

[ VIDEO: “The Danger of Expectations” ]

We all have our own desires and agendas. We want to do what we think is in our own best interest. However, if we expect other people to act in ways that are not consistent with their own interests, they will probably resist our expectations, leaving us resentful of them. (Furthermore, the person is likely to resent you, too.) After all, how do you feel when people expect you to do things that are inconsistent with your own goals and values?

So, it is suggested that one should ‘let go’ of their expectations and find something to be grateful for—even when things do not turn out the way they hoped, they will experience serenity rather than resentment.

Expectations in a relationship are only a good thing until they are reasonable and fair—something my family member didn’t ‘possess’ and that just might have been their ‘issue’ with everyone, including God.


<<< SUMMARY >>>

The following is a collection of ‘snippets’ from the post that aims to give you the overall ‘jest’ of this post.
[ 10-15 Minute Read ].


‘WHAT’ ARE EXPECTATIONS?
By definition, expectations are purely ‘conjecture’ about what the future might hold—beliefs that a certain outcome or event will happen—based upon strongly held assumptions.

Expectations are present in our day-to-day living, ‘stalking’ us with its burden of illusions and pretensions. But, when they are not fulfilled—something that happens often—one falls into the ‘hole’ of frustration and disappointment (As did my family member). That is why it is essential to understand the mental ‘limits’ expectations. In fact, expectations are developed from a complex combination of our experiences, desires, and knowledge of the environment or the people around us.

Expectations can vary from a small possibility of occurrence to an almost certain occurrence. Some expectations have an ‘automatic’ character since they are fundamentally fueled by our desires, illusions, and beliefs—so we ‘feed’ them without being fully aware of their origin and without contrasting how realistic they are. Other expectations have a more ‘reflexive’ character since they start from a process of analysis of the different factors involved, so they tend to be more realistic and come to fruition more often.
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Expectations encompass all areas of our lives—work, relationships, and ‘things’ one gets involved with. They play a major part in how our goals and general life direction are formed. They are how one ‘envisions’ their future.

So, what are some realistic (healthy) expectations we should have in our relationships?

– To be treated respectfully
– To have a partner who is caring, supportive, loyal
– To share common interests (not all)
– o compromise and negotiate when problems arise
– To feel safe, secure
– To respect personal feelings
– To be trustworthy and honest with each other
– To be empathetic or sympathetic
– To be connected/close, more often than not
– To have a satisfying sexual relationship
– To be emotionally and physically faithful
– To not abuse alcohol or drugs
– To feel like best friends
———
The ‘problem’ with expectations occurs when we expect something to happen without good reasons for that expectation. If I believe that my expectations alone will bring me what I want, I am using ‘magical’ thinking and setting myself up for a ‘fall’. This is really obvious when talking about my morning tea. I can’t make a cup of tea just by ‘thinking’ it into existence—I have to take the necessary steps to make it happen. I have to boil the water, put the loose tea in the infuser basket, and put it and the water into the steeper—then wait three to five minutes. Just expecting my cup of tea to ‘appear’ is delusional.

This is less obvious when our expectations involve other people. Most of us are sane enough to realize that expecting a cup of tea to materialize from our thoughts is unrealistic. Yet, many of us, at some point, have mistakenly believed that expecting other people to behave the way we want will actually make them behave that way. For example, one member of a couple might expect the other to make the tea. This is fine and good if the other person is happy to do so. But what happens if the other person has no interest in living up to that expectation? We feel shocked, morally indignant, and resentful. Expectations then become PREMEDITATED ‘RESENTMENTS’.
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The thing is, we ALL have our own desires and agendas. We want to do what we think is in our own best interest. If we expect other people to act in ways that are not consistent with their own interests, they will probably resist our expectations, leaving us resentful of them. (Furthermore, the person is likely to resent you, too.) After all, how do you feel when people expect you to do things that are inconsistent with your own goals and values?

So, it is suggested that one should ‘let go’ of their expectations and find something to be grateful for—even when things do not turn out the way they hoped, and they will experience serenity rather than resentment.

‘UNREALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS
We all wish to have a relationship that is tailored to our liking. We all know people who spent their lives seeking that perfect someone who can meet their expectations. The thing is, we all picked up many unrealistic expectations from romantic movies and TV shows, where they convince us of what we ‘deserve’ in a relationship.

The truth is, no relationship is perfect. We can, however, make our relationship more fulfilling and exciting. A good relationship requires effort, hard work, and dedication from both partners. Unrealistic expectations for relationships often cause unpleasantness, arguments, and chaos in a relationship. So, here are some unrealistic relationship expectations you should avoid if you want to have a ‘good’ relationship with someone close to you:

– They Will Always Support Everything You Do
– The Will Always Say The Right Thing
– There Will Never Be An Argument Or Disagreement
– Everything Will Always Go Smoothly
– They Will Always Understand Your Feelings
———
This type of thinking may seem delusional—and it is—but we have all ‘fed’ it in certain circumstances every time one has unrealistic expectations such as:
[ more… ]
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It is CRITICAL to identify what your specific ‘fundamental’ needs are. Without these, you may yearn for basic relationship necessities that grant you a sense of connection and security, which is imperative in intimate relationships. As you explore what these needs are, the following points may help guide your internal reflection.

– Differences Are Expected In A Loving Relationship
– Individuals And Relationships Change Over Time
– Relationships May Not Provide Unconditional Love
– Your Partner May Or May Not Change As You Wish They Would
———
So, here are some ways that you can deal with these expectations in a relationship:

– Practice Assertiveness
– Communication Is Key
– Define Your Limits
– Find A ‘Middle-ground’
– Don’t Expect At All
– Honesty Is The Best Policy
– Give It Time
———
Expectations in a relationship are only a good thing until they are reasonable and fair.

Priorities change as a relationship grows and people grow with them. With time, one will need to ‘recalibrate’ their expectations in a relationship.

Life is forever in flux and forever changing, so if you want to build a stronger bond full of trust, look inward and do a relationship ‘check-up’ to find out if your expectations are too low or too high.

‘MANAGING’ EXPECTATIONS
Now, getting expectations ‘under control’ is complicated. The good news is that it is not necessary to banish them from our mental world, but one needs to learn to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic expectations.

So, after one has identified their needs and realistic expectations, how do they effectively ‘communicate’ these to their partner? Well, here are six skills for constructive conflict management:

– Soften The Start Of Your Conversation
– Complain, But Don’t Blame
– Use “I” Statements
– Describe What Is Happening, But Try Not To Judge
– Be Polite And Appreciative
– Don’t Hold Things In

Since one’s partner can’t read their mind, then they need to share their thoughts and feelings with them. They will not be able to attend to their needs if they are not aware of them, and holding things in without addressing them breeds resentment, which then can lead to even further dissatisfaction.

The advantages of mastering one’s expectations are:

– Taking Responsibility For Your Decisions
– Separating Your Desires From Your ‘Duties’
– Enjoying More Of The Present
– Properly Adjusting Your Expectations
– Controlling The Expectant Mind
– Differentiating Realistic Expectations From Unrealistic Ones
– Communicating Your Expectations
– Preparing A ‘Plan B’

MANAGING ‘OTHERS’ EXPECTATIONS
A bit more difficult than managing our own expectations is managing other people’s expectations of us. But you can do it, and it is absolutely worth investing your time and energy to do so. How? Well, by being proactive in these key areas:
[ more… ]

‘SOCIETAL’ EXPECTATIONS
Society lives and breathes expectations. The problem is that no one can be who we want them to be.

We can expect things like respect from others, but if we base how we feel on whether we get what we expect, we set ourselves up for disappointment. This will allow us to experience less anxiety, less stress, frustration, anger, depression, and other negative emotions.
———
Life is a journey, and each person is on a different ‘path’—with different thoughts, feelings, experiences, and spirituality.

So, ask yourself if you have been expecting things from others or expecting them to be someone they are not. Then, can you ‘detach’ from expectations and manage your own feelings and moods regardless of what others say or do?

LEARNING TO ‘ACCEPT’
Learning to accept what ‘is’ rather than what ‘should be’ will make you MUCH happier about life and other people.

It is a ‘paradox’ that can be sometimes hard to grasp. Only by accepting “A” are we able to move to “B,” and only by practicing this day-by-day can we start to experience and understand the freedom in letting go of unrealistic expectations and embracing gratitude and the present. It doesn’t suddenly make the ‘gap’ between what you have and what you want disappear, but it does allow you to regain your happiness.

Renowned clinical psychologist, Dr. Ellis strongly encouraged people to stop “musting,” and “shoulding” themselves and others (i.e., to change “musts” and “shoulds” into preferences and desires rather than hold onto them as imperatives). When you learn to let go of your unrealistic expectations, an ‘open road’ unfolds right in front of you. One full of new possibilities, ready and waiting for you to create your own ‘path’.
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Overcoming expectations in a relationship starts with understanding what constitutes a quality partnership. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “There are 10 cardinal rules of love.”:

– Prioritize Appreciation Over Expectations
– Express Compassion
– Show Respect
– Demonstrate Consideration
– Devote Time To Your Partner
– Never Question The Nature Of Your Relationship
– Avoid Repetition
– Never Threaten Your Relationship
– Don’t Stagnate
– Don’t Compare Your Relationship To Others’ Relationships

[ Note: Detailed explanations of each of Robbins’ cardinal rules are in the “Articles” section below ].

EXPECTATIONS OF ‘GOD’
So, what can one expect from a ‘relationship’ with God? Well, developing a relationship based off ‘reasonable’ expectations will definitely help one’s faith to ‘FLOURISH’.

As was said previously, when one enters into a relationship with someone, they have some general expectations. As one shows that they are genuinely invested in the relationship, they can anticipate that the person will give them certain ‘things’ in return. Honesty and care are just some of the few ‘reasonable’ expectations that one might have in a relationship.

Sometimes, however, one creates expectations that are ‘unreasonable’, demanding, or rash. They begin to think that the other person might ‘owe’ them more, or hope that they will give them more than they are able to. When the person doesn’t fulfill these desires, one might feel frustrated, angry, or disappointed. In turn, it can make the person feel less-than, inadequate, and frustrated as well. So, as was said, adjusting one’s expectations to be realistic is important in keeping relationships healthy and thriving.

So then, when one decides to build a relationship with God, they might do so with a ‘list’ of expectations. Some of their expectations may be unrealistic, which causes a ‘breakdown’ in their relationship with Him. Instead, by adjusting what one expects out of the relationship, they are given an opportunity to grow in their faith, build trust with Him, and reap the benefits of living a Christian life.

So, here are some things that the Bible says one CAN ‘EXPECT’ from God:
[ more… ]

WHEN GOD DOESN’T ‘MEET’ ONE’S EXPECTATIONS
Now, you may have begun to process how your expectations of God can influence your relationship with Him. This may not always be negative, but when we allow our unmet expectations of God to influence our willingness to surrender our lives to Him, we can run into a serious problem.

As I mentioned, the saying goes, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” Yet expectations accumulate like stains on a white couch, appearing without us noticing when or from where they originated.
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When resentment reigns in one’s ‘heart’, faith can’t thrive in their soul until the emergence of ‘something’ more powerful.
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Like those early followers of Jesus, many ‘walk’ away today because Jesus doesn’t meet their expectations for their suffering, the direction of their life, answers to prayer, or countless other expectations. HOWEVER, those who do stay ‘connected’ do so because they had experienced a ‘transformation’ in their life and in their so-called ‘DISAPPOINTMENTS’.
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As has been said, expectations mimic control, and when we hold on to our own expectations—rather than God’s—we get ourselves in ‘trouble’.

‘RESTING’ FROM EXPECTATIONS
Jesus taught: “Do not be anxious for your life.” God WILL provide, period. If He can take care of the birds—and He does—then He can take care of humans. So, ask yourself if the birds have ‘expectations’ I doubt it. They just live moment-to-moment in reliance on God.

So, do you expect God to heal you physically, always protect you from harm and give you what you want, when you want it? If so, you are setting yourself up for much disappointment. The thing is, He probably has other plans for you than meeting ‘YOUR’ expectations, which will, no doubt, be better than want you wanted (2 Corinthians 9:8).
[ more… ]

‘UNREALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS OF GOD
Even though God has given humanity His Word, filled with promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), when one thinks they know what is best for them, and He doesn’t give them what they ask for, they may feel abandoned, hurt, and sometimes downright anger and frustration. This is where I desperately need a ‘reality check’.

When one expects God to perform like a ‘genie’—waiting at the ready to produce whatever they think they need—they completely miss out on the joy and fulfillment of intimacy with Him.

When was the last time you ‘spouted off’ a list of wants and needs to your closest friend, which was immediately provided by them? Was the result a ‘deepened’ friendship with them? Not likely. ‘Demands’ don’t work in a true relationship, regardless of with whom you expect them from (sometimes, even from yourself!).
[ more… ]

‘UNFULFILLED’ EXPECTATIONS
Often, the believer expects that if they believe and live correctly, they will have great marriages, healthy bank balances, well-balanced children, and freedom from major problems. Now, the thing is, the believer SHOULD ‘know better’—since Jesus said they would be “persecuted” (John 15:18)—but they still ‘lean’ on the side of expecting blessing for obedience. (Even the Apostle Paul reinforced the persecution message to his protégé Timothy: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12)

The truth is, believers do have expectations of God, and sometimes, He ‘fails’ (in their eyes) those expectations.

Just know this, the believer is NOT ‘ALONE’ in their expectations. Do you remember that John the Baptist struggled with his own preaching?
[ more… ]

OUR ‘GOD-SIZED’ DISAPPOINTMENTS
When one finds themselves most disappointed with life, it is not because something in life has failed us, it is rather that our expectations of what life “ought to be” have failed us. Or understood a different way, when we find ourselves most disappointed with God, He HAS NOT failed us, but our ‘expectations’ of Him have failed us.

[ Warning: We should always hesitate to assume the Gospel doesn’t “work” when we simply cannot see the big picture (that God sees). ]
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So, trusting God to lead you through the peaks and valleys will relieve you of a lot of stress. When one focuses on God and not the challenges in front of them, their ‘perspective’ shifts. Expecting the unexpected WILL give you SO MUCH ‘freedom’! “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in You” [ Isaiah 26:3 ].

‘RELYING’ ON GOD
The question is, do you trust Him to keep you safe on your journey? Do you trust Him enough to hand over your unmet expectations that weigh you down like a rock in your ‘backpack’? Well, regardless of if your disappointments are minor or grieve you deeply, God WILL BE with you every ‘step’ of the way!

So here is another question for you: Do you want a life that is safe, predictable, and goes by the book, or do you want a story that ‘pushes’ you to rely on God?
[ more… ]

‘UNDERMINING’ ONE’S JOY
Most people intuitively know that our expectations profoundly affect our life experiences. Yet even as believers, we sometimes expect too much.

So, here are a few ‘FALSE’ EXPECTATIONS that are not grounded in Scripture and undermine one’s ’true’ joy:
[ more… ]

HOWEVER, the ‘granddaddy’ of unrealistic expectations is:

– Remove All Pain And Suffering From One’s Life
This is really the ‘BOTTOM LINE’ issue for most problems with our understanding of God, the age-old difficult question, “How can a good and loving God allow pain and suffering?” [ This is the question that my family member asked me (in last’s month’s post). ]
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We all have a hard time imagining how God can bring good out of evil, and especially out of OUR pain. Just know that God IS GOOD, loving, and your (and my) inability to see how He will make it all okay, in the end, does not affect whether it is true or not!

The reason our expectations of God are so often unrealistic is because He is so much bigger, so much more glorious, so much more loving, and so much more in control, than we can possibly comprehend. So, may you grow in your understanding as He continues to prove Himself faithful and good—in everything you expect!

WRAP-UP
Expectations refer to the beliefs that you hold about the outcomes of events. While these expectations can play an important role in determining what happens and can contribute to goal-directed behavior, they can also lead to disappointment when reality does not match up to what you had hoped would happen.

Some of the common signs that you might ‘hold’ expectations include:

– Anticipating A Certain Outcome
– Holding A Vision In Your Mind Of How Things Will Play Out
– Having A Set Idea Of What You Want Or Need From A Situation

When expectations are not met, it can lead to feelings of disappointment, frustration, and even anger (As was the case for my family member).
[ more… ]

REALISTIC ‘VS’ UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
So, what are the reasonable and unreasonable expectations in a relationship? Well, first off, it is normal for your expectations to be different from your partner’s.
In a relationship, each partner brings a bounty of experiences, new perspectives, and values. One may prioritize some expectations more than their partner or the expectations may differ based on their individual experiences prior to entering the relationship.

So, consider what ‘informs’ one’s expectations. Could their expectations be based on their prior relationships or the relationship they have with themselves and their ability to meet their needs? Some expectations may be harder to meet or understand than others. Communicating about these differences and being realistic about expectations that may be more difficult to meet can foster a healthy relationship. Even for couples that have been together for years, it is unrealistic to assume that our partner knows all our needs and wants and, therefore, our expectations.

Clear expectations can help preserve a sense of stability and reliability as you navigate stressful situations together.
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The relationship expectations listed below can help you evaluate and guide a discussion with your partner if you find that some of these are missing from your current relationship:

– Mutual Trust In Each Other
– Equal Commitment To The Relationship
– Shared Affection And Appreciation
– Empathy Towards Experiences And Emotions
– Friendship And Admiration In The Relationship
– Mutual Understanding And Compromise
– Respect For Differences
– Quality Time
[ more… ]

‘CLINGING’ TO UMET EXPECTATIONS
How often do things in our lives go ‘exactly’ as we planned? (Even a run to the grocery store never turns out to be quite as we imagined.) The thing is, many of us plan out every ‘nuance’ and run through every imaginable scenario in their mind trying to create expectations as a way to feel in control of those situations. The reality is this: We all have LITTLE or no control over any of it! What will happen is going to happen regardless of how well we have planned, and worrying about the future only causes anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong: planning IS a good thing. It is beneficial to be organized and to have certain things planned out. For example, it is helpful to make plans such as making restaurant reservations and sending invitations for your child’s birthday party. However, when we set expectations of how that party should turn out and who should show up, we set ourselves up for disappointment. We are not doing ourselves any favors when we ‘cling’ to those unmet expectations.
[ more… ]

HOW TO ‘CONTROL’ EXPECTATIONS
When your expectations outpace reality, it often means you DON’T ‘APPRECIATE’ what you do have. Instead, you may find yourself expecting more or comparing what you do have to what you don’t have.

For example, one study found that participants who were exposed to a subliminal reminder of wealth spent less time savoring a chocolate bar and exhibited less enjoyment of the experience than other subjects who were not reminded of wealth.

Gratitude is all about appreciating the things you do have instead of lamenting the things that you don’t have. Research has found that practicing gratitude and working actively savor the moment can have a positive effect on subjective well-being and happiness.
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People are surprisingly bad at predicting what will make them happy. This means that one’s expectations might cause them to think that achieving certain goals will bring them joy and contentment, but because these predictions are often wrong, they just might pursue the wrong goals.

Their expectations for their lives may be unrealistic and skewed based on what they think others have. (Remember that all of our perspectives of what others have is limited and biased.)

So, if one finds that their expectations are not being met, it is important to take a step back and assess the situation and try to understand why it happened and what they can do differently in the future. (Remember that expectations are just beliefs—they are not always reality.)

BELIEVERS HAVING ‘REALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS
William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache,” and that is good advice! We need to have ‘realistic’ expectations of what our life will be like as a believer. People who expect one thing and receive something different often become disillusioned and give up—something a ‘real’ believer must never do!

Many Christians ‘fall away’ because Christianity does not turn out to be what they thought when they originally made their commitment. They think that after they became a Christian, “Okay, everything is going to be better from here on out!” HOWEVER, that IS NOT a promise of God! [ The thing is, Jesus actually mentions it will be the opposite of that—persecution (John 15:18) ].
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God never ‘promised’ to give us our reward(s) in this life, though some believers do experience some of them here. However, He DOES promise to reward us in the NEXT ‘LIFE’ (“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” Revelation 22:12). The thing is, we want and expect both, but that IS NOT the arranged ’deal’—which causes ‘unnecessary’ disappointment.
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SO, go for it! Develop some expectations that ‘push’ your capabilities beyond what you are comfortable with, but don’t ‘pin’ ALL your hopes on those plans—leave ‘room’ for God to ‘redirect’ you in a BETTER ‘WAY’! Motivational speaker Denis Waitley well said: “Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

Then, don’t let unrealized expectations ‘crush’ your spirit and ‘poison’ your attitude toward other people—and especially God! Be appreciative for what you have and anticipate what God just may provide in the future—especially for your salvation if you are not yet a believer!

As a believer, you need to TRUST God for what he deems the best for you and be PATIENT for ‘when’ it be fulfilled. This REDUCES ‘ANXIETY’ (Philippians 4.6-7) and provides the ‘BEST’ LIFE you could even imagine here on earth—having excitement for all the ‘good’ you will experience that you could have NEVER ‘IMAGINED’!: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose [ Romans 8:28 ].

So, don’t let your ‘unrealistic’ expectations ‘ROB’ you of fully appreciating the ‘PEACE’ of realistic expectations—ESPECIALLY when it comes to ’evaluating’ God’s sovereign plans for you!

Getting ‘MAD’ at God for not fulfilling ‘your’ expectations is a waste of time and will just ‘delay’ the BEST He has for you!

<<< END OF SUMMARY >>>


<<< ALL THE DETAILS >>>

The following is a comprehensive presentation of the topic that follows the ‘headings’ laid out in the Summary.


‘WHAT’ ARE EXPECTATIONS?
By definition, expectations are purely ‘conjecture’ about what the future might hold—beliefs that a certain outcome or event will happen—based upon strongly held assumptions.

Expectations are present in our day-to-day living, ‘stalking’ us with its burden of illusions and pretensions. But, when they are not fulfilled—something that happens often—one falls into the ‘hole’ of frustration and disappointment (As did my family member). That is why it is essential to understand the mental ‘limits’ expectations. In fact, expectations are developed from a complex combination of our experiences, desires, and knowledge of the environment or the people around us.

Expectations can vary from a small possibility of occurrence to an almost certain occurrence. Some expectations have an ‘automatic’ character since they are fundamentally fueled by our desires, illusions, and beliefs—so we ‘feed’ them without being fully aware of their origin and without contrasting how realistic they are. Other expectations have a more ‘reflexive’ character since they start from a process of analysis of the different factors involved, so they tend to be more realistic and come to fruition more often.

So, the main ‘function’ of expectations is to prepare for action. If one mentally anticipates what may happen, they can prepare an action plan so that ‘life’ does not take them by surprise. Expectations, therefore, help them prepare ‘mentally’ for the future.

In fact, most of our decisions are not based solely on objective data—as we like to believe—but on the expectations, we have about the results of those decisions. That means that every decision is, in a way, an act of ‘faith’. Behind every decision lies the confidence that our expectations about the consequences of our choice will occur.

Expectations encompass all areas of our lives—work, relationships, and ‘things’ one gets involved with. They play a major part in how our goals and general life direction are formed. They are how one ‘envisions’ their future.

So, what are some realistic (healthy) expectations we should have in our relationships?

– To be treated respectfully
– To have a partner who is caring, supportive, loyal
– To share common interests (not all)
– o compromise and negotiate when problems arise
– To feel safe, secure
– To respect personal feelings
– To be trustworthy and honest with each other
– To be empathetic or sympathetic
– To be connected/close, more often than not
– To have a satisfying sexual relationship
– To be emotionally and physically faithful
– To not abuse alcohol or drugs
– To feel like best friends

Specifically, that are some ‘major’ expectations one should have in their relationships:

– We All Have Expectations
Part of our enjoyment of any given activity is its anticipation, and the picture in your head that forms around the anticipation is your expectation. Our past experiences, hopes, and dreams can be a major part of forming our expectations, as well.

– They Can Be Conscious Or Unconscious
When you think you don’t have any particular expectations is probably because they are unconscious—unknown to, or unrealized by you. If they are unconscious, you might not understand why you suddenly experience a negative emotion for no apparent reason. However, if they are conscious, one is less likely to be caught by surprise when they are not fulfilled.

– They Can Be Reasonable Or Unreasonable
A reasonable expectation is one that is based in fact, and not just on one’s hopes or wishes. If your expectations are unreasonable, you will continually have them frustrated, since they most likely will not be met. If expectations are examined and found to be unreasonable, they can always be readjusted.

– They Can Be Stated Or Unstated
When we are aware of them, it is a good idea to tell the people they will affect what our expectations are. We can’t produce what we don’t know is expected of us.

– They Can Cause Problems When Not Met/Conflict With Others’ Expectations
When they are unconscious, unreasonable, or unstated, our expectations are more likely to go unmet, and result in misunderstanding, conflict, and anger. When we are careful to discover our expectations, determine whether or not they are reasonable, and let others know what they are, we can often avoid what can sometimes feel like ‘surprise attacks’ and/or damage to relationships.

– When Conscious, Reasonable, And Stated, They Can Be Motivating
In every relationship that is clearly stated, reasonable expectations become goals others can aim for. Generally, other people close to us want to please us. When they understand what we expect from them, they know what to try to achieve, don’t have to waste time and effort trying to figure it out, and enjoy our thanks rather than our disappointment.

Young children have difficulty distinguishing between the subjective world they create in their mind and the external, objective world. They often believe that their thoughts can make things happen, a phenomenon called “magical thinking” (which is usually overcome around 7 years of age). However, the truth is that some adults continue to have different forms of magical thinking. Many people find it difficult to abandon the idea that waiting for something to happen will make it possible, an idea on which are based on ‘theories’ like the famous “Law of Attraction.”

In addition, many tend to place their hopes of ‘happiness’ on the expectations fulfilled. That is, they believe that they will be happy if what they expect or desire is fulfilled. Then, if it does not happen, they become deeply unhappy and even ‘clinically’ depressed (As was my family member). That kind of thinking postpones happiness, subordinating it to a probability.

However, expectations are not necessarily negative, as long as one has a good reason to believe that meeting an expectation will make them happy, and make sure they take the necessary steps to ensure that those wishes are fulfilled.

The ‘real’ problem with expectations lies in waiting for something to happen without good reasons. If one believes that simply harboring certain desires will make them happen, they are feeding that ‘magical’ thinking and preparing for disappointment—or worse

Now, expectations are not harmful in themselves since they help one to form a general picture of what ‘could’ happen in the future. The problem begins when one expects life to be according to ‘their’ desires, something that sooner rather than later will lead to disappointment. As writer Margaret Mitchell said, “Life is not obliged to give us what we expect.”

The problem gets worse when we forget that our expectations often only reflect a desire or a probability—sometimes quite remote—that something happens. When we lose sight of that perspective, expectations become a true ‘killer’ of happiness.

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments” (or “Expectations are the seeds of resentment,” or “Expectations are just future resentments waiting to happen”). I believe this slogan—which I believe originated in 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous programs—contains some useful, practical information for all of us about the ‘psychology’ of expectations. Its wisdom can be derived by acknowledging two psychological facts:

First off, merely expecting something to happen WILL NOT make it happen. For some people, it is difficult to let go of the idea that expecting something to happen will make it happen (i.e. “The Law of Attraction”).

Secondly, human beings have a natural tendency to ‘pin’ their hopes for happiness on fulfilled expectations. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, as long as we have good reasons to believe that fulfilling an expectation will make us happy, and we take the necessary steps toward fulfilling those expectations. “Good reasons” might include us knowing from past experience that certain things make us happy. For example, I know from experience that my morning cup of tea will almost inevitably give me a little bit of ‘happiness’ (especially if is Adagio’s “Fruit Bomb Herbals”). I, therefore, expect this experience each morning after I finish my ‘garbage can’ omelet (which also reliably gives me a bit of happiness).

The ‘problem’ with expectations occurs when we expect something to happen without good reasons for that expectation. If I believe that my expectations alone will bring me what I want, I am using ‘magical’ thinking and setting myself up for a ‘fall’. This is really obvious when talking about my morning tea. I can’t make a cup of tea just by ‘thinking’ it into existence—I have to take the necessary steps to make it happen. I have to boil the water, put the loose tea in the infuser basket, and put it and the water into the steeper—then wait three to five minutes. Just expecting my cup of tea to ‘appear’ is delusional.

This is less obvious when our expectations involve other people. Most of us are sane enough to realize that expecting a cup of tea to materialize from our thoughts is unrealistic. Yet, many of us, at some point, have mistakenly believed that expecting other people to behave the way we want will actually make them behave that way. For example, one member of a couple might expect the other to make the tea. This is fine and good if the other person is happy to do so. But what happens if the other person has no interest in living up to that expectation? We feel shocked, morally indignant, and resentful. Expectations then become PREMEDITATED ‘RESENTMENTS’.

It should be easy to think of examples in your own life where you have felt resentful toward people who did not live up to your expectations, but here are a few:

– Ever order a steak in a restaurant as medium-rare, and it gets served to you well done?
– Ever ask your teen in the morning to do the dishes and come home from work to find they are not done?
– Ever go to drive somewhere and it takes you twice as long because of construction?
– Ever do tons of exercise and get on the scale two weeks later to find you are the same weight?
– Ever go to your doctor for a routine check-up and leave with a surgery date in hand?

Expecting life to always turn out the way you want is ‘guaranteed’ to lead to disappointment—because life will not always turn out the way you want it to. Then, when those unfulfilled expectations involve the failure of other people to behave the way you expect them to, the disappointment also involves ‘resentment’.

So, why are we so ‘arrogant’ to think that merely expecting others to behave the way we want them to will make them behave that way? What entitles us to get angry at other people when they fail to meet our expectations?

Expectations among people are often based on an implicit ‘social contract’. That is, without actually verbalizing expectations about give-and-take in a relationship, people construct ‘stories’ in their heads about ‘legitimate’ expectations of each other. So, people in a relationship have a ‘deal’ in which the specifics are never really talked about. The thing is, it is REALLY hard for someone to live up to your expectations when they don’t know what they are, but you still might see this failure as a violation of the social contract you have in your mind.

Unspoken expectations are almost guaranteed to go unfulfilled. Only talking openly about what you expect from other people might improve your chances of achieving any fulfillment of your expectations.

At the same time, it is unrealistic to think that merely communicating your expectations clearly is going to get people to behave the way you want them to. For example, children not conforming to their parents’ expectations seems to be a part of ‘real’ life, and this points to a second kind of social contract, one that is based on ‘authority’ rather than mutual reciprocity. Parents assume that their children should obey their expectations because adults have the authority to run the household.

So, you may say, “Isn’t it reasonable for parents to expect certain standards of behavior from their children?” As the father of two children, I would agree that parents should set ‘standards’ for their children, and failure to do so would make them an irresponsible parent. So, should they not expect that their children should follow those standards all the time? (The thing is, I didn’t follow my parents’ expectations all the time. Has any child?) So, thinking that this will happen is unrealistic. The question is then what to do when children do not follow the rules you have designed to help them keep safe, stay healthy, and grow into their potential?

Well, as you can see, there is a difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations. Believing that an unverbalized expectation will bring you what you want is ‘magical’ thinking and unrealistic. Expecting that doing what in the past has reliably brought about a result you want is realistic. Expecting others to do what is in your interest, but not their interest, is unrealistic. Expecting others to do what is in both of your interests can be realistic.

The thing is, we ALL have our own desires and agendas. We want to do what we think is in our own best interest. If we expect other people to act in ways that are not consistent with their own interests, they will probably resist our expectations, leaving us resentful of them. (Furthermore, the person is likely to resent you, too.) After all, how do you feel when people expect you to do things that are inconsistent with your own goals and values?

So, it is suggested that one should ‘let go’ of their expectations and find something to be grateful for—even when things do not turn out the way they hoped, and they will experience serenity rather than resentment.

‘UNREALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS
We all wish to have a relationship that is tailored to our liking. We all know people who spent their lives seeking that perfect someone who can meet their expectations. The thing is, we all picked up many unrealistic expectations from romantic movies and TV shows, where they convince us of what we ‘deserve’ in a relationship.

The truth is, no relationship is perfect. We can, however, make our relationship more fulfilling and exciting. A good relationship requires effort, hard work, and dedication from both partners. Unrealistic expectations for relationships often cause unpleasantness, arguments, and chaos in a relationship. So, here are some unrealistic relationship expectations you should avoid if you want to have a ‘good’ relationship with someone close to you:

– They Will Always Support Everything You Do
– The Will Always Say The Right Thing
– There Will Never Be An Argument Or Disagreement
– Everything Will Always Go Smoothly
– They Will Always Understand Your Feelings

What is expected shapes what happens. Research has shown that highly-trained weight lifters can out-do their personal bests when they ‘believe’ they have taken a performance booster (even though it actually may not be). People who have taller, better-looking avatars in virtual reality behave in ways that taller and better-looking people tend to act. Our minds are constantly ‘jumping to conclusions’ about the world we live in and who we are.

So, letting one’s doubts ‘cloud’ their belief in someone (or something) practically ensures their failure. Medical professionals call this the “Nocebo Effect.” Patients who have low expectations for medical procedures or treatments tend to have poorer results than those who expect success, even with regard to well-established treatments. If a doctor uses a treatment with a clinically verified high rate of success but presents it in a negative ‘light’, the probability of a negative outcome increases.

As we have seen, one’s expectations shape their reality, and they can change their life, sometimes emotionally and physically. They need to be extra careful about—and aware of—the expectations they harbor, since the wrong ones can make life unnecessarily difficult. So, one needs to be especially wary of the ‘unrealistic’ expectations (“Happiness Killers”), since they give people all kinds of trouble.

As human beings, we live our lives with certain expectations. For emotionally healthy individuals, expectations are more likely to be realistic and rational—based on reality.

For individuals whose emotional health is less-than-healthy, expectations are often unrealistic and impractical.

This type of thinking may seem delusional—and it is—but we have all ‘fed’ it in certain circumstances every time one has unrealistic expectations such as:

– Life Should Be ‘Fair’
– Opportunities Will Fall Into My ‘Lap’
– Everyone Should Like Me
– People Should Always Agree With Me
– People Should Know What I Am Trying To Say
– Everything Will Be Fine
– People Should Behave Well With Me
– I Must Always Do Well
– Things Will Make Me Happy
– I Can Change My ‘Partner’
– Others Must Always Give Me Unconditional Positive Interest And Constant Reinforcement So I Can Feel Worthy, Valuable, And Loved
– Others Must Take Responsibility For My Feelings, Happiness, And Well-being
– Others Must Always Compliment Me
– Others Must Be The Person I Imagine Them To Be, Or The Person I Want Them To Be
– Others Must Have The Same Likes, Beliefs, Wants, and Needs As Me
– Others Must Be Able To Know What I Am Thinking And Feeling, And Always Know My Wants And Needs
– Others Must Spend All Of Their Free Time With Me—Never Being Apart
– When I Assign All My Attention, Value, And Time To My Partner, They Will Reciprocate
– Expecting Never To Get ‘Hurt By My Partner
– Getting ‘What I Want And Whenever I Want
– Expecting My Partner To Have No Interest In Anyone Else
– Expecting My Partner To Guess What Is Going On With Me
– Expecting To Be Each Other’s Top Priority

Now, most of you will say that most of the items in the above list are ‘ridiculous’. No one would believe such ‘nonsense’. Well, sadly—even if they are a part of the thinking of a ‘clinical’ person—they are the beliefs of some people!

Author Steve Lynch writes that “The expression should actually be phrased as ‘Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments.’” The thing is expectations can be the silent ‘killer’ of happiness since happiness is usually proportional to one’s level of acceptance and inversely proportional to their expectations.

Expectations become a kind of inner ‘compass’. However, the problem is that waiting for something to happen will not make it happen, so when expectations are unrealistic they can end up playing ‘tricks’ and, instead of helping one prepare mentally, they lead one to ‘FRUSTRATION’.

In addition to that, when unfulfilled expectations involve the “failure” of other people to behave in the way we expect, disappointment is added to resentment, which will end up deeply affecting the relationship, causing us to lose confidence in those people.

Some people tend to expect too much, too soon, and presume their partner will live up to their fantasy expectations of what a relationship “should be”—to be the king/queen, savior, or ‘rescuer’ who will provide purpose and aliveness, meet all of their needs; and take care of them emotionally, physically, and/or financially.

It is simply unfair to expect anyone to meet these previous ‘magical’ unrealistic expectations, and in particular, it is immature and childlike when holding a person responsible for one’s emotional wellbeing.

Healthy relationships (like healthy living) contain the component of ‘reality’—and expectations based on reality, not ‘magical’ thinking.

We cannot expect—or demand—a person to be who we ‘think’ they should be; or live up to the ‘potential’ we think they have.

When one clings to unrealistic expectations from our ‘partners’, it exacerbates relationship challenges expecting them to fulfill all of their needs, be their primary source of happiness, or even “fix” an unresolved trauma from childhood. This can lead to a rigid or inflexible attachment that invariably brings on disappointment, sadness, resentment, and anger.

So, the key to not falling into the unrealistic expectation trap isn’t about having expectations. Instead, it is about identifying what is reasonable to expect and what is not.

Approaching relationship expectations through this ‘lens’ encourages establishing non-negotiable ‘boundaries’ while allowing space for mutual support and satisfaction. Specific needs, including respect, trust, empathy, and kindness, are universal aspects of feeling loved and safe. These are reasonable expectations to have in a relationship and can protect us from compromising our well-being.

It is CRITICAL to identify what your specific ‘fundamental’ needs are. Without these, you may yearn for basic relationship necessities that grant you a sense of connection and security, which is imperative in intimate relationships. As you explore what these needs are, the following points may help guide your internal reflection.

– Differences Are Expected In A Loving Relationship
– Individuals And Relationships Change Over Time
– Relationships May Not Provide Unconditional Love
– Your Partner May Or May Not Change As You Wish They Would

Self-reflection and awareness are required for one to ‘dive deeper’ and differentiate between realistic and unrealistic expectations. Being mindful of this allows one to cultivate and maintain a more fulfilling, loving, and meaningful relationship.

Now, unrealistic expectations may contain absolutes or limitations on each other’s freedom. These may arise from relationships in which the attachment style is anxious-avoidant or insecure rather than secure. If you experience some of these expectations, read on to learn how to shift your focus to develop a more secure relationship with more realistic expectations:

– No Arguing Is A Sign Of A Good Relationship
– Always Know Why And What I Am Feeling (Mind Reading)
– Always Be Available When I Am In Distress
– Having No Friends Of The Sex They Are Attracted To
– Always Spending All Their Free Time Together
– Always Being In Agreement With Me
– Always Needing To Provide Solutions
– Always Forcing Partner To Change To Avoid Distress
– Never Changing Appearance

So then, notice some of the unrealistic expectations that exist within your relationship, consider why these are present and if they could be resolved by subscribing to healthy expectations instead. Then explore the goals of the relationship and how these healthy expectations may promote your goals through an “I feel” perspective and be open to revisiting these conversations and adapting your expectations as the relationship evolves.

So, what should one do when your expectations don’t ‘align’? Well, seeking compromise and furthering your understanding of your partner can support you in discussing these perpetual mismatched expectations. Ask questions to better understand why this expectation is important to them and reflect back on your understanding to increase empathy around this expectation and your partner’s experience of it. Great relationships take ‘work’, BUT is ‘worth’ it!

Even though it is human to expect your partner to give you as much as you give them or sometimes there is a fine ‘line’ between knowing what you deserve versus having preconceived notions of how your partner should behave. Such unrealistic hopes of how your partner should act can lead you down a tricky ‘alley’. This metaphorical ‘chasm’ that is automatically formed, as a result, is a dangerous one, falling into its pits is but natural if you hold on to these unrealistic expectations. While a healthy relationship requires hard work, effort, and teamwork, it is important to share and communicate when your expectations don’t match up with your partner’s behavior.

So, here are some ways that you can deal with these expectations in a relationship:

– Practice Assertiveness
– Communication Is Key
– Define Your Limits
– Find A ‘Middle-ground’
– Don’t Expect At All
– Honesty Is The Best Policy
– Give It Time

Usually, all this ‘sorts’ itself out over time. People with unrealistic expectations will never be satisfied so there’s no point in beating yourself up about it. Eventually, they will realize and make peace with their expectations or they will move on.

Wishing one’s partner to be perfect, meeting all their criteria, expecting them to measure to their ‘bar’ of love, and making them responsible for all of their happiness qualifies as ‘unrealistic’ expectations.

The thing is, one thing to remember is that ‘evolution’ and change mean that we are growing and moving on, and anything that remains constant for a certain period of time is either dead or on its way to being dead.

People change their habits, reasons, wishes, likes, and dislikes. So, harboring unrealistic expectations is unfair and are unhelpful to both the partners. They don’t inspire, support or serve any meaningful purpose for a couple. Don’t let these strong, premeditated beliefs hold you back from experiencing relationship satisfaction and mutual growth.

Expectations in a relationship are only a good thing until they are reasonable and fair.

Priorities change as a relationship grows and people grow with them. With time, one will need to ‘recalibrate’ their expectations in a relationship.

Life is forever in flux and forever changing, so if you want to build a stronger bond full of trust, look inward and do a relationship ‘check-up’ to find out if your expectations are too low or too high.

‘MANAGING’ EXPECTATIONS
Now, getting expectations ‘under control’ is complicated. The good news is that it is not necessary to banish them from our mental world, but one needs to learn to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic expectations.

So, after one has identified their needs and realistic expectations, how do they effectively ‘communicate’ these to their partner? Well, here are six skills for constructive conflict management:

– Soften The Start Of Your Conversation
– Complain, But Don’t Blame
– Use “I” Statements
– Describe What Is Happening, But Try Not To Judge
– Be Polite And Appreciative
– Don’t Hold Things In

Since one’s partner can’t read their mind, then they need to share their thoughts and feelings with them. They will not be able to attend to their needs if they are not aware of them, and holding things in without addressing them breeds resentment, which then can lead to even further dissatisfaction.

The advantages of mastering one’s expectations are:

– Taking Responsibility For Your Decisions
– Separating Your Desires From Your ‘Duties’
– Enjoying More Of The Present
– Properly Adjusting Your Expectations
– Controlling The Expectant Mind
– Differentiating Realistic Expectations From Unrealistic Ones
– Communicating Your Expectations
– Preparing A ‘Plan B’

In addition to these, expectations often turn into a ‘clouded’ lens that prevents us from seeing the world clearly. When we wait for something, we can miss other opportunities. On the contrary, having realistic expectations allows us to live in the present, build upon it, and take advantage of the opportunities it offers us.

Now, ‘realistic’ expectations are good to have, however, here are two ways that expectations can ‘shackle’ a person. The first type is when you have expectations ‘OF’ OTHERS, and the second is when others heap expectations ‘UPON’ YOU.

Knowing each of these potential pitfalls, and more importantly how you can avoid them, is a life skill that will serve you well as you go through your day, from business to family and everything in between. Once you begin to recognize them, you will be surprised at how often, throughout your day, expectations are ‘at play’.

So, you may ask what are some ways to ‘manage’ having unrealistic expectations. Well, here are a few:

– Become Aware of Your Expectations
Start by assessing your expectations in a situation. If you’d like to get out of the expectations vs. reality trap, it all comes down to ‘AWARENESS’. Becoming aware of what you are expecting is a great start. Becoming aware of what you ‘should’ be expecting is also a wise idea.

When you go into a new situation, ask yourself what you expect to happen.
Ask yourself if your expectations should be this way. Where did these expectations come from and are they realistic?

When you feel disappointed, try to think about whether it was realistic to expect what you were hoping for. (If so, make a plan for getting what you want next time. If not, think about managing your expectations and how to do this.)

– Practice Emotional Acceptance
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling disappointed. Instead of trying to deny or suppress negative emotions like disappointment or jealousy, work on accepting these emotions as they are.

– Never Assume
When in doubt, ask. It’s easy to assume a person knows exactly what you want, but they might not. So, save yourself time and effort and ask in advance.

– Don’t Make Comparisons
When you see others’ posts on social media and decide that you want what you see, remind yourself that this may not be reality. It’s great to know what direction you want things to go in, but don’t forget that what you see isn’t necessarily what others are actually living.

– Realize That Removing Expectations From Your Relationships, Is Not Only Wise, But Kind
Being misunderstood never feels good. Human beings, even the most introverted amongst us, really thrive on feeling that they are connected with others.

When expectations are ‘projected’ onto others, the consequences can be very uncomfortable when the assumptions fail and they feel that they have not lived up to, well, to our own expectations.

– Enjoy What Your Life Looks Like Today
This isn’t about the expectations of others. This is about having expectations of yourself.

All too often we compare ourselves to others and fall short in one way or another. Then those fantasies and dreams are just expectations in disguise, “I’ll be happy once x, y, or z are fulfilled.”

So, don’t mistake expectations for goals. Goals are fabulous and I am all for them, however, in contrast, expectations can make people feel ‘unsuccessful’.

– Have A Realistic View Of What Life Offers
Your life will go smoother when you have a realistic view instead of being disappointed because everything does not align with your high expectations. You can’t control what other people do or say, but you can control how you ‘react’ to them.

– Consider What Really Makes You Happy
You may be overestimating how happy you would be once you have what you think you want. For instance, if you work a job you hate to save enough to buy an expensive car or some nice clothes, you may find that your happiness is not very long-lasting.

Truly ‘savor’ what you have. It’s okay to want more, but you can enjoy life so much more if you appreciate what you already have. Savoring what you have is a great way to expand the joy you experience in life.

– Set Goals That Are Achievable
You will not accomplish high expectations when you set goals that are too high. If your goal is lofty, start with something ‘lower’ and work your way up. Don’t self-sabotage yourself by working towards goals that are not realistic. It is hard to see where the ‘line’ between high and realistic expectations lies, so you need to find an effective way to identify what you ‘can’ do and what you cannot do.

– Accept Reality
When you refuse to accept reality, you are trapped in negative emotions, such as sadness or anger. You will also suffer more if you try to change things that are beyond what you can control! Understanding what you cannot change allows you to focus on what you can change. People are who they are, not what you want them to be.

– Identify What Matters Most
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” To find out what matters most, he shares the six human needs: Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Connection and Love, Growth, and Contribution. Discover what the most important things in your life are.

MANAGING ‘OTHERS’ EXPECTATIONS
A bit more difficult than managing our own expectations is managing other people’s expectations of us. But you can do it, and it is absolutely worth investing your time and energy to do so. How? Well, by being proactive in these key areas:

– Communicate
In Business:
Over-communicate and be redundant. Let others know exactly what your boundaries are. When you are available or not, your firm boundaries, where you are and are not flexible, your timetable, etc. Don’t leave anything up to chance.

In Life:
It is just as important to over-communicate with others outside of work as inside. Just like you want to let others know what your boundaries are, what your plans are, and your preferences are, it is important to share all these things and more with your friends and family. If no one knows how to please you, then everyone loses.

– Anticipate Problems
In Business:
For big projects, sometimes it’s worth spending a few minutes “catastrophizing.” That is, imagining half a dozen worst-case scenarios and how they could occur. Then articulate a few key points that ensure those scenarios do not happen.

In Life:
This translates to non-business situations as well such as a family trip or home project. Try to anticipate every possible outcome and being prepared for everything and making decisions to ensure things go well.

– Know The Biases Of Others
In Business:
Think about any common history or relationship you may have had with them. Do they give you any clues as to their perspective? This likely speaks to how they are coming to the situation with preconceptions. Preconceptions ‘grease’ the wheels for expectations. In this scenario, you can use expectations as opportunities. Not only can you anticipate what they might expect, but you can also under-promise and over-deliver. A ‘win-win’!

In Life:
Knowing where your friends and family stand on certain issues and their core beliefs can help you have compassion for and communicate better with them.

– Be ‘Present’ And Aware Of What Is Going On
When you have self-awareness and empathy, you are aware of what others need, want, and expect. Empathy allows you to be in their shoes and understand their point of view. This is the high level of awareness you need to improve your relationships with others and yourself. Being self-aware enables you to stay open-minded about other people’s actions without judging them.

Finally—and maybe most importantly—PRACTICE ‘GRATITUDE’ When you find that what is happening is not what you expected, actively look for the ‘positives’ in what you have. You may find that once you get over the disappointment, you have something you didn’t initially realize you wanted. This helps you to be more appreciative of what you have.

Resentment is the culprit of not feeling fulfilled when you expect too much from others. To counter resentment, remind yourself of the good things you have. Take time to be grateful for what is going right in your life and find reasons why others are doing something that benefits them, not just you.

Spend a few moments each day thinking about something you are grateful for or consider writing in a gratitude ‘journal’.

Once you understand the role of expectations in your everyday interactions, you are well on your way to ‘managing’ them. Remind yourself that goals are not the same as expectations! Goals are ‘concrete’ based upon reality and facts, expectations are beliefs based upon hope and opinions.

You will feel much better once you begin implementing the strategies, for both eliminating expectations of others, and for not allowing others to have expectations of you. Having this understanding will enable you to mitigate and navigate expectations, so that you manage them—not the other way around.

‘SOCIETAL’ EXPECTATIONS
Society lives and breathes expectations. The problem is that no one can be who we want them to be.

We can expect things like respect from others, but if we base how we feel on whether we get what we expect, we set ourselves up for disappointment. This will allow us to experience less anxiety, less stress, frustration, anger, depression, and other negative emotions.

We are ‘responsible’ for our moods and happiness. Sure, it is easier to live in bliss if everyone around us is behaving in ways pleasing to us, but not everyone will act as we like. Things don’t always go as we plan—it’s just a fact of life.

So, if we can detach from outcomes, we can live peacefully more often. I am not implying we stop caring about others. I am just saying that when one takes full responsibility for their happiness, they will be more ‘content’ and peaceful—without comparison to close people in your life, or even to those in ‘society’.

We must also make it a priority to allow others to be where they are on their journey. We must try hard not to make judgments about how people ought to think or behave. It’s not always easy, but it is possible and it becomes easier with practice.

Life is a journey, and each person is on a different ‘path’—with different thoughts, feelings, experiences, and spirituality.

So, ask yourself if you have been expecting things from others or expecting them to be someone they are not. Then, can you ‘detach’ from expectations and manage your own feelings and moods regardless of what others say or do?

LEARNING TO ‘ACCEPT’
Learning to accept what ‘is’ rather than what ‘should be’ will make you MUCH happier about life and other people.

It is a ‘paradox’ that can be sometimes hard to grasp. Only by accepting “A” are we able to move to “B,” and only by practicing this day-by-day can we start to experience and understand the freedom in letting go of unrealistic expectations and embracing gratitude and the present. It doesn’t suddenly make the ‘gap’ between what you have and what you want to disappear, but it does allow you to regain your happiness.

Renowned clinical psychologist, Dr. Ellis strongly encouraged people to stop “musting,” and “shoulding” themselves and others (i.e., to change “musts” and “shoulds” into preferences and desires rather than hold onto them as imperatives). When you learn to let go of your unrealistic expectations, an ‘open road’ unfolds right in front of you. One full of new possibilities, ready and waiting for you to create your own ‘path’.

So, striving for more CAN lead you to work your hardest and do your best, HOWEVER, it can also ‘rob’ you of joy—especially when you expect things to come more easily than they do or in a different way. Becoming more aware of your expectations and how they change your feelings toward your own reality can free you from the disappointment and stress that comes from unrealistic expectations.

Overcoming expectations in a relationship starts with understanding what constitutes a quality partnership. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “There are 10 cardinal rules of love.”:

– Prioritize Appreciation Over Expectations
– Express Compassion
– Show Respect
– Demonstrate Consideration
– Devote Time To Your Partner
– Never Question The Nature Of Your Relationship
– Avoid Repetition
– Never Threaten Your Relationship
– Don’t Stagnate
– Don’t Compare Your Relationship To Others’ Relationships

[ Note: Detailed explanations of each of Robbins’ cardinal rules are in the “Articles” section below ].

EXPECTATIONS OF ‘GOD’
So, what can one expect from a ‘relationship’ with God? Well, developing a relationship based off ‘reasonable’ expectations will definitely help one’s faith to ‘FLOURISH’.

As was said previously, when one enters into a relationship with someone, they have some general expectations. As one shows that they are genuinely invested in the relationship, they can anticipate that the person will give them certain ‘things’ in return. Honesty and care are just some of the few ‘reasonable’ expectations that one might have in a relationship.

Sometimes, however, one creates expectations that are ‘unreasonable’, demanding, or rash. They begin to think that the other person might ‘owe’ them more, or hope that they will give them more than they are able to. When the person doesn’t fulfill these desires, one might feel frustrated, angry, or disappointed. In turn, it can make the person feel less-than, inadequate, and frustrated as well. So, as was said, adjusting one’s expectations to be realistic is important in keeping relationships healthy and thriving.

So then, when one decides to build a relationship with God, they might do so with a ‘list’ of expectations. Some of their expectations may be unrealistic, which causes a ‘breakdown’ in their relationship with Him. Instead, by adjusting what one expects out of the relationship, they are given an opportunity to grow in their faith, build trust with Him, and reap the benefits of living a Christian life.

So, here are some things that the Bible says one CAN ‘EXPECT’ from God:

– He is Always Going To Listen
Despite God not physically standing in front of you, He IS ‘there’. We know from Scripture that God never leaves His children behind (Joshua 1:9) and always has an ‘ear’ open for us (Psalm 66:19). God cannot stop loving us (Jeremiah 31:3) and He cannot stop thinking about us (Psalm 139:17-18). We can expect Him to listen to each and every prayer, despite its contents. God wants to ‘talk’ with you on a regular basis to grow the relationship, and the best way to do that is through devotions and prayer. Sometimes, He might not answer our prayers in the way we think or hope He will, but that does not mean He isn’t listening.

– He Has a ‘Plan’ For You
We think we might know what we want in life but sometimes God has something greater in store for us. This is one reason why He might not answer your prayers right away. We cannot expect God to disclose His master plan for our lives the second we ask Him to, and instead, it can be a slow process. However, with diligence to the Christian faith, His ‘plan’ for you will reveal itself. While we wait, we can cast our anxiety, stress, and fear about our future on God who will help us through our journey (Psalm 55:22). He will sustain you ‘through’—not necessarily ‘removing’—all trials and tribulations if you seek Him out.

– He Can Bless You With Eternal Life
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is such an exciting promise and we are incredibly blessed to be given such an opportunity. While we can expect to be offered this gift, we must first understand that God has expectations of us as well. God expects us to believe in His one and only Son and accept Him into our ‘heart’. God also asks that we repent for our sins and seek salvation. When we start a lifelong commitment to building our faith, we can then look forward to one day living an eternal life in Heaven with Him.

– What God Can’t Do
While there are so many things God can give back to us, we need to understand some of the things He cannot do. One important thing to understand is that God IS NOT a ‘genie’ that is designed to satisfy our every whim. Prayer is not ‘magic’, and while God can perform miracles, that doesn’t mean it is always going to happen. It might not be a part of God’s greater plan for you or for someone else. Sometimes God does things so new ‘doors’ will open instead, and we have to trust that He knows what is better for us and that He knows what He is doing.

God also can’t give us all perfect and easy lives. We live in a world that is full of temptation and sin that we all ‘succumb’ to.

Adam and Eve unleashed upon our world where evil and suffering could occur. Yet, God IS in control, and He can redeem even the most heinous choices and the most awful pain and suffering. We can expect Him to help us when we fall short of His glory if we go back to seek Him and strive to better oneself in the way the Bible suggests.

When we understand what God can and cannot do for us, we then can create ‘realistic’ expectations for developing a relationship with Him. God has so many great things in store for each of us if we choose to let Him have ‘control’ of our lives. By focusing on the things that God HAS ‘PROMISED’ to each believer, we build a relationship that has a strong ‘foundation’ of TRUST.

[ FYI: For more details on ‘trusting’ God, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/learning-to-t-r-u-s-t-v263/ ].

WHEN GOD DOESN’T ‘MEET’ ONE’S EXPECTATIONS
Now, you may have begun to process how your expectations of God can influence your relationship with Him. This may not always be negative, but when we allow our unmet expectations of God to influence our willingness to surrender our lives to Him, we can run into a serious problem.

As I mentioned, the saying goes, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” Yet expectations accumulate like stains on a white couch, appearing without us noticing when or from where they originated.

When God doesn’t do what we have ‘superimposed’ upon Him with our expectations, we then are blaming God for His ‘non-compliance’. Sadly, some people would rather blame God than do the introspection required to gain awareness of how they determined those expectations (Like my family member did). These days, resentment and bitterness toward God can be spun into a ‘badge’ of enlightenment.

For example, the Apostle Peter expected a Messiah to look more like a conquering military leader like King David (who was being influenced by Satan by using ‘broken’ expectations to steal, kill, and destroy truth with resentment.

When resentment reigns in one’s ‘heart’, faith can’t thrive in their soul until the emergence of ‘something’ more powerful.

For example, there were many times when Jesus said things that caused His followers to leave and stop following Him. They DIDN’T ’STAY’ because Jesus made disturbing statements, ‘weighty’ requests, and, like Peter, didn’t fulfill every one of their personal Messianic expectations.

However, some DID ’STAY’ because they had experienced something they couldn’t live without—something more substantial than their own ‘disappointments’. As Bible teacher Eugene Peterson well said: “Jesus does not always meet our expectations, does not always give what we ask for or what we think we need. When he doesn’t, we feel let down, deflated, disappointed, or we surf to another channel on the TV, or we try out another church that will, hopefully, give us what we ask for.”

Like those early followers of Jesus, many ‘walk’ away today because Jesus doesn’t meet their expectations for their suffering, the direction of their life, answers to prayer, or countless other expectations. HOWEVER, those who do stay ‘connected’ do so because they had experienced a ‘transformation’ in their life and in their so-called ‘DISAPPOINTMENTS’.

The thing is, sometimes God is trying to break one out of the little ‘box’ of expectations they have Him in. They fabricate scenarios of how He ‘SHOULD’ act, then expect Him to do what they want. Like the ‘genie’ out of the bottle, they expect Him to make all their wishes to come true, and THE ‘WAY’ they wanted them to be fulfilled.

Another example describes the Apostle Peter is on the housetop praying. With his stomach growling, he has a vision of a sheet containing all kinds of “unclean” animals. A heavenly voice tells him to rise, kill them and eat them. He refuses to do so since he has never done that before and doesn’t believe it should be done that way. This command did not meet his expectations so he refused to go along with it. This happened three times.

Thankfully, Peter did finally understand the ‘message’—sharing the Gospel with Gentiles. (If he had not been ‘trapped’ by his expectations, perhaps he would have received the message sooner and with less ‘angst’.)

As has been said, expectations mimic control, and when we hold on to our own expectations—rather than God’s—we get ourselves in ‘trouble’.

‘RESTING’ FROM EXPECTATIONS
Jesus taught: “Do not be anxious for your life.” God WILL provide, period. If He can take care of the birds—and He does—then He can take care of humans. So, ask yourself if the birds have ‘expectations’ I doubt it. They just live moment-to-moment in reliance on God.

So, do you expect God to heal you physically, always protect you from harm and give you what you want, when you want it? If so, you are setting yourself up for much disappointment. The thing is, He probably has other plans for you than meeting ‘YOUR’ expectations, which will, no doubt, be better than want you wanted (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Now, the ‘antidote’ for any kind of expectation is humility and back on the last time you got frustrated because your expectations were not met. Were you thankful for what was happening? Was your ego being ‘confronted’ and you didn’t like it?

Well, humility gives you the freedom to be wrong, release control, and esteem others more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3) rather than looking for your own desires to be met and trying to ‘control’ the outcome.

Then, thankfulness allows you to accept everything with joy and a gentle spirit knowing that everything is for your good, even that which might look bad (Romans 8:28).

When one surrenders their ‘heart’ to God, they can expect a relationship to develop and a ‘transformation’ to occur. When they read their Bible, they can expect to know more about Him, His will, and His counsel. When I pray from my heart and be ‘still’ before Him, they can expect to know Him more deeply—and when they experience struggle or hardship, they can expect He is working all things for their good.

So then, what does God expect of me? Well, when the crowd asked Jesus, “’What must we do to do the works God requires?” He answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent” [ John 6:28-29 ].

To experience ‘rest’ in Jesus requires that one ‘BELIEVE’ He has already met God’s every expectation, and, the deeper they experience His love, the deeper their love will grow for Him.

So, what does this love look like? Well, Jesus doesn’t leave you to guess: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” [ Matthew 22:37-40 ].

Jesus invites you into a ‘relationship’. One that invites you to trust Him, and that experiences His love: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” [ Matthew 11:28 ].

‘UNREALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS OF GOD
Even though God has given humanity His Word, filled with promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), when one thinks they know what is best for them, and He doesn’t give them what they ask for, they may feel abandoned, hurt, and sometimes downright anger and frustration. This is where I desperately need a ‘reality check’.

When one expects God to perform like a ‘genie’—waiting at the ready to produce whatever they think they need—they completely miss out on the joy and fulfillment of intimacy with Him.

When was the last time you ‘spouted off’ a list of wants and needs to your closest friend, which was immediately provided by them? Was the result a ‘deepened’ friendship with them? Not likely. ‘Demands’ don’t work in a true relationship, regardless of with whom you expect them from (sometimes, even from yourself!).

Now, Jesus DOES invite the believer to ask Him for ‘things’:

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” [ Mark 11:24 ].

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” [ Matthew 7:7 ].

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” [ John 14:14 ].

Now, this DOES NOT provide one with carte blanche with their requests, but it DOES promise one that God WILL provide a request when it is one of HIS desires!

God ‘LONGS’ to give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4). Yet, because His ways are so high above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), He doesn’t always give one what they ask for. Why? Well, most likely, He has something better in store for you! He alone knows what one truly needs. He alone, can take the hardships and sufferings of this life, transform one’s heart, and make the very best happen—beyond your wildest imagination!

The thing is, some people look at struggles and wonder, “God, what could You possibly be doing in this?” Well, just like in the Garden of Eden, if Satan can create doubt in your mind of God’s love for you, unrealistic expectations can grow into resentment, and a ‘rift’ develops in your heart against God. This is why ‘wearing’ the “Belt of Truth” is so crucial for the believer.

[ FYI: For more details on the “Armor of God,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/ready-for-battle-v235/ ].

If one is honest, looking back, they see ‘COUNTLESS’ TIMES that God gave them so MUCH MORE than they asked for. In fact, they didn’t even know what to ask for, because they couldn’t even imagine a better way even existed:

– I asked for salvation from a future Hell. He also saved me from hell on earth.

– I asked Him for the truth. He also showed me His heart.

– I asked Him to take away my fear and give me confidence. He also revealed my identity through Christ in me.

– I asked Him to help me do better. He also filled me with His righteousness.

The list of ‘better’ is endless, and yet God’s answers may not come quickly—at least, not according to one’s time-frame—nor do they come easily sometimes. BUT, experiencing His goodness, one can say, with ABSOLUTE ‘CERTAINTY’ that His answers are always “Yes” in Christ! (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Now, you may ask, “What about the ‘darkest’ hours of my life? What about the dreaded diagnosis that threatens my health or even my life? What about the loss of a dearest loved one? What about homelessness and horrific disasters?” This list can be VERY long, yet one must trust God even still, since He is compassionate, gives one strength to help one ‘through’ the suffering, and also provides comfort”

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”
[ Isaiah 40:28b-31 ].

‘UNFULFILLED’ EXPECTATIONS
Often, the believer expects that if they believe and live correctly, they will have great marriages, healthy bank balances, well-balanced children, and freedom from major problems. Now, the thing is, the believer SHOULD ‘know better’—since Jesus said they would be “persecuted” (John 15:18)—but they still ‘lean’ on the side of expecting blessing for obedience. (Even the Apostle Paul reinforced the persecution message to his protégé Timothy: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12)

The truth is, believers do have expectations of God, and sometimes, He ‘fails’ (in their eyes) those expectations.

Just know this, the believer is NOT ‘ALONE’ in their expectations. Do you remember that John the Baptist struggled with his own preaching?

He had proclaimed the Messiah’s Kingdom coming with power and justice.
But instead, Jesus’ ministry centered on preaching and on acts of mercy, and John found himself unfairly wasting away in prison at Machaerus (near the blistering shores of the Dead Sea).

‘Gentle’ Jesus hardly seemed the political ‘Deliverer’ everyone expected.
Unable to reconcile the seeming contradictions, and ‘imprisoned’ in his thoughts, John doubted his own proclamations. So, John sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” [ Matthew 11:3 ].

In other words, the “Expected One” had certain expectations placed upon Him, and Jesus had failed to meet them (at least to ‘their’ expectations).

So, even when our expectations are biblical—as John’s were—we still see them through the ‘lens’ of impatience. We suppose that if God has promised to act, He should act now—as if God’s whole universe orbits around our timetable!

OUR ‘GOD-SIZED’ DISAPPOINTMENTS
When one finds themselves most disappointed with life, it is not because something in life has failed us, it is rather that our expectations of what life “ought to be” have failed us. Or understood a different way, when we find ourselves most disappointed with God, He HAS NOT failed us, but our ‘expectations’ of Him have failed us.

[ Warning: We should always hesitate to assume the Gospel doesn’t “work” when we simply cannot see the big picture (that God sees). ]

Now, when we struggle to connect truth with life, we must embrace the limitations of our understanding—and also see the limitlessness of God’s understanding. Our inability to understand God should give cause for ‘WORSHIP’, NOT DOUBT.

So, in response to John in prison, Jesus graciously challenged him to shape his expectations from the Word of God and not from the circumstances that seemed to contradict it: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” [ Matthew 11:4b-5 ]. This is why we should never judge God’s love for us based on our present circumstances.

Jesus loved John the Baptist and His followers enough to ‘disappoint’ them (at least at that point), to allow them to question His power and to struggle with their own expectations—in order that they could experience true joy in the long term.

Now, just as then, Jesus just may disappoint you for a ‘season’ to ‘disciple’ you or to ‘strengthen’ your belief in Him.

So, trusting God to lead you through the peaks and valleys will relieve you of a lot of stress. When one focuses on God and not the challenges in front of them, their ‘perspective’ shifts. Expecting the unexpected WILL give you SO MUCH ‘freedom’! “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in You” [ Isaiah 26:3 ].

‘RELYING’ ON GOD
The question is, do you trust Him to keep you safe on your journey? Do you trust Him enough to hand over your unmet expectations that weigh you down like a rock in your ‘backpack’? Well, regardless of if your disappointments are minor or grieve you deeply, God WILL BE with you every ‘step’ of the way!

So here is another question for you: Do you want a life that is safe, predictable, and goes by the book, or do you want a story that ‘pushes’ you to rely on God?

The ‘attitude’ of expectancy will impact how one handles things that don’t go their way or according to their plan. As they try to navigate the twists and turns of life and figure out who God has called them to be, one must trust God to lead them. They will need to expect the unexpected, and learn to let go of those expectations that they have created—or that society has created—for themselves. An attitude of anticipation for the future will help them remember that God’s plans for them are far greater than their own imaginations.

So, God is inviting you to take a ‘journey’ through life with Him. To help you with this, remember King David’s prayer as you start each day: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” [ Psalm 5:3 ].

‘UNDERMINING’ ONE’S JOY
Most people intuitively know that our expectations profoundly affect our life experiences. Yet even as believers, we sometimes expect too much.

So, here are a few ‘FALSE’ EXPECTATIONS that are not grounded in Scripture and undermine one’s ’true’ joy:

– God’s Love For Us Should Look Just Like What We Want
God has promised us His undying love, but we often imagine how we would do things differently for those we loved if we were all-powerful. We would surely keep anything bad from ever happening to them, right? That may be our understanding of love, but it is NOT God’s way of thinking.

[ FYI: PREV LDT :
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-yes-for-everyone-v259/ ]

If one ignores the countless scriptural passages that promise them persecution and suffering while focusing on those that promise them God’s blessing, they lose sight of His promise to discipline them, build their character, and increase their Christlikeness through suffering.

[ VIDEO: “Refined by Fire: Awakening & Suffering” – Joni Eareckson Tada ]

They ought to expect, with the highest confidence, only what God has clearly, fundamentally, and absolutely promised. If their gratitude is lessened with such an understanding, the problem is THEIR expectations, not God’s promises! If they expect God to make our lives easy, their expectations are UNBIBLICAL.

– We Won’t Be Persecuted For Our Faith
Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” [ John 15:18 ]. The Apostle Peter said we should be firm in our faith, “knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” [ 1 Peter 5:9 ].

The truth is, Jesus didn’t promise an easy life for His people. He promised the way of the ‘Cross’ (Matthew 16:24), a daily ‘dying’ to ourselves as the believer sins the ‘race’ of faith in pursuit of the glory ahead (Philippians 3:12-14). The “health and wealth” prosperity preachers proclaim an empty promise that if we trust in Jesus, this life will get easier. BUT, the reality is what theologian R.C. Sproul always said: “My life didn’t start to get complicated until I became a Christian.” If you expect increasing ease, you WILL BE disappointed!

[ FYI: For more details on counting the ‘cost’ of Christianity, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thought” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-will-cost-you-v233/ ].

In spite of multiple promises of suffering throughout Scripture, many believers seem shocked or outraged when they have to face these trials. Americans especially have been slow to accept the extent to which Bible-believing Christ-followers have become socially unacceptable. Though we should work to hold on to our religious liberties, it is LIKELY they will continue to erode. But cheer up, opposition is nothing new for God’s people, and historically the Church’s greatest advances have come at the lowest ebb of its popularity.

Any church whose joy hinges on its popularity will either compromise its integrity or surrender its joy—in either case failing to show the world the true and joyful Gospel of Jesus.

[ FYI: For more details on the difference between happiness and joy, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/having-joy-through-trials-v198/ ].

– Life Will Go Smoothly And We Will Always Have Health And Wealth
The Apostle Paul said, “We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” [ 1 Timothy 6:7-8 ]. Food and clothing may seem like low expectations, and by the standards of the health-and-wealth gospel, these expectations are dismally low—but they are accompanied by dramatically high expectations of God, who gives us ‘riches’ in HEAVEN. After all, He IS the ‘source’ of the believer’s joy!

Has God promised to make us healthy and wealthy? No, not in this life, BUT perfect health on the New Earth IS promised! (“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4).

– Life Will Be Fair And People Will Treat Us Kindly And Thoughtfully
Jesus said, “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great” [ Luke 6:34-35b ].

All Bible passages about forgiveness involve lowering our expectations of people and not insisting that they live up to our standards, or demanding a ‘perfection’ we don’t even measure up to ourselves. God’s grace should calm us and cheer us. Jesus said, “I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world” [ John 16:33 ].

– Show The Same Grace To All Of Us By Treating Us All The Same
No child ever has to be taught about fairness. The heart’s cry for justice is part of our ‘design’. But, we are ‘broken’ in our understanding of so many things, and we usually equate fairness with equality. We want God to treat everyone the same way. But God isn’t doing the same thing for everyone. He is creating a masterpiece that will bring glory to Him and goodness to the believer for all eternity, and His means and tools will differ from person to person. Creating a masterpiece of sculpture in a piece of marble takes different tools and techniques than creating a masterpiece of an oil painting. It is a ‘GOOD’ THING that God doesn’t treat us all the same!

– Give Us An Easy Life
Easy, sheltered, enabled lives produce spoiled, entitled children. God’s intention is that we grow up to maturity, which necessitates learning to survive the bumps in the road and the harder aspects of living in a ‘fallen’ world. He is creating an ‘adult’, glorious bride for the Lamb, who is fit to reign with Him. An easy life is completely inadequate to the task of preparing us as the Church to become the ‘bride’ of Christ.

– If I Do All The Right Things To Be A “Good Person,” God Should Do His Part To Make Life Work The Way I Want It To
Linear “A ensures B” kind of thinking makes sense to our limited, immature minds, but reality really doesn’t work that way. We cannot manipulate God to make life work the way we want it to. We are part of a much bigger ‘picture’ that involves spiritual warfare, the battle against our own flesh, and God’s purposes that can only be accomplished in ways we don’t understand in the process.

HOWEVER, the ‘granddaddy’ of unrealistic expectations is:

– Remove All Pain And Suffering From One’s Life
This is really the ‘BOTTOM LINE’ issue for most problems with our understanding of God, the age-old difficult question, “How can a good and loving God allow pain and suffering?” [ This is the question that my family member asked me (in last’s month’s post). ]

The thing is, suffering entered the world because of the sinful choices of Adam and Eve. Now, our world is ‘fallen’ and corrupt, and bad things happen all the time. Part of the equation is that God honors our choices—which are significant and real—even the choices that bring unintended consequences of pain and suffering. YET, God IS in control, and He CAN ‘REDEEM’ even the most heinous choices that create the most awful pain and suffering. He delights to exchange “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” [ Isaiah 61:3 ].

[ FYI: For a better understanding of pain in this life, consider reading C. S. Lewis’s book, “The Problem Of Pain.” (More details on the book are in the “Resources” section below). ]

We all have a hard time imagining how God can bring good out of evil, and especially out of OUR pain. Just know that God IS GOOD, loving, and your (and my) inability to see how He will make it all okay, in the end, does not affect whether it is true or not!

The reason our expectations of God are so often unrealistic is because He is so much bigger, so much more glorious, so much more loving, and so much more in control, than we can possibly comprehend. So, may you grow in your understanding as He continues to prove Himself faithful and good—in everything you expect!

WRAP-UP
Expectations refer to the beliefs that you hold about the outcomes of events. While these expectations can play an important role in determining what happens and can contribute to goal-directed behavior, they can also lead to disappointment when reality does not match up to what you had hoped would happen.

Some of the common signs that you might ‘hold’ expectations include:

– Anticipating A Certain Outcome
– Holding A Vision In Your Mind Of How Things Will Play Out
– Having A Set Idea Of What You Want Or Need From A Situation

When expectations are not met, it can lead to feelings of disappointment, frustration, and even anger (As was the case for my family member).

In some cases, people might become so attached to their expectations that they are unable to see the reality of a situation. This can prevent them from acting or making decisions that would be in their best interest.

Despite what your common sense may tell you, research shows that people are surprisingly inept at predicting how they will feel in various situations. For example, one study (“Newlyweds’ optimistic forecasts of their marriage: for better or for worse?”) found that newlywed couples tended to estimate that their happiness levels would rise (or at least stay the same) over the four-year period after marriage. In reality, their levels of happiness tended to ‘diminish’ over that time period. ;^(

A problem with expectations was made famous by the Charles Dickens novel, “Great Expectations.” The main character, Pip, inherits a large fortune (his great expectation) from a secret benefactor. He views this fortune as a ‘stepping stone’ and moves to London where he enters ‘high society’ and believes that the money came from someone that plans for him and the girl of his dreams to marry (though she does not return his love).

Unfortunately, in his efforts to win the girl and impress people, Pip begins to look down on others. He becomes ashamed of his origins, neglecting his family in the process. He is even uncomfortable when he returns to attend his dead sister’s funeral. He starts to spend too much money and soon he is in debt—and later loses all of his fortune.

When he ultimately learns that the money was not necessarily part of a larger ‘plan’, he realizes that he had taken for granted so many important relationships and gifts in his life. His expectations had ‘ROBBED’ him of fully appreciating his reality.

REALISTIC ‘VS’ UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
So, what are the reasonable and unreasonable expectations in a relationship? Well, first off, it is normal for your expectations to be different from your partner’s. In a relationship, each partner brings a bounty of experiences, new perspectives, and values. One may prioritize some expectations more than their partner or the expectations may differ based on their individual experiences prior to entering the relationship.

So, consider what ‘informs’ one’s expectations. Could their expectations be based on their prior relationships or the relationship they have with themselves and their ability to meet their needs? Some expectations may be harder to meet or understand than others. Communicating about these differences and being realistic about expectations that may be more difficult to meet can foster a healthy relationship. Even for couples that have been together for years, it is unrealistic to assume that our partner knows all our needs and wants and, therefore, our expectations.

Clear expectations can help preserve a sense of stability and reliability as you navigate stressful situations together.

Moreover, a LACK of communication about expectations may lead to disconnection in which one partner may feel too much is being demanded of them or they may feel resentment that their partner is not present and supportive of them. This may contribute to emotional ‘distance’ and if enough negative sentiment is present in the relationship, it may drive a partner to seek other options for intimacy or connection outside of the relationship.

The relationship expectations listed below can help you evaluate and guide a discussion with your partner if you find that some of these are missing from your current relationship:

– Mutual Trust In Each Other
– Equal Commitment To The Relationship
– Shared Affection And Appreciation
– Empathy Towards Experiences And Emotions
– Friendship And Admiration In The Relationship
– Mutual Understanding And Compromise
– Respect For Differences
– Quality Time

When you have high expectations of others, your relationships can suffer. Sometimes we expect too much that we become disappointed when others don’t meet them. The problem with this is that by having such high expectations, you risk setting people up for failure before they even begin. If your goal is an environment where everyone feels accepted and free from judgment, then start by letting go of your own preconceived notions about what other people should do or say in order to please you—whether it is at work or in personal relationships. Try practicing gratitude and identifying what matters most to you, so you can have a realistic view of what this beautiful world offers us.

‘CLINGING’ TO UMET EXPECTATIONS
How often do things in our lives go ‘exactly’ as we planned? (Even a run to the grocery store never turns out to be quite as we imagined.) The thing is, many of us plan out every ‘nuance’ and run through every imaginable scenario in their mind trying to create expectations as a way to feel in control of those situations. The reality is this: We all have LITTLE or no control over any of it! What will happen is going to happen regardless of how well we have planned, and worrying about the future only causes anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong: planning IS a good thing. It is beneficial to be organized and to have certain things planned out. For example, it is helpful to make plans such as making restaurant reservations and sending invitations for your child’s birthday party. However, when we set expectations of how that party should turn out and who should show up, we set ourselves up for disappointment. We are not doing ourselves any favors when we ‘cling’ to those unmet expectations.

Imagine that you are carrying a massive rock, such as the ones surfers use for underwater training. When you cling to that rock with all your might, you sink to the bottom of the ocean. If you stay there long enough, you will drown. You have to let go of the rock to swim to the surface for air. Now, imagine that rock is the expectations you hold on to regarding any given thing in your life. How hard are you clinging to them? If you are not letting go, do you feel that sinking feeling in your chest? Do you feel like you are ‘drowning’?

SO, the big question is, how do you react when those things don’t ‘pan out’ the way you planned? Do you get all ‘bent out of shape’ and let the disappointment ‘drown’ you? Are you letting unmet expectations and disappointments ‘crush’ your spirit? Or, are you allowing that crushed spirit to turn into a bitterness that poisons the ‘well’ of your ‘heart’?

HOW TO ‘CONTROL’ EXPECTATIONS
When your expectations outpace reality, it often means you DON’T ‘APPRECIATE’ what you do have. Instead, you may find yourself expecting more or comparing what you do have to what you don’t have.

For example, one study found that participants who were exposed to a subliminal reminder of wealth spent less time savoring a chocolate bar and exhibited less enjoyment of the experience than other subjects who were not reminded of wealth.

Gratitude is all about appreciating the things you do have instead of lamenting the things that you don’t have. Research has found that practicing gratitude and working actively savor the moment can have a positive effect on subjective well-being and happiness.

The thing is, expectations can get the ‘better of you’ when you expect more than what is ‘realistic’ in a given situation. You might expect your partner to live up to what you see in romance films, your job to be the ‘idealized’ versions you had as a child, or even your life to match up with what you see on Instagram.

Your expectations can create significant ‘stress’ when they don’t match up with reality. Consider how social media can greatly contribute to this. You compare our own worst moments (those not deemed to be shareable online) to others’ best moments, which very often are ‘filtered’ to seem perfect.

You may not even realize this mismatched comparison. (This may be part of why those who spend more time on social media tend to be less happy.)

At least for me, when my expectations go unfulfilled I am not at peace, feel joyful, nor am I particularly satisfied. At this point, other negative emotions are usually in control and my heart is far from God. However, when the heart is ‘in sync’ with God’s heart, there is peace, joy, and satisfaction

So, rather than being shaken by the collapse of my false expectations and limited ideas about God, I take great comfort that God is WAY beyond what I can imagine, and He will continually shatter my sense of what I really need to be ‘happy’.

People are surprisingly bad at predicting what will make them happy. This means that one’s expectations might cause them to think that achieving certain goals will bring them joy and contentment, but because these predictions are often wrong, they just might pursue the wrong goals.

Their expectations for their lives may be unrealistic and skewed based on what they think others have. (Remember that all of our perspectives of what others have is limited and biased.)

So, if one finds that their expectations are not being met, it is important to take a step back and assess the situation and try to understand why it happened and what they can do differently in the future. (Remember that expectations are just beliefs—they are not always reality.)

BELIEVERS HAVING ‘REALISTIC’ EXPECTATIONS
William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache,” and that is good advice! We need to have ‘realistic’ expectations of what our life will be like as a believer. People who expect one thing and receive something different often become disillusioned and give up—something a ‘real’ believer must never do!

Many Christians ‘fall away’ because Christianity does not turn out to be what they thought when they originally made their commitment. They think that after they became a Christian, “Okay, everything is going to be better from here on out!” HOWEVER, that IS NOT a promise of God! [ The thing is, Jesus actually mentions it will be the opposite of that—persecution (John 15:18) ].

It is easy to have ‘false’ expectations of what Jesus will do for us. There is an episode in the life of John the Baptist where he appears to struggle with his expectations of Jesus. John is preaching that justice is about to be served and the “coming wrath” will soon break on the enemies of God. John expected Jesus to be the Deliverer of Israel, and he is very excited to see it happen. However, a little later—as John is wasting away in prison (Matthew 11:2)—this “Messiah” is preaching around the countryside, healing people, and taking boat rides. John begins to question his assumptions. He starts to wonder if this is really THE Messiah after all, and then sends messengers to Jesus asking, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” [ Matthew 11:3 ]. The obvious question that seems to follow is, “If you are the ‘Coming One,’ then why am I about to die here in this prison?”

Well, Jesus had failed to meet HIS expectations. John, like every Jew, was looking for a “Messiah” who, as king and military leader, would crush the Romans and drive them out of Israel, restoring Israel to the great nation it was long ago. When that didn’t look like that was going to happen, doubt crept in. John was having serious doubts spring up because his circumstances were not meeting his expectations. What John expected was NOT matching his reality.

Now, it might sound incredibly harsh to you but, we sometimes have unrealistically high expectations of Jesus and of what Christianity should ‘do’ for us. One’s expectations are usually disappointed because of the circumstances in which they find themselves, since they expect that, if they believe and live right, they will experience a life of ease.

Now, you may live a life of ease, and everything may be wonderful every day of your life after you become a Christian. However, or you may suffer daily (Like Joni EarecksonTada). You may be even being ’tortured’, like many were in the first century (Peter was beaten and jailed – Acts 5:41). In America, we do not often suffer now as Christians, but that does not mean we will not in the future. We may be called to suffer from time to time, but are NOT usually called to endure hardship with an unwavering faith like Job in the Bible (James 5:11)—although this WILL happen in the “Great Tribulation,” so GET ‘SAVED’ NOW!

[ FYI: For more details on the “Great Tribulation,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ].

God never ‘promised’ to give us our reward(s) in this life, though some believers do experience some of them here. However, He DOES promise to reward us in the NEXT ‘LIFE’ (“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” Revelation 22:12). The thing is, we want and expect both, but that IS NOT the arranged ’deal’—which causes ‘unnecessary’ disappointment.

Heaven is the place of ‘rest’, but earth is a place of ‘work’—and the work is not always easy. Now, while we are on earth, God does have expectations for us. He expects us to trust Him and to obey Him in this life, and if we do, He has a ‘reward’ waiting for us that is BEYOND our comprehension. (God calls us to a life of challenge, not a life of ease.)

So, DO NOT expect to become a Christian and have everything magically become easier. It may, but it may also get much, much harder (which Jesus said would be more of the ‘norm’ – John 6:33).

However, if you have ‘realistic’ expectations of Christianity—and you never quit—you WILL receive the actual reward that is promised to you (Luke 6:23). In times of great disappointment or pain, one should turn TOWARD God, not away from Him (Starting with Eve, it has always been the Devil’s ‘game’ to create false expectations.) You may not live ‘happily’ here on earth, BUT the reward of being a Christian is that you will live “happily ever after” (Revelation 21:4).

SO, go for it! Develop some expectations that ‘push’ your capabilities beyond what you are comfortable with, but don’t ‘pin’ ALL your hopes on those plans—leave ‘room’ for God to ‘redirect’ you in a BETTER ‘WAY’! Motivational speaker Denis Waitley well said: “Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

Then, don’t let unrealized expectations ‘crush’ your spirit and ‘poison’ your attitude toward other people—and especially God! Be appreciative for what you have and anticipate what God just may provide in the future—especially for your salvation if you are not yet a believer!

As a believer, you need to TRUST God for what he deems the best for you and be PATIENT for ‘when’ it be fulfilled. This REDUCES ‘ANXIETY’ (Philippians 4.6-7) and provides the ‘BEST’ LIFE you could even imagine here on earth—having excitement for all the ‘good’ you will experience that you could have NEVER ‘IMAGINED’!: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose [ Romans 8:28 ].

So, don’t let your ‘unrealistic’ expectations ‘ROB’ you of fully appreciating the ‘PEACE’ of realistic expectations—ESPECIALLY when it comes to ’evaluating’ God’s sovereign plans for you!

Getting ‘MAD’ at God for not fulfilling ‘your’ expectations is a waste of time and will just ‘delay’ the BEST He has for you!

[ Excerpts by: Travis Bradberry; Jennifer Delgado; Ruthie Hast; Tim Hast; Ekua Hagan; John A. Johnson; Alli Worthington; Ben Silliman; Tony Fahkry; Emily Woods; Brenda Gil; Dhruvi Modil; Sylvia Smith; Tony Robbins; Elizabeth Scott; Luke Norsworthy; Carol Cuppy; Megan Bailey; Keith Kettenring; Randy Alcorn; Sue Bohlin; Travis Harmon ]

RELATED POSTS:

Realistic ‘Expectations’:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/realistic-expectations-v281/

Mad At The ‘World’:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mad-at-the-world-v280/

“Why Bother With ‘Predictions’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/why-bother-with-predictions-v279/

“‘Fearful’ Of World War III?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/fearful-of-world-war-III-v278/

“‘Investigating’ Something”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/investigating-something-v277/

“‘HOW’ To Prepare To Meet Someone Important”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/how-to-prepare-to-meet-someone-important-v276/

“‘WHY’ Does Someone Return?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/why-does-someone-return-v275/

“‘WHEN’ Will Something Important Happen?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/when-will-something-important-happen-v274/

“‘WHERE’ You Return To”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/where-you-return-to-v273/

“‘WHAT’ Have You Done Lately?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-have-you-done-lately-v272/

“It’s ‘WHO’ You Know”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/its-who-you-know-v271/

“What Really ‘Matters’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/

“A Sense Of ‘Urgency’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-sense-of-urgency-v269/

“The ‘Final’ Deception”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-final-deception-v268/

“The ‘Ongoing’ Deception”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-ongoing-deception-v267/

“Being ‘Discerning’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-discerning-v266/

“Gaining A Deep ‘Understanding’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/gaining-a-deep-understanding-v264/

“‘Presence’ Withdrawn?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/presence-withdrawn-v257/

“‘Protection’ Removed?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/protection-removed-v256/

“Got Your ‘Attention’ Yet?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/got-your-attention-yet-v255/

“Are You ‘Blind’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/

“‘Heed’ The Warning!”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/heed-the-warning-v251/

“Being A ‘Watchman’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/

“Last ‘Generation’:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249/

“Mankind’s ‘Destiny’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/

“‘Final’ Tribulation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/

“‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/

“Ready For ‘Battle’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/ready-for-battle-v235/

“‘Saved’ From Death”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/saved-from-death-v219/

“‘Mayday!-Mayday!-Mayday’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mayday-mayday-mayday-v218/

“Are You ‘Prepared’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-prepared-v210/

“‘Trusted’ Prophecies”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/trusted-prophecies-v167/

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus. [ See Psalm 51 ].

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance (Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].


<<< RESOURCES >>>


Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life
By: Christine Hassler

When our expectations are met and things go according to plan, we feel accomplished, in control, and on track. But when life does not live up to our expectations, we end up with an Expectation Hangover.

Expectation Hangovers happen when a desired result is not met, an outcome is achieved but it does not give us the feelings we thought it would, life throws us a curveball, or we simply do not feel we are living up to the expectations placed upon us (by ourselves or others). Expectations are pervasive in our lives; therefore, so is disappointment, which costs us valuable time and energy if not treated effectively.

Whether you are facing a loss, going through a life transition, or want to learn how to stop setting so many expectations, this book gives you a treatment plan for how to process Expectation Hangovers on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels.

Using powerful exercises, guided meditations, and inspiring true stories, Christine teaches you how use Expectation Hangovers as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You’ll understand why your Expectation Hangover happened and a clear course of action to pursue your goals while preventing future disappointment.


Uncomfortable Conversations: Intentions, Expectations and Decisions
By: Robert Malloy

I am a self-proclaimed Relationship Realist. You may ask yourself what qualifies me to write a book? Well, the truth is I have lived a little more life than the average person. I do not shy away from new experiences because of the knowledge that you are bound to receive is valuable. I have experienced several types of relationships, to include marriage. After my last divorce, I started a platform called GiGi Afterdark, as a social media group to create a safe space for some much-needed conversations between the sexes. Uncomfortable Conversations: Intentions, Expectations, and Decisions – within Relationships is a short conversation from my point of view of the importance in understanding how these three things play a major part in our relationships. This is based on my own personal experiences and is the first in the Uncomfortable Conversations Series.


Unspoken Expectations
By: Linda D. Anderson PhD, Sonia R. Banks PhD, and Michele L. Owens PhD

Silent Agreements will help readers define the unspoken beliefs and expectations that might be causing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and resentment in their relationships, giving them the tools to explore these agreements and work toward healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member.

If you have relationships, you’ve likely been part of silent agreements. Silent agreements are the implicit “rules” of your relationships that arise from unspoken beliefs and expectations that both parties hold, stemming from your earliest experiences and reinforced as you mature. They can sound something like “The person who makes more money should pay for the dates,” or “My boss doesn’t offer me a raise, and he knows I won’t ask for one.” These agreements can hinder your relationships, remaining undiscussed due to fear, aversion to conflict, feelings of obligation, or guilt. Because expectations so rarely line up and neither person will address the issue, a silent agreement can cause unhappiness and resentment on both sides.

Clinical psychologists Drs. Anderson, Banks, and Owens will help you explore your agreements and work towards healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member. In the process, you’ll learn more about your own motivations and how to dismantle the the beliefs that don’t serve you. With guidelines and advice on how to have productive conversations about sex, money, commitment, family, the workplace, and health, this book will help you lift the silence and resolve those land-mine issues before they do irreparable damage.


Not So Great Expectations: A Relationship Exercise For All Couples In Love
By: Richard Fruncillo MD PhD

Humans are emotional beings. Because of this, we search out interaction and connection with one another in an effort to develop deeper, more committed relationships. And there is one incontrovertible fact regarding these types of relationships: they require work. Too often, we commit to them with the best of intentions but the worst of preparation. We carry with us expectations based on our own viewpoint, and when confronted with a differing view, our unfulfilled expectations of our partner’s behavior can cause major problems. The key, then, is to prepare. But how? Based on a lifetime of observation, trial and error, and self-growth, author Richard Fruncillo, MD, PhD, has created the ultimate interactive, self-help guide for all new or blossoming couples looking to forge a mutual bond of respect. By building communication bridges and methods of understanding, Dr. Fruncillo helps expose opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints in a positive, supportive light. Consisting of two identical sections, the book provides exercises that ask important life questions on a variety of topics in order to ensure long-term compatibility and a positive, mutually fulfilling relationship, such as: past relationships, money, employment, relatives, religion, house/home life, shopping, addictions, intimacy, and politics. In the end, it’s not about winning the argument over the questions asked, or fighting over why you differ from your partner over the issues. It’s about creating win-win results so that you both come away feeling good about the compromise you come to together, about each other, and about your relationship. A treasure trove of issue, belief, and viewpoint questions that exposes inner truths in a compassionate and healing manner while providing plenty of room for intimacy-building discussion, Not So Great Expectations: A Relationship Exercise for All Couples in Love may change your relationship—and your life—into the best, most fulfilling emotional journey it can be!


Unreasonable Expectations
By: Phyllis Arnett and Jeff Taylor

Unreasonable Expectations answers the question: “Why are we settling for relationships that bring us disappointment?” We don’t have to live with it! The solution isn’t more money, sex, or communication. They are the provocative symptoms. Jeff Taylor and Phyllis Arnett explore how expectations shape all relationships.


“Managing Expectations In A Relationship: Effective and proven strategies on how to manage, adjust and handle your standards as well as cope with the high standards and expectations of your partner”
By: Sarah Munroe

“Married or Single ?……’MANAGING EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP’ will give you an edge above who you were prior to when you didn’t read this book……it’s a guarantee”

Even after the greatest occasion of that nuptial meeting where you were engulfed in such a euphoric feeling that seemed as though no friction will ever occur in that relationship, the reality of the human ‘flaw’ will surface.

Your verbal vows and decision to be sacrificially committed to the relationship will be challenged by no one else than your partner. Especially when it comes to the expectations, assumptions and certain school of thought your environment (and your partner’s) has shaped you to become.

While some of these ‘standards’ are unrealistic assumptions, others are very good, worthy and valuable expectations that will help one actualize the very purpose of his/her existence in the environment they have or will happen to find themselves as will be revealed in this book

Managing Expectations In A Relationship will help you cement and appreciate the values in your life and your partner’s life; identify thethin border line between unrealistic assumptions and valuable expectations; manage, tolerate and help your partner that is growing up to match your expectations; and also help you adjust within the shortest time possible to the seemingly high expectations your partner is demanding from you.

The author has also revealed what you should do if things happen not to or at least promises not to work out.

This is one book all couples, intending couples and any one who is looking forward to getting into a relationship should read as the result-guaranteed steps in it are practicable and implementable under any condition.


Great Expectations
By: Charles Dickens

Great Expectations is set among marshes in Kent and in London in the early to mid-1800s. The novel depicts the personal development of Philip Pirrip, an orphan nicknamed Pip. It has a cast of other characters who have entered popular culture: the bitter and excentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful Estella, the generous blacksmith Joe Gargery and Abel Magwitch, the very human convict.

Pip lives with his older short-tempered sister, Georgiana Maria, and her husband, Joe. One day, while visiting the graves of his mother, father and siblings, Pip, who is about seven years old, encounters the escaped convict Magwitch. Soon after, he visits the mysterious Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter, Estella. Both events will impact his later life. Confronted with changes and desires, Pip is eager to grow, learn and achieve even what seems hopelessly beyond his reach…
Great Expectations is Charles Dickens’s last completed novel, a work of his artistic maturity and a classic of Victorian literature.

Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language. —John Irving


How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations
By: Max Lucado

These are tough times. Amid global isolation, economic downturn, and social unrest, could you use a dose of happy right about now? Learn the secret to lasting joy that will endure through any season of life.

In How Happiness Happens, Max Lucado shares the unexpected path to a lasting happiness, one that produces reliable joy amidst any life circumstance. Based on the teachings of Jesus and backed by modern research, this book presents a surprising but practical way of living that will change you from the inside out.

In this book, Max will help you discover:

– Happiness is not selfish
– People are a joy
– There is strength in choice
– Happiness happens when you give it away

What are you waiting for? Open the unexpected door to joy and walk in. There’s no better day than today to start your happiest life yet.


Expectation, Disappointment & Hope
By: Stan Rayford

“Life is largely a matter of expectation.” Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), who coined the phrase “Carpe diem” or “Seize the day,” seems to suggest that from the moment we rise each morning to the moment we lay down to sleep, we are filled with expectation. Yet, others would disagree asserting that it is best to live without expectations in order to avoid painful disappointment. I submit to you that we can neither live without expectation or disappointment. So, that leaves us with the need to learn to manage our expectations and minimize disappointment. That’s what this book aims to do. At the completion of your reading, you should understand the essence of expectation; the levels of expectation; with whom you should place your expectations; and when to stick your neck out in expectation. Further, if at the outset of your reading you subscribed to life with “no expectations,” perhaps at your completion you will be free to more safely expect again. Stan Rayford has over 20 years of experience as pastor of Restoration Fellowship Tabernacle of Detroit and as a licensed professional counselor. He has earned an MA in Theological Studies and a second MA in Pastoral Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of South Carolina.


Kingdom Relationships: Connecting, Expectations & Conflict Resolution
By: Bishop Benjamin Harrison Jr.

The relationships we establish in the kingdom of God are very important, and no matter the gift you are given to be in the kingdom of God or the office or role you and I are placed in we must handle these offices and roles from a place of wisdom and understanding of God’s purpose for those relationships.The bible refers to those of us in the church as family and with that understanding we must operate as a family without ruining the plan and purpose of God by taking lightly and abusing these relationships.Through analogy we will see how there can be stark differences between our natural family teachings and the way the Lord teaches us to treat each other when we come into the family of Christ.We will discuss ways to use wisdom to enter into these spiritual relationships to ensure we are connected and dwell with each other with understanding. We should know what to expect from one another as well how to resolve conflicts as they arise in our new spiritual family.


MAXIMIZE YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Let Your Faith & Expectations Work Together
By: Candy LaFlora

We all expect one thing or another every day, throughout the day, even if we expect nothing at all. I know I do. Expectations are the direct result of what we believe, whether good or bad, true or false. Unfortunately, many are programmed by the world’s system to expect the worse in order to avoid disappointment, though the best is just as likely to happen.
But, of course, that’s not you.


God over Good: Saving Your Faith by Losing Your Expectations of God
By: Luke Norsworthy

It’s hard to say that God is good when God isn’t always what we expect good to be. A good father wouldn’t make it so difficult to get to know him, would he? And if God is all-powerful, wouldn’t he ensure that we never suffered? Either our understanding of God is incorrect, or our definition of good is inadequate.

In a world that is messy and a church that is imperfect, it’s easy to let our faith be lost. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose God. It means we must consider the fact that perhaps our idealized expectations are just plain wrong. With transparency about his own struggles with cynicism and doubt, pastor Luke Norsworthy helps frustrated Christians and skeptics trade their confinement of God in an anemic definition of good for confidence in the God who is present in everything, including our suffering.


The Expectations of God
By: Kelvin T Darden

Living up to people’s expectations is never a good idea. As a Christian, I myself had to learn that you can’t make everyone happy, because what one person likes, another may dislike the same thing. As Christians, we need to do the things that are pleasing to God. We need to know what’s expected of him. However, Christians seem to try to please people more than God.


Waiting on God: Spending Time in His Presence in Silence, Stillness & Expectation
By: Michael Van Vlymen

What does it take to see the unseen and to hear God’s voice clearly? How does one walk in the gifts of the Holy Spirit consistently so that we can impact the world around us? What is the elusive secret that some people seem to know that allows them to walk in the supernatural things of God?Waiting on God in silence, stillness and expectation will position you to sense, hear and see His presence, power and direction in your life like never before. Take 30 days and add waiting to your prayer time and you’ll be convinced, it’s worth it to wait on God. In this book, Waiting on God, we learn that the answers to all these questions are found in His presence. There is a scripture that says if we draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to us. Isn’t it time we set aside our agenda to spend time in His presence? He’s waiting…


The Problem of Pain
By: C. S. Lewis

In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis, one of the most renowned Christian authors and thinkers, examines a universally applicable question within the human condition: “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?” With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungering for a true understanding of human nature.


A Grief Observed
By: C. S. Lewis

A classic work on grief, A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moments,” A Grief Observed an unflinchingly truthful account of how loss can lead even a stalwart believer to lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and the inspirational tale of how he can possibly regain his bearings.


If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil
By: Randy Alcorn

Enjoy a great reading experience when you buy the Kindle edition of this book. Learn more about Great on Kindle, available in select categories.
View Kindle Edition
Suffering is, in the end, God’s invitation to trust him.

“As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.” –Publishers Weekly
Every one of us will experience suffering. You may be in such a time now. We see the presence of evil in the headlines every day.

It all raises questions about God—Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? How can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

But in this illuminating book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, hopeful, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world—now and forever. And he shows the beauty of God’s sovereignty—how it ultimately triumphs over suffering and evil in our lives and the world around us.


Happiness
By: Randy Alcorn

2017 ECPA Christian Book Award Finalist (Christian Living category)
Christians are supposed to be happy. In fact, we are supposed to radiate joy, peace, and contentment that is so unmistakable and so attractive that others are naturally drawn to us because they want what we have. And yet, in today’s culture, the vast majority of Christians are perceived as angry, judgmental people who don’t seem to derive any joy from life whatsoever. So why aren’t we happy?

Unfortunately, many Christians are taught early on that God doesn’t want us to be happy (he wants us to be holy). In fact, many Christians are laboring under the false notion that God himself is not happy. But nothing could be further from the truth! God does want us to be happy. The Bible is filled with verses that prove that ours is a happy, joy-filled God who not only loves celebrations but also desperately wants his children to be happy. Why else would He go to the lengths He did to ensure our eternal happiness in His presence? We know that we will experience unimaginable joy and happiness in Heaven, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also experience joy and happiness here on earth.

In Happiness, noted theologian Randy Alcorn dispels centuries of misconceptions about happiness and provides indisputable proof that God not only wants us to be happy, He commands it. The most definitive study on the subject of happiness to date, this book is a paradigm-shifting wake-up call for the church and Christians everywhere.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

SPECIAL ‘GENERAL’ RESOURCE

ApologetiX Songbook
(An interactive PDF)

It features the lyrics to every song on every CD and every “download” from 1993-2020

Special features:

  • indexed by title, original song, original artist, subject, and Bible verse
  • each song’s page has icons showing what albums it appears on
  • each song’s page has a commentary from lyricist J. Jackson
  • each album’s page includes liner notes and track listing
  • print any pages you like or use for slides in church
  • photos from ApologetiX’s debut concert in 1992
  • discography of out-of-print cassettes
  • downloadable in PDF format

New features in this edition:

  • all song commentaries from J. Jackson updated and expanded
  • also indexed by year when original song spoofed was a hit
  • J.’s original handwritten rough lyrics to 40 ApX classics
  • scads of photos from ApX 25th-anniversary concerts
  • list of 40 ApX parodies most likely to be redone
  • over 200 new parodies and journal entries
  • list of the first ApX concerts in each state
  • six new full-length feature articles
  • DVD discography and synopses
  • never-before-seen rare photos
  • lyrics for over 700 parodies
  • over 1000 pages!

Interactive features:

  • click on any page number in indexes or TOC to go to that page
  • click on any album icon to go to its liner notes and track listings
  • click on any song title on an album page to go to that song

Note: This e-book is a download-only and doesn’t include sheet music.

The songbook is available for a donation of $50 or more. After we receive your donation, we’ll send you a follow-up email with the link.

Get the Songbook for a donation:
http://www.apologetix.com/store/store.php#songbook

Songbook Demo Video: https://rumble.com/vfazhl-apologetix-songbook-2020-demo.html


“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]


“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEBSITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]


[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about why God allows ‘bad’ things to happen to ‘good’ people, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html ].


<<< ARTICLES >>>


Expectations: Where do they come from?

Every relationship comes with expectations
Commitment to any task comes with expectations about it: hopes for yourself, others, and outcomes of working together. Marriage and couples relationships are no different: in every relationship, we hold certain hopes about…

Ourselves: “I do my share…show I care…am not stubborn…”
(If our self-image doesn’t match our partner’s view, there’s trouble ahead!)

A partner: “I thought you’d stay slim, sacrificing, and easy-going.”
(If expectations are static, self-centered, or unrealistic, conflicts will come)

The relationship: “It’s not fair to ask for this commitment if we’re just living together.” (We all have ideas about what certain arrangements will be like)

A shared future: “I thought once we married, we’d always be happy.”
(These assumptions affect the present and future)

Where expectations come from

Through our growing-up years, we learn attitudes and beliefs about partnerships and marriage. Most influences are unintentional (role modeled/observed, interpreted ‘between the lines’ from comments or conversations overheard), while others are explained (i.e., why budgeting is important and how to do it) or legally required (i.e., you can only be legally married to one person at a time). Much of what we learn about marriage or relationships in general comes from:

Family of origin (parent/grandparent models, attitudes among relatives, siblings)
Society (friends, neighborhood, school or church, TV/media)
Personal experiences and preferences (hurts, happenings, and hopes)
Expectations aren’t all bad
Some of the examples above illustrate the “down-side” of disappointed expectations. “Expecting the best” may guide and inspire couples to work toward an ideal, rather than settling for whatever happens…or cynically believing there’s no hope. The less you expect…the less you’re likely to get…the less you expect.

Think about it:

If couples discussed all their expectations for all areas of their relationship before they decided to date or marry, they’d never break up (they’d still be talking after they retired, and negotiations would put the relationship permanently on hold!)

Types of Expectations

Attitudes and assumptions which flow from observations and experiences and shape the course of relationships include:

Practical concerns: household roles, money and credit, sex, leisure, faith, friendships, in-law relationships, parenting, communication and conflict resolution, as they translate into everyday concerns:
“We went hiking like you wanted last weekend. Can’t we go to a concert like I want this weekend?” (how we spend our time)
Relationship issues: individual identity/freedom, stability/change, closeness/distance, leadership/follwership, intential goals/spontaneity:
“Why do we always have to plan our free time? Can’t we just be spontaneous?”
Deep needs/beliefs: affection, belongingness, control; personal growth and healing; principles, morals, ethics:
“It’s only fair that we should equally decide how to spend leisure time.
All levels of expectations are related to each other and to each partner’s commitment. However, disappointments at the practical level can easily be over-blown as relationship or basic needs conflicts. Hurts or rigid beliefs at a deep level can produce exaggerated demands for agreement or perfect behavior over practical and relationship issues. Consensus on important expectations at each level, with a willingness to work through differences is critical to creating “workable” expectations.
Exercises

Take a minute to list three expectations each for yourself, your partner, your relationship, and your future. Review your own ideas as if your partner had written them (are they realistic? Selfish?), then exchange ideas with your partner and discuss what they mean, where they came from, and why they are important. Try this for each practical issue.

Describe the behaviors which meet your deep needs for affection, belongingness, and control (influence, not domination!). Then for a week or two, make a conscious (and creative) effort to practice behaviors with each other which meet these deep needs. Scheduled “acts of kindness” (“coming home” greetings, for instance) as well as spontaneous good will are O.K.

Developed by Ben Silliman, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Family Life Specialist

Expectations: Coming to consensus
Most of us being partnerships with general assumptions about the kind of person we like, what activities fit our interests or values, and how we expect to be treated. Maybe those assumptions are fantasy, maybe they are based on caring, honest, long-term relationships. Most of the time, so long as we feel good and are getting along, we don’t stop to think or talk about what we expect. Unfortunately, when we’re surprised or hurt by unmet expectations, we’re in no mood to talk. Relationships which survive and grow begin the expectations talk early and use differences as ways to better understand and cooperate.

Lest we expect more of a partner than is warranted, it pays to remember that…

Expectations are mostly unstated

Some assumptions we could easily describe:

“He should be tall, dark, and handsome…she should not talk too much…”
(but most of what we expect goes unstated…even unconscious)

Most expectations we take for granted because they are familiar or convenient:

His not thinking about doing dishes because his father never did them

Avoiding jobs like balancing the checkbook or cleaning the toilet because
they are unpleasant (and if your partner does them, you don’t have to think
about it)

Some we discover and adjust as we grow together:
“At first I thought that watching kids was the wife’s job…Now I enjoy it as
much as she does.” (Change in expectations marks maturation)

Expectations are powerful

Since expectations are tied to feelings and experiences as well as ideas

…rewards can be pretty high when expectations are fulfilled and

…disappointment pretty intense when expectations are not met

To build on the positives and learn from disappointments

…expect each other to work at the partnership

…and be flexible in

Healthy Expectations

Expectations which are realistic and shared help individuals and partnerships grow.

Realistic Expectations: Each individual and couple has their own idea of what is reasonable (and that changes over time), but overall two factors are important:

Appropriate—respectful, fair, compassionate, fitting for the age of the partners and stage of their relationship
Playful teasing may be O.K.; personal insults or continued teasing when a partner asks you to quit does not show respect.
Each partner taking all the cooking or yard work to match interests or talents, contributing equally overall is O.K.; One person doing (or directing) every task while the other plays lazy or helpless does not show fairness.
Insisting on a lifestyle far beyond income is never realistic; living more modestly in order to save or invest prudently for the future probably is.
Flexible—openness, patience, and imagination in discussing and fulfilling expectations promotes growth, rigidness fosters conflict
Willingness to hear new ideas, accept the person even when disagreeing with an idea or behavior, appreciate effort without expecting perfection creates a climate of trust and cooperation
Ability to brainstorm, see humor, or creatively reduce tension helps partners work together to meet inevitable challenges
Accountable—effort in fulfilling promises and showing respect and flexibility should be matched with honesty and integrity in asking a partner to fulfill agreements he/she has made to you
Patience may be a virtue, but always waiting longer, doing something for a partner, apologizing, or giving up your dream doesn’t build partnership
Shared Expectations: Communicating what is desired and building consensus on expectations is most likely to happen with:
Planning ahead—discussing issues in a relaxed, non-stressed climate allows partners to work out differences and set common goals.
Conflict resolution—using structured rules such as turn-taking, paraphrasing, time out, compromise, and consensus-building, couples can find common ground and reach higher levels of trust and cooperation
Expectations and Investments: High aspirations precede higher rewards and greater rewards lead to greater investments. What’s the pattern in your relationships?
Exercises

Using experiences/remembrances in the families in which you grew up, discuss:

Expectations of men and women (power, partnership, communication, work and household responsibilities)
Explore what you learned, how that influences feelings/views of self and partner, what you need to do similarly/differently. Experiment with new tasks or learn how to do a shared task together (painting the house, installing computer software) and reflect on how flexibility in skills reduces stress and increases abilities of both partners. If necessary use “chore” lists and “encouragement” notes to help change to new habits.
Try the same discussion for other practical issues (parenting, money, sex)

Expectations: Staying Optimistic
When expectations remain unmet and extra efforts drain energy and enthusiasm, partners may be tempted to give up, blame each other, or become pessimistic about their future. Attitudes and performance are constantly changing—often unintentionally through stress or circumstances—so expectations constantly need readjusting. Moment-by-moment and month-by-month adjustments which “expect the best” give relationship a better chance of success than “expecting the worst.”

The way persons think about experiences really can influence their ability to influence relationships for the good. Key factors in staying optimistic are:

Permanence: Take heart in the good and let go of the bad
When expectations are met, credit your partner with good faith and capability
-“Thanks for picking up the milk—you’re so reliable.” (vs. “Well, you remembered for once.”)

If hopes are disappointed, see it as temporary or changeable
-“Oh, oh. Looks like our bank account is down this month.” (vs. “Why are you overspending again.” [This also avoids the embarrassment of discovering that it was your purchase that put the budget in the red.])

Pervasiveness: Build on the good and don’t let bad things snowball
When expectations are met, use the momentum to change for the good
-“I appreciate your talking that out—now we know what time each of us needs.” (vs. “We are getting better at hanging in there in spite of the stress.”)

If hopes are disappointed, leave room for another chance
-“I know this is upsetting. Maybe we should calm down, think it over, and make a

time to talk it out when we’re more relaxed.” (vs. “Why bother with this again—you always blow up.”)

Personalization
When expectations are met, credit yourself and your partner
-“I like to give you sweet surprises and I think I’m pretty good at it.” (vs. “Well, I finally found something that makes you happy.”)

If hopes are disappointed, leave room for another chance
-“Can I try to explain it again?.” (vs. “You never care what I think.”)

[ Ben Silliman ]


“Danger of Expectations”

Do you and your partner constantly bicker? Sure, maybe they’re not over-the-top arguments, but you can’t help yourself from continuing to pick at each other. It seems like the smallest thing sets you or your partner off, and you can’t understand why.

The underlying reason for this tension could be mismatched relationship expectations. Expectations in a relationship differ from person to person, and can cause major problems if not addressed. Issues start to arise when you assume your partner has the same expectations in a relationship that you do. You think to yourself, “Everyone knows how to load the dishwasher.” You don’t have a discussion with your partner about your expectation on the matter, and then when they complete the task in a different way than you would, you find yourself getting irritated. The thing is, no two people do things the same way. Your partner has no way of knowing your relationship expectations unless you talk to them about it.

It only takes a small change for a relationship to become joyful and stable again – it involves changing your mindset. What if instead of getting angry at your partner over relationship expectations, you shifted your mindset and started appreciating them instead?

Think about all the reasons why you were drawn to your partner in the first place. Maybe they’re a great listener. Perhaps you enjoyed their lust for life or their interest in your favorite sports teams. Go back to that initial attraction and try to put all those good qualities your partner possesses at the forefront of your mind, instead of focusing on the negatives.

Yes, your partner may not load the dishwasher the way you like it to be done, but at least they help around the house! Look for the good in a situation when you feel yourself being drawn toward bickering. Holding your partner accountable for unreasonable relationship expectations does nothing to further your relationship – it only drives a wedge between the two of you.

In order to create a long-term happy and loving relationship, you need to focus on the positive. As Tony Robbins says, “Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.”

[ Tony Robbins ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apef5yy7FCE


“Why we’re unhappy — the expectation gap”

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Why are we getting richer but not happier? Why do lottery winners not have sustained happiness? Why are bronze medalists often happier than silver medalists? “The first step to being happy is to understand why we’re often unhappy,” says economist and entrepreneur Nat Ware. In an entertaining and enlightening talk, Nat shows that we’re bad predictors of happiness, and explains why this is. We make decisions based on actual outcomes, Nat says, but our happiness depends on relative outcomes. We’ve been seduced into a way of life that conspires against our contentment by making it near impossible for reality to live up to our expectations. It is this expectation gap – the gap between our expectations and reality – that Nat argues is a key reason we’re unhappy. Nat challenges us to not relegate happiness to the world of art and the realm of hippies, but to start taking happiness seriously. The answer is not to simply lower our expectations, but rather to change the very way in which we make decisions.

[ Nat Ware ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiUq8i9pbE


“Do You Have Unreasonable Relationship Expectations?”

Advice: Dating Advice: Relationship John Gray
In the beginning, there is excitement, ease, and flow. He asks questions. He plans dates. He makes sweet gestures of love and appreciation.

You see so much potential for the relationship to grow!
Then, something shifts. You start to question, did I pick the wrong guy?
What changed?

In this post, I share why men and women often have different relationship expectations, how he perceives the situation (hint: he still cares), and how to bridge the gap and reignite those early sparks so you can both continue to grow in love.

The biggest struggle in my relationships is that I’m always picking men with potential, but they never live up to my expectations.

I realized this is my problem.

How can I change this pattern?

– Blair

You Fell in Love With His Potential. Was It a Mistake?

A lot of women struggle with this issue.

You see the potential in a man and you get excited about it.

But then, you end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.

Naturally, you start to question your judgment.

He was so kind and giving at first. Did I make the right choice?

And even: He used to do these sweet little things, without me asking. Does he not love me anymore?

When you are not getting those things, there’s a trap that women fall into.

You start thinking:

If he loved me, he would do those things.
I shouldn’t have to ask for them.
He should just want to do those things.

You develop relationship expectations that he will know what to do and say to make you happy. Because he used to.

But those expectations are actually unrealistic, and they can sabotage you from getting the fulfilling love you want in a relationship.

To understand how your expectations play a role in this dynamic, first, we need to explore how and why we are different.

So, you can finally say, “Okay, now that I understand him better, I know how I can bring back all those wonderful things he did in the beginning.”

Women Create Relationship Expectations Based on a Man’s Potential

Women have an innate ability to see a man’s potential. Women have natural genes and hormones that allow them to give birth.

When you have a baby, you give birth to a child — and all of their unlimited potential.

You’re loving this baby. You’re caring for them. You see their potential.

You know that one day they’ll be able to:

Talk
Walk
Say their name

You have this understanding that it takes time for a baby to develop.

It hasn’t happened yet, but you can see it.

There are even classes today which explain to mothers exactly at what age things will develop:

It takes this much time for them to learn how to stand
That much time for them to crawl
That much time to develop a full step

And because they’re a baby, you don’t experience frustration.

You have what I might say is an appropriate expectation that it takes time for things to develop.

When you’re in the early stages of a relationship with a man, however, it’s different. He’s doing all the right things, right off the bat — everything you’ve wanted.

Sweet little things like:

You talk to him on the phone. He calls you back. You get excited, “Oh, he’s called me back. Maybe there’s going to be a relationship here!”
You want to meet. He plans a date. He brings flowers.
He wants to get to know you. He asks you questions, “Where are you from? What’s going on with you? What’s your job?”

He’s really interested in you. And he wants to impress you.

A man will, to a certain extent, automatically fulfill all (or most) of your relationship expectations, in the early dating process.

And it’s very exciting!

Because you believe he’s fully realized his potential.

So, you fall in love. You think, “Oh, this is amazing. My life’s going to be so much better.”

For you, the relationship is only going to get better from here. He’s going to be even more responsive, even more generous, even more interested…

But for him, this plays out differently.

These are all things a man does in the beginning for logical reasons:

He doesn’t know who you are, so he introduces himself.
He’s curious to learn more about you, so he’s very talkative, and he listens to you.
He wants to show you how much he cares about you by doing things for you so you know he’s interested.

As your relationship evolves, he feels like he already knows you and assumes you already know he cares for you.

He doesn’t need to ask you more questions. So, he stops connecting with you in this way.

The natural motivation to:

Get to know you
Find out what’s going on inside your head
Hold your hand…
…is suddenly no longer there in the same way.

And this is what makes matters even more confusing: Men and women also have very different relationship expectations.

So, instead of realizing that those little things were important to you… he has no clue!

Little Things Make a Big Difference. He Doesn’t Know That Yet.

When it comes to relationship expectations, he doesn’t understand your needs because his needs are different.

In the early stages of your relationship, you fell in love with his potential.

However, once he’s communicated, “You are important to me” — he feels his job is done.

Whenever a man is having big problems in a relationship, he often says, “No matter what I do, it’s never enough to make her happy.”

It’s a primary motivation in men to feel successful in providing something that makes you happy.

In the early stages, he thinks:

“I’m going to do all this little stuff and see if it can make you happy.”

When it works, he believes:

“If all these little things can make her happy, wait until I do the big things. Like making a commitment, like sharing my life with her.”

And here’s the catch. Now that he’s already done all these little things, he feels:

“Why do I need to do little things again? I’ve already shown you that I care about you. What’s the point of that?”

His focus is no longer on the small steps he took to get here. Now, he only thinks about the big steps he believes are important to sustain your relationship.

Instead of reaching out for your hand, he’s thinking: “Why hold your hand if we can actually have sex?”

See, that’s a big thing. So, why do the little things?

And you’re going, “Hey, what happened?”

That’s when women begin to have unrealistic relationship expectations because you’re expecting it to not only be sustained from the early dating stage but become even more over time.

Women believe that it’s just going to get better. But men typically stop doing those little things as they feel more connected to you over time.

He doesn’t know that for you, it’s the little things he did at the beginning that count most.

So, what can you do to inspire him to step it up again? How can you reignite the spark that brought you together in the first place?

Get on the Same Page to Grow in Love

To nurture healthy relationship expectations, this is the lesson that women have to learn:

A man can love you completely and have no idea of what your needs are.

You need to inform him of what actions score big with you.

He wants to make you happy. But he doesn’t know your needs and preferences.

You want:

Reassurance from a great listener
Spontaneous compliments
Affection, hugs, and holding hands

All things men stop doing.

Not because they don’t love you, but because they are oblivious.

This is hard because it’s a little scary to ask for what you want.

Here you are, opening your heart to someone, and you ask them: “Hey, would you take me to this or that?”

And he says, “I don’t want to do that. Why would I want to do that?”

…hearing that from him would really hurt you. The possibility of rejection is scary.

Here is how you can avoid that scene unfolding that way:

When you approach your man, don’t try to change him. If you ever try to change a man because you’re disappointed with him or you want more, he pulls back.

Instead, let him know what you really like, and he will feel a natural pressure to change.

Tell him how you feel when he does something you like, and he will naturally aspire to match your expectations.

Try saying:

“Oh, I just need to talk with you a little while. Let’s just talk.”
“When you hold my hand, it gives me butterflies..”
“I loved it when we went to …”
“I love it when you do …”

Remember, he wants to make you happy. The natural tendency is there. He just doesn’t realize these small things are important to you.

When you share your preferences and let him know what you really like, he is given the opportunity to change.

He starts to recognize that if he does more of this, he can be successful and make you happy.

And in turn:

You start to feel cherished, not taken for granted.
You start to recognize the potential of the loving partner you fell in love with at the very beginning.
And your man feels great too because he finally knows and understands what your needs are and how he can make you happy.

Together, you can see through your differences, and come together to resolve any relationship expectations that were keeping you apart from creating more intimacy, love, and connection.

Little things make a big difference.

[ John Gray ]


“Do You Have Unrealistic Relationship Expectations?”

Relations Expectations:

– Other Should Meet ALL Of Our Needs

— Others Should KNOW What You Need (“Mind Reading”)

– Other Should “Complete” Me

— Conflict Means the Relationship Ins’t Working and Should Be Avoided At ALL Costs

[ Dr. Nicole LePera ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sZ4LsSNBvA


“Setting Proper Expectations For Success”

Setting Proper Expectations – The importance of setting realistic expectations when pursuing success in any field.

[ Leo Gura ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuiz_ze-y8M


“Set Realistic Expectations and You’ll be Happier”

Realistic expectations have the power to make you happier.

The holidays don’t feel like the “most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. Its emotionally difficult to join in holiday celebrations when you’re experiencing grief, strained relationships, infertility, divorce, or difficult family dynamics.

The single most important piece of advice I can give you to increase your happiness is to take a look at your expectations.

A lot of our pain and disappointment comes from unmet expectations. The problem is we often aren’t even aware of our expectations. We fall prey to idealized expectations or we forget that magazines and the internet are selling us a bill of goods when it comes to the reality of family gatherings.

How many times have you gone into the holidays thinking this year will be different? Maybe my Dad wont get drunk this Christmas Eve or Im sure my sister wont make a snide comment about the gift I give her again.

We get into trouble with our expectations when we don’t base them on reality.
Sometimes we get disappointed because we unrealistically expect things to be the same. If you know that someone has experienced a major change (your sister had her first baby or your father was widowed), its not reasonable to expect they will be the same. So, if you anticipate sitting up late catching up with your sister over a glass of wine, you may be disappointed that shes too tired, or she’s not drinking, or she’s busy with her baby. If you know something significant has changed, accept that the situation and relationship need to adapt.

We also meet with disappointment when we unrealistically expect things to be different. Unless you have specific reasons to believe your relatives have changed, don’t set yourself up for anger and sadness by expecting something outside of the norm. I absolutely believe people can change, but its a mistake to expect that your family dynamics have changed without any evidence; that is just a wish.

Being realistic isn’t pessimistic.
Being realistic isn’t the same as catastrophizing or expecting the worst. I want you to stay firmly in reality. Catastrophizing is problematic because you’re creating what-if scenarios; youre in a nightmare where everything goes wrong. Instead, I want you to use the past to plan for whats likely to happen.

The past is the best predictor of the future. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to repeat the past year after year. Its important to remember that you can only change yourself and changing yourself is the key to happiness. You can either change your thoughts and behaviors in order to create a different holiday experience or you can use your realistic expectations to plan ways of coping.

Realistic expectations allow you to create a coping plan.
When you have realistic expectations you avoid hurt and angry feelings. They also help you to focus on what you can do to make things better. Adjusting your expectations helps you plan for challenges by asking yourself: Given the reality, what are my options? How can I make this situation manageable for myself? What can I do if it becomes unmanageable? Instead of wasting energy on trying to change other people, you can put your attention toward how you’re going to take care of your needs. You can create these plans in advance and feel prepared and confident heading to your family holiday gathering.

Unrealistic expectations not only lead to hurt feeling, disappointment, and anger, but they also prevent you from creating a coping plan. If you’re in denial about your Dads Christmas boozing or fantasize that your sister will treat you with respect, theres no reason for you to explore options such as not going to your Dads or leaving early.

If you want things to be different this year, be sure you’re focusing on changes that you can make things that are in your control and not things that you’re hoping other people will change.

[ Sharon Martin ]


“Realistic Relationship Expectations”

Aired Aug 22, 2014 Studio 5

[ Matt Townsend ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJxDkCgvqTU


“How To Have Realistic Expectations”

Sometimes our disappointment in life is simply caused by the fact that we have unrealistic expectations. Here’s how to have realistic ones.

I explore the mindset challenges of the human experience. I’m interested in what it takes to grow and overcome the struggles that hold us back. I create videos on these topics.

[ The Better Adult Project ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik_dvz8dY9I


“Do You Have Realistic Expectations for Your Life?”

Sometimes, when we move from one season to the next, we beat ourselves up because we can’t keep doing all the things we used to do. Here are three simple steps that will help you avoid the mistake of overcommitting.

[ Christy Wright ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_yKD_nIElM


“Are You Letting Unrealistic Expectations Run Your Life?”

We got pretty vulnerable at The Table this time, you guys. My brother DeVon Franklin joined me to talk about expectations: where they come from, which ones are healthy, and how they can either help or prevent you from living in freedom. We also got into some real talk about singleness that was super encouraging for me. Get ready for plenty of gems in this episode!

[ Interview of DeVon Franklin ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLFKu67BkTQ


“8 Unrealistic Expectations That Will Ruin You”

Your expectations, more than anything else in life, determine your reality. When it comes to achieving your goals, if you don’t believe you’ll succeed, you won’t.

Research from LSU shows that people who believe in themselves use more metacognitive functions than those who don’t. This means that they use more of their brains and have more brainpower to solve problems. Metacognition is especially important for achievement as it ensures that you approach problems from many different angles and adapt your approach as needed.

The tricky thing about your expectations is that they impact other people too. As far back as the 1960s, Harvard research demonstrated the power of our beliefs in swaying other people’s behavior. When teachers in the studies were told that certain (randomly selected) children were smart, those kids performed better, not only in the classroom, but also on standardized IQ tests.

Indeed, we get the most out of other people when we believe in them. Research shows that this happens because when we believe in someone,

• we treat them better than people we think will fail,

• we give them more opportunities to succeed than we give those we think will fail,

• we give them more accurate, helpful feedback than we give others, and

• we do more teaching because we believe it’s time well spent.

Letting your doubts cloud your belief in someone (or something) practically ensures their failure. Medical professionals call this the “nocebo” effect. Patients who have low expectations for medical procedures or treatments tend to have poorer results than those who expect success, even with regards to well-established treatments. If a doctor uses a treatment with a clinically verified high rate of success but presents it in a negative light, the probability of a negative outcome increases.

Your expectations shape your reality. They can change your life, emotionally and physically. You need to be extra careful about (and aware of) the expectations you harbor as the wrong ones make life unnecessarily difficult. Be especially wary of the expectations that follow—they give people all kinds of trouble.

  1. Life should be fair. We’ve all been told a million times (and likely told other people) that life isn’t fair, but in spite of what we know about the intricacies of injustice, it’s a concept that doesn’t quite sink in in practice. A surprising number of us subconsciously expect life to be fair, and we believe that any unfairness that we experience will somehow be balanced out, even if we don’t do anything about it. If you’re stuck in that mindset, it’s time to get over it (work on your emotional intelligence if this is a struggle for you). When something “unfair” happens, don’t rely on outside forces to get you back on your feet. Sometimes there isn’t any consolation prize, and the sooner you stop expecting there to be, the sooner you can take actions that will actually make a difference.

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  1. Opportunities will fall into my lap. One of the most important things a person can do is stick his or her neck out and seek opportunity. Just because you deserve a raise, a promotion, or a company car, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. You have to make it happen. You have to put in the hard work, then go and get what’s yours. If we limit ourselves to what’s given to us, we are at the mercy of other people. When you take action, think “what steps do I need to take?” “what obstacles are in my way and what do I need to do to remove them?” and “what mistakes am I making that take me away from my goals rather than toward them?”
  2. Everyone should like me. People have hang ups, and that means all sorts of decent, kind, respectable people are not liked by (some) others, for no good reason at all. When you think that everyone should like you, you end up with hurt feelings when you shouldn’t. (You can’t win them all.) When you assume that people are going to like you, you take shortcuts; you start making requests and demands before you’ve laid the groundwork to really understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. Instead of expecting that people will like you, focus on earning their trust and respect.
  3. People should agree with me. This one can be tough. Sure, you know what you’re talking about, and for that reason, people should take you seriously, but expecting people to agree with you out of courtesy or because your ideas are so incredibly sound is another story. Something that’s obvious to you might not be so to someone with different experiences and a different agenda, so stop being offended when people disagree with you, and stop assuming that there is only one right answer (yours). Instead, focus on how you can find solutions that give everyone what they need.
  4. People know what I’m trying to say. People can’t read your mind, and what you’re trying to say is rarely what other people hear. You can’t expect people to understand you just because you’re talking—you have to be clear. Whether you’re asking someone to do something without providing the context or explaining a complex concept behind a big project, it’s easy to leave out relevant information because you don’t think it’s necessary. Communication isn’t anything if it isn’t clear, and your communication won’t be clear until you take the time to understand the other person’s perspective.
  5. I’m going to fail. As I’ve touched upon already, if you expect to fail, you stand a higher chance of creating the very outcome you’re worried about. If you fail, accept that sometimes you’ll fail and sometimes you’ll succeed, but if you pursue an endeavor, believe with all your being that you’re going to succeed in that endeavor. Otherwise, you’ll limit the chances of that happening.
  6. Things will make me happy. Sure, things can make life more fun and comfortable in the short run, but they can’t make you happy in the long run. Too many of us expect a future event (“I’ll be happy when I get that promotion”) to make us happy, instead of looking more deeply into the real causes of our unhappiness. If you don’t fix what’s going on inside, no external event or item is going to make you happy, no matter how much you want it to.
  7. I can change him/her. There’s only one person in this world you can truly change—yourself—and even that takes a tremendous amount of effort. The only way that people change is through the desire and wherewithal to change themselves. Still, it’s tempting to try to change someone who doesn’t want to change, as if your sheer will and desire for them to improve will change them (as it has you). You might even actively choose people with problems, thinking that you can “fix” them. Let go of this faulty expectation. Build your life around genuine, positive people, and avoid problematic people that bring you down.

Bringing It All Together

Believing that you’ll succeed really does make it more likely that you will. It also means that you’ll need to let go of some erroneous expectations that will only get in your way.

Do you see people’s expectations helping them and holding them back? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

[ Travis Bradberry ]


“Unrealistic Expectations and Relationships: 5 Key Signs”

Most of us long for a sense of love and acceptance, a desire to be in an enduring committed partnership with someone we love.

The majority of the thoughts, feelings, and ideas we have about family and relationships have been guided by what we have seen in movies, read in books, or heard about through generational tales of soulmates and fated love. Fairly early in our lives we develop expectations regarding what our relationships should consist of, what they shouldn’t, and what role we expect our partner to play.

Although, there is nothing wrong with having expectations in a relationship, having unrealistic expectations can put stress on, and ruin, any relationship. Just like people, no relationship is ever perfect. All relationships will consist of both good and bad times, joys and pains, harmony and conflict. No one is perfect in our world so don’t expect a perfect relationship that can meet your high hopes.

It is not uncommon for many of us to carry over “expectation illusions” from childhood. Children expect their parents to nurture, support, protect and affirm them. Unfortunately, some adults are unable to properly fulfill the needs of their child. Therefore, some children in an effort to obtain, secure, and get their needs met by parents will make endless attempts to please. Too often, this insatiable need to please ones parents stems from an intense desire to fulfill our own emotional needs. When a parent’s behavior does not change in response to the child’s needs, children can become disappointed, feel abandoned, and internalize feelings of being unlovable.

What we didn’t receive from our parents in terms of affection, support, and direction, we project onto others. We expect our friends and romantic partners to provide what was missing during our childhood. When our romantic partners don’t deliver, we may become disenchanted, and may give up on the relationship without giving it the opportunity to build and flourish. We believe (as we often did in childhood), that if we try harder, and perform for approval, others will take notice, be impressed with both our attempts and behaviors, and will fill the void in our lives. However, when unrealistic expectations exist, the void remains and the expectation illusion continues.

Invariably, unrealistic expectations are positively correlated to issues of power, manipulation and control. Unfortunately, we might jump to the erroneous conclusion that people must speak and behave in the manner that we desire or we have no real use or purpose for them. A lot of romantic relationship begin between partners who are unaware of each others weaknesses or insecurities. Having realistic expectations in our relationships involves accepting that no one is perfect, accepting ourselves and our partners for who we are and what we can contribute to the relationship. Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest.

5 Key Signs You May Be Harboring Unrealistic Expectations

You expect your partner to know what you are feeling and understand those feelings. In an intimate relationship, couples often expect that their partner will know and understand all their needs and expectations without communicating. So when our partner fails to live up to our unrealistic expectation, disappointment and unhappiness starts to creep into the relationship. It is not realistic to expect your partner to be able to read your mind and always act according to your wishes. It is not possible to fully understand the auspice of someone else’s mind; communicating consistently and honestly is essential to building and sustaining a healthy relationship.

Good relationships are void of conflict. Conflict will arise in every type of relationship we have so it is not realistic to expect a romantic relationship to be free of conflict. Conflict can serve both negative and positive purposes. Conflict allows partners to discuss issues in the relationship, i.e., what each partner likes or dislikes, what he or she is missing, would like to add to the relationship, what the partners expect from each other, etc. Conflicts, like most things in life are inevitable, as it is quite normal to have conflicts and arguments every now and then in a relationship. One of the most unrealistic expectations partners have is that conflicts wont occur in a good relationship. Some partners erroneously believe that in order for a relationship to work, they should avoid conflict at any cost.

In order for a relationship to survive it must remain the same. All relationships must grow and adjust over time in order to be both sustainable and healthy. As we age and mature, so should our romantic relationships. By holding onto the belief that our relationships must remain the same without adapting to time, sickness, financial issues, partner changes, and other demands, we run the risk of relationship extinction.

In order for a relationship to survive we must spend most of our time together. It is very important for couples to spend time together in an effort to build and maintain strong bonds. However, expecting your partner to be with you all the time is another unrealistic expectation that can ruin a relationship. As an individual, you and your partner should give each other adequate space to practice individual hobbies. Partners need to spend time with friends and family members to maintain their own individual identity, an identity that is separate from their romantic mate.

Good relationships do not need work. One of the most common mistakes and unrealistic expectations that partners have in romantic relationships is that the relationship should be easy like in a movie or a romantic novel. No relationship is easy all the time. Every relationship needs proper time, effort, love, affection, patience and dedication to grow and remain strong. Ups and downs are a normal and natural part of every relationship. If your relationship is going through hard times, it doesn’t mean that your love for each other is gone. It simply means that your relationship requires more effort, patience, love and commitment to deal with problems and conflicts.

One of the greatest relationship destroyers is that of unrealistic expectations. Expecting something out of the relationship that the other is either ignorant of, unwilling to provide, or simply unable to provide, can be emotionally damaging for both partners involved and unhealthy for the relationship. Mounting frustration and anger can result from harboring unrealistic expectations of ones partner and the relationship.

Try to communicate your needs and desires as consistently and honestly as you possibly can. Do not keep your likes and dislikes, dreams and fears, achievements and mistakes, or anything else to yourself. If it is important to you, share it with your partner for the sake of your relationship.

[ Tarra Bates-Duford ]


“Dreaming Too Big? 12 Tips for Understanding and Reframing Unrealistic Expectations”

Examples

Growing up, you probably had caregivers or teachers who encouraged optimism because they wanted you to explore possibilities and enjoy success. Maybe they assured you it’s possible to achieve anything you set your mind to.

As an adult, though, you’ve likely encountered the harsh truth that you can’t always achieve your dreams through sheer willpower.

Experts generally consider optimism a beneficial trait. It can improve your ability to cope with stressful situations and manage physical and emotional distress.

But it’s important to recognize that optimism doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome.

You can’t control every situation in life. When your expectations for yourself — or anyone else — fall in areas outside your control, you’ll probably end up facing some disappointment.

Curious about the impact of unrealistic expectations? Looking for guidance on maintaining a more balanced perspective? You’ll find some tips below.

Examples of unrealistic expectations
When do hope and optimism become unrealistic expectations? There’s no cut-and-dried answer, but looking at some common examples can offer some insight.

But first, let’s clarify what expectations are: They’re things you want to achieve or believe life will grant you.

Some of your hopes might reflect things you can absolutely achieve. For example, this would be a perfectly realistic expectation: “With good communication, my partner and I can work out most minor relationship conflicts.”

Other expectations, like the ones below, might be slightly less grounded in reality.

At work
It’s a common belief that throwing yourself into something will yield positive results.

Maybe when you show up at work, you really show up. You come in early and stay late. You give 100 percent, volunteering to help coworkers and speaking up with new ideas.

And yet, someone with more seniority gets that promotion. When your annual review comes up, you get plenty of positive feedback but only a small salary bump.

Most people want to believe that effort pays off, and that’s understandable. Without this expectation, you might feel less motivated to try. But it just doesn’t always work out that way.

While effort can sometimes influence others, you ultimately can’t control anyone else’s choices or needs.

In social situations
Some people hold the belief that as long as they’re kind, people will like them. Kindness goes a long way, and it’s safe to assume most people will have more positive regard for a kind person than an unkind one.

But plenty of factors also affect the way people feel about others, including:

personality
body language
communication styles
So, someone could respect your kindness without actually liking you.

In life, you’ll meet plenty of people who have vastly different personalities. Maybe you’re that rare person who likes everyone you meet, but this tends to be more of an exception than a rule.

In relationships
At the start of a new relationship, you might find yourself thinking “I’ve never felt this way before — I don’t see how we’d ever fight.” But it happens, even in the strongest, healthiest relationships.

You and your partner are two unique people, so you won’t always agree. If you have a few opposing viewpoints, spending a lot of time together can make these differences stand out even more clearly.

The good thing about conflict is that it’s an absolutely normal — even healthy — part of relationships. After all, disagreeing means you’re comfortable enough with each other to express your opinions and frustrations.

A more realistic expectation might focus on practicing good conflict resolution to address any major disagreements.

How they impact you
Expectations can certainly have some benefits.

Maybe you need certain things from your relationship, like increased intimacy or more spontaneous romance. You prioritize finding ways to discuss these (realistic) expectations with your partner, which strengthens your partnership.

With less realistic expectations, you might expend plenty of effort without seeing any progress. Failing to meet an expectation — winning the lottery, falling instantly in love with the person of your dreams — can set you up for frustration, self-judgment, and potentially even depression.

Disappointment is a natural part of life, but when you consistently expect too much of yourself, you set yourself up for burnout. Continually failing to meet your own expectations can prompt guilt and shame in the shape of unhelpful beliefs, like “I’m not good enough” or “I just don’t have what it takes.”

If you feel like you’ll never be able to accomplish what you want for yourself, eventually you might stop trying.

Expecting more from others than they can realistically provide can:

strain your relationships
fuel conflict
leave you angry and resentful
You might begin to lose faith in your loved ones, even when they did nothing to betray your trust.

Checking your expectations
Curious where your expectations fall?

These key signs can help you recognize patterns of unrealistic expectations:

You feel stressed and upset when things don’t go as planned or your routine deviates slightly.
You find plenty to criticize in yourself and others.
You fixate on small details and find it very important to get everything right.
When things go wrong, even in minor ways, you feel let down and frustrated.
You have very specific visions and find it difficult to accept other possible outcomes.
When others don’t fall in line with your plans, you feel irritated and resentful.
It’s normal to feel all of these things from time to time, but if they play a recurring role in your life, it may be time to rethink your expectations.

How to let them go
If you’re realizing that some of your expectations veer toward the unrealistic side of the spectrum, these pointers can help you reframe them.

Do some self-exploration
Expectations often stem from visions other people have for you. You might absorb these and carry them forward, even when they don’t really align with your personal hopes.

As you begin to reconsider your expectations in life, consider whether they truly resonate with you.

Would achieving those goals fulfill you and bring you joy? If not, you may find it easier to let go and refocus your attention on reframing the goals that really matter.

Make room to appreciate what you have
Spending most of your time focused on what you want makes it easier to lose sight of what you already have. Dogged pursuit of a dream house, a seven-figure income, or the perfect partner can leave you with little time for loved ones, hobbies, and the small joys of life.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have goals or expectations. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking happiness, a stable income, and romantic connection.

Still, spending a bit less time reaching for the future and a bit more time living in the moment could help you notice ways you’ve already met some of these broader expectations.

Focus on what you’ve achieved
When you feel frustrated with yourself for failing to meet unrealistic goals, try taking a closer look at the things you have achieved. Revisiting past accomplishments can help you keep things in perspective.

Say you want to achieve fame as a musician, but your debut album has largely gone unnoticed. You might remind yourself about the great vibe you get playing local shows, the camaraderie among your band members, and the pleasure you get from creating music. Not every musician ever releases an album, so you’ve already come pretty far.

Avoiding them in the future
Trying to set more realistic expectations going forward? These tips can help.

Remember: You can only control yourself
When setting an expectation, it can help to first ask yourself whether you actually have any control over the situation.

People through the ages have tried and failed to predict the whims of life. Similarly, expectations centered on what you want others to do often fall flat.

For more realistic, achievable outcomes, try keeping your focus on the areas inside your control — your own actions and choices.

Know your limits
Even with the best intentions and the willingness to put in maximum effort, you may not find it possible to improve every situation or meet every expectation.

Effort can get you closer to fulfilling your dreams, but you might need additional resources you just don’t have access to, like unlimited energy or more hours in the day. That doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you a human being with normal physical and emotional limitations.

If you fail to meet an expectation, acknowledge that you did your best and offer yourself compassion instead of blame. Don’t forget to extend this compassion to others who happen to fall short of your expectations, too.

Share your expectations
Most people have some expectations in their personal relationships. Yet when the people in your life don’t know what you want from them, they can’t do much to accommodate you.

As in most areas of life, good communication can make all the difference. Discussing your relationship needs, along with what you’re willing to contribute, can help you collaborate to create expectations that work well for everyone involved.

Keep a flexible mindset
Here’s one thing to remember about unrealistic expectations: They tend to be fairly rigid.

In reality, circumstances can change rapidly, without any warning. These changes may open some doors even as they slam others shut. The more flexible you are with your goals, the better they can accommodate life’s unpredictability.

The bottom line
Advice like “dream big” or “reach for the stars” comes from a good place, but it can lead to expectations that fall short of what’s realistically possible.

You don’t have to scrap all your dreams, but it’s worth exploring what you really want from those goals. You never know — perhaps you’ve already achieved it.

[ Crystal Raypole ]


“9 Things You Need to Stop Expecting From Others”

Most of us get disappointed when our expectations are not met.

We thought someone would be something, do something–and they didn’t come through, and naturally we become disappointed.

But if you are going to be successful, the important thing is not to expect anything from anyone that you are not willing to do for yourself.

Here are nine things that you must let go if you are going to succeed.

  1. Don’t expect people to agree every time you speak. If you’re the type of person who wants people to agree with everything you say every time you speak…be ready to experience a lot of disappointment. Most people have their own thoughts and opinions, and expecting them to consistently agree with yours is unrealistic. Do what you can to persuade them with data, research, and facts, but don’t assume they will, or should, always agree.
  2. Don’t expect others to acknowledge you when you berate yourself. You can’t expect others to treat you as worthy when you don’t treat yourself that way. We all make mistakes, we all have struggles, and we all have regrets. But you are not the mistake, you are not your struggles; you are here now with the power and the determination to shape your life. Acknowledge yourself and see your own strength–then you can begin to expect others to pick up on it.
  3. Don’t expect others to respect you when you don’t respect yourself. Respect starts from within, so if you wish to be respected, you have to do what it takes to respect yourself–that is, living in a way that demonstrates self-respect. Would you speak to a respected friend the way you speak to yourself? Your treatment of yourself sets the standards for how others will treat you.
  4. Don’t expect others to tell you what to do when you have no idea what you want. If you’re going to live an authentic life and follow your own inner compass, you can’t expect someone else to tell you what you want. The desire and the passion must first come from you. You have to let go of passivity and back up your own ideas so you can figure out what you want and why you want it. Nobody else can do that work for you.
  5. Don’t expect others to stay when they’re ready to go. Some people will come into your life and stay, but many more will come and go–and you have to know how to let go of those who no longer want to be there. It’s the ones who stay, the ones who stand beside you in good times and bad, who are important in your life. And there will even be times you have to stand on your own–not a fun experience, but one that will teach you resilience and strength. Often, the happy ending is simply letting go.
  6. Don’t expect others to know what you’re thinking when you know yourself. You can’t expect anyone else to understand what you’re thinking if you can’t articulate your thoughts. Understanding our own thoughts is more important than seeking the opinion of others. Start by being honest with yourself–about what you think, what you feel, what you want. Then you can start communicating that to others.
  7. Don’t expect others to fix things when you can’t find solutions for yourself. It’s OK not to know how to fix something. What’s not OK is blaming others for being unable to fix it. When you blame others, you don’t give yourself room to build your own abilities. When you expect them to fix things, you are handing over your power.
  8. Don’t expect others to make you a priority when you haven’t made yourself important. If you don’t value yourself and stick up for yourself, you’re not only severely sabotaging yourself but also sending a message that you’re not worth the trouble, even to yourself. Treat yourself as though you matter, and others will follow suit.
  9. Don’t expect others to forgive you when you don’t forgive yourself. If you’re busy waiting for others to forgive you but you haven’t yet forgiven yourself, learn to forgive yourself and two wonderful things will happen: others will learn to forgive you, and you’ll learn to forgive others.

Additional Reading you might enjoy:

12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
How to Succeed as A New Leader
12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
The Deception Trap of Leadership

[ Lolly Daskal ]


“The Rule of Expectations — The Impact of Suggestion”

Overview
If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.
—JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

The Rule of expectations uses expectations to influence reality and create results. Individuals tend to make decisions based on how others expect them to perform. As a result, people fulfill those expectations whether positive or negative. Expectations have a powerful impact on those we trust and respect, but, interestingly, an even greater impact on perfect strangers. When we know someone expects something from us, we will try to satisfy him or her in order to gain respect and likability.

You have probably heard the saying, “What gets measured, gets done.” The same is true for expectations. That which is expected is what actually happens. People rise to meet your expectations of them. This is a powerful force that can lead to the improvement or destruction of a person. You can express an expectation of doubt, lack of confidence, and skepticism, and you will see the results. If you believe in someone, show confidence in them, and expect them to succeed, you will see different results. Author John H. Spalding expressed the thought this way: “Those who believe in our ability do more than stimulate us. They create for us an atmosphere in which it becomes easier to succeed.”[1] When you create expectations, you change people’s behavior. Whenever you label specific behaviors or characteristics, the action is expected. When those expectations are not met, you can see anger, disgust, surprise, or dissatisfaction.

We communicate our expectations in a variety of ways. It may be through our language, our voice inflections, or our body language. Think of a time when you’ve been introduced to someone. Usually, if they introduce themselves by their first name, then you do the same. If they give their first and last name, you do likewise. Whether you realize it or not, you accept cues from others regarding their expectations and you act accordingly. Similarly, we all unknowingly send out our own cues and expectations. The power is in using the Rule of Expectations consciously!

Numerous studies have shown how the Rule of Expectations dramatically influences people’s performance. For example, in one study, girls who were told they would perform poorly on a math test did perform poorly. In another, assembly line workers who were told their job was complex performed less efficiently at the same task than those who were told it was simple. Another case study demonstrated that adults who were given complex mazes solved them faster when told they were based on a grade-school level of difficulty.

By adding the Rule of Expectations to your persuasive repertoire, you can change your audience’s expectations of you — and their expectation to buy your product, service or idea — and you will be infinitely more persuasive.

Most of us have heard about the famous Pavlov dog experiments. Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist who won a Nobel Prize, trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a buzzer. The training was effective because the dogs had learned to expect food when they heard the buzzer — the Rule of Expectations. The dogs behaved in a certain way because the Rule of Expectations was at work. Shockingly reminiscent of Pavlov’s experiments, the Rule of Expectations has been used ever since in advertising to make humans salivate when viewing a commercial or thinking of a certain brand of food.

[1]John Maxwell and Jim Dornan, Becoming a Person of Influence (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers), p. 64.

Expectations as Assumptions: Expect with Confidence
Often our expectations are based on the assumptions we have about people or groups of people. The same is true of us. Have you ever noticed how your expectations become reality in your personal life? Expectation is literally a self-fulfilling prophecy. We do this consciously and subconsciously. Remember the kid in grade school who was always really rowdy and disruptive? Sometimes if people already assume they are perceived a certain way, then that is indeed exactly how they will act, even if they don’t mean to. The rowdy kid in grade school knew everyone perceived him as disruptive, and so he was. The teacher expected bad behavior, and the expectations were fulfilled.

Consider the profound impact this can have in your own life. Are the assumptions and expectations you have about yourself liberating or victimizing? There are countless examples of “self-fulfilling prophecies,” or the Rule of Expectations at work in everyday life. Ever notice how people who think they’re going to be fired suddenly experience a drop in the quality and enthusiasm for their work? Then what happens? They get fired! Their belief causes them to act a certain way, and those expectations then work to bring about the very thing that at first was only a figment of their imagination.

In another study, second graders listened to statements from their teachers before taking a math test. There were three types of statements: expectation, persuasion, or reinforcement. The expectation statements went something like, “You know your math really well!” or “You work really hard at your math.” Persuasion statements involved sentences like, “You should be good at math.” or “You should be getting better math grades.” Finally, for the reinforcement statements, teachers said things like, “I’m really happy about your progress” or “This is excellent work!” Now, what do you think the results were? The scores were the highest in the “expectation” category! Why were the expectation statements the most effective? They created personal assumptions within each student. Those assumptions conditioned the actual external results.[2]
[2]R. L. Miller, P. Brickman, and D. Bolen, “Attribution vs. Persuasion As a Means for Modifying Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3: 430–441.

Expectations of Others Affect Behavior
The expectations we create for others often become reality. This can have interesting effects when applied out in the real world. This section contains multiple examples of how expectations have changed the lives and persuaded the behavior of other individuals.

School Teachers

Under the umbrella of expectations, teachers can be the greatest asset or the greatest negative influence in a child’s life. We know what happens when a teacher labels a student a “troublemaker” because it creates certain expectations for the student’s actions. We have seen the labels “slow learner,” “stupid,” and “ADD” become projections for a student’s future academic success. There is the story of the substitute teacher who came to class and found a note from the regular teacher labeling one of her students as a troublemaker and another as helpful. The substitute teacher began the class looking for these two students. When she found them, she treated them accordingly. However, when the teacher returned, she was amazed when she discovered the substitute felt the troublemaker was helpful and the helper was trouble. She had gotten them mixed up! The children’s behavior was based on the substitute’s expectations. This is often called social labeling. People tend to live up to the positive or negative label bestowed on them.[3]

We have all had teachers who had high expectations of us and brought us to the next level. Can you imagine how powerful this becomes? Imagine the first day of class as the teacher looks around the room at her students. What if there is a student who is the son of a distinguished Asian professor, another one who it the brother of a former student who was a class clown, and one who is heavily pierced and wearing all black? What do you think her assumptions and expectations would be? Her expectations would probably be fulfilled without ever even speaking to the students.

One interesting experiment revealed how teachers’ expectations influenced students. Two Head Start teachers were selected who were as equal as possible in potential and in practice. Then, two classes were formed from pupils who had been carefully tested to ensure that they were as similar as possible in background and learning potential. Next, the principal spoke with each teacher alone. He told the first teacher how fortunate she was. “You have a class of high potential pupils this year! Just don’t stand in their way. They’re racers and ready to run.” The second teacher was told, “I’m sorry about your pupils this year. But you can’t expect top students every year. Just do the best you can. We’ll be understanding, regardless of the results.” At the end of the year, the two classes were tested again. The first class scored significantly ahead of the second.[4] The major differentiating factor appeared to be each teacher’s expectations.

Grubby Day

Many schools have “dress-up days,” where, for example, students can dress up for Halloween, Spirit Day, Pajama Day, or Fifties Day. In one high school, they had a “Grubby Day.” As you can imagine, on this particular day, the student behavior was less than outstanding. The administration received more complaints about student behavior on this day than on any other. The dress code set up certain assumptions, which further set up certain expectations. Then, of course, the expectations were fulfilled by the bad behavior.

Littering

We know that children tend to put their trash directly on the floor. In one elementary school, students were given individually wrapped pieces of candy. Of course, most of the wrappers ended up on the floor and not in the garbage can. Over the next two weeks, the teacher frequently commented on how neat and tidy the children were. On a visit to the classroom, the principal remarked to the children that their classroom was one of the neatest and cleanest in the school. Even the custodian wrote a note on the blackboard telling the children how clean and tidy their classroom was. At the end of the two weeks, the children were given individually wrapped pieces of candy again. This time, most of the wrappers ended up in the trash can.[5]

Parental Expectation

One thing you notice with toddlers and small children is that they behave according to the expectations of their parents. When I was single, I noticed that when children fell down or bumped their heads while running and playing, they would look at their parents so they would know how to react. If the parents showed great concern and pain in their eyes, the children would start to cry in an effort to get the attention they wanted. This would happen regardless of whether the child really felt pain or not.

One of the techniques my wife and I tried as new parents was the exact opposite of this approach. We changed the expectation, and it has worked great! When our children hit their heads or get a small scrape, they look up to us and we all laugh. The amazing thing that happens is that they begin to laugh too. They realize it’s not a big deal and go off to resume their activities, often laughing with us. Children act based on the expectations of their parents. You create the expectations in your voice, in your actions, and with the words you use.

Studies show that children will live up to the expectations of their parents whether those expectations are positive or negative. According to Bill Glass, over 90 percent of prison inmates were told by parents while growing up, “They’re going to put you in jail.”[6]

Blood Drive

When blood drive organizers make reminder calls, they may end their conversations with something like, “We’ll see you tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. then, okay?” and then wait for the person’s commitment. Why do they do this? Studies have shown that when you create an expectation, attendance rates dramatically increase.

Sales Applications

The power of suggestion can also be extremely effective when you engage the emotions in your tactics. For example, when your car salesman says, “You’re really going to love how this car handles in the mountains,” he is shifting the focus away from the sale and creating an exciting image in your head. He is also speaking as though you had already agreed to the sale because you wouldn’t be driving it in the mountains unless you were going to buy it. He’s acting like it’s a done deal — and the truth is, the more he does this, the more it is!

I love seeing door-to-door salespeople use this law to their advantage. They approach a door, ring the bell, and with a big smile tell the prospect they have a great presentation that person needs to see. Of course, they employ this strategy while they are wiping their feet on the person’s doormat in expectation of being let in the house. You would be surprised how often this technique actually works. You see the salesperson handing the prospect his pen in expectation of signing the contract. Have you ever felt bad leaving a store or situation where you have not bought something? The store has created the expectation that you would make a purchase.
[3]R. E. Kraut, “Effects of Social Labeling on Giving to Charity,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 9: 551–562.
[4]Kenneth Erickson, The Power of Praise (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House), p. 56.
[5]Miller, Brickman, and Bolen, “Attribution vs. Persuasion.”
[6]Maxwell and Dornan, Becoming a Person of Influence, p. 63.
[17]Worchel, Arnold, and Baker, “The Effect of Censorship on Attitude Change.”

Presupposition: Assuming the Sale
Using expectations, we can create immediate reactions to stimuli so the subject doesn’t even have to think — they just perform the action. Discounts, closeouts, going out of business sales, and coupons are used to draw traffic to stores. Consumers assume they will receive a reduced purchase price by presenting the coupon or by going to a “going out of business sale.” One tire company made an error in printing their coupon and the misprinted coupon offered no savings to recipients. However, this coupon produced just as much customer response as did the error-free coupon.[ 7]

Presupposition is often utilized by using words and language that indicate your assumption that your offer has already been accepted. It is a technique that is used both consciously and subconsciously. Consider the following examples (the assumption is expressed in parentheses):

“When do you want your couch sent?” (You want the couch.) “Should I call you Tuesday or Wednesday?” (You want to talk again.) “Your first class will start next Monday.” (You’re signing up for the class.)

You’d be amazed how often people will just go along with your proposal! They don’t even stop and think about their response because now they’re already finishing the deal in their mind!

Another way to use presupposition is to put it in writing. People always think that if something’s in writing, then it must be true. We often go along with something without questioning it, just because it’s what the directions say to do. For example, a particular “candid camera” stunt involved a stop sign placed on a sidewalk, even though there was no reason to stop there. The sign was in an odd place and there was no danger of oncoming traffic, but everyone obediently stopped and waited at the sign, just because it said to do so! In another spoof, a sign reading “Delaware Closed” actually made people start asking for how long Delaware was going to be closed![8]

[7]Robert Cialdini, The Psychology of Influence (New York: Quill), p. 7.
[8]Roger Dawson, The Secrets of Power Persuasion (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall), p. 29.

The Placebo Effect: Persuasive Suggestions
One form that expectations can take is in the shape of a placebo. A placebo is a nonmedicinal substance that is given to patients so they believe they are receiving medicine. Placebos were used during the Korean War when MASH units ran out of morphine. When medical workers gave wounded soldiers placebos, 25 percent of the soldiers reported a reduction in pain. The placebo works because the expectation that the “medicine” will help is so strong that our brains actually translate it into reality. In some studies, placebos worked 25 percent to 40 percent of the time![9]

Not only can our expectations make us well, but they can also make us sick. You may think, “I feel the flu coming on,” and you will probably get it. Or if one of your coworkers says, “You look terrible. Are you coming down with something?” you probably will. Expectations have also been related to the occurrence and timing of death. Most elderly people view nursing homes as the end of the line, the last step in life. After admission to the nursing home, mortality rates, for both men and women, double compared to people of the same age and health still living in their own homes.

The Nazi concentration camps fed off of the psychological expectation of death. Prison guards instilled hopelessness in prisoners. They created a psychological environment whereby the prisoners came to expect no chance at survival. Prisoners exhibited powerlessness, an inability to cope, and a diminished will to live — in a sense, a self-imposed death sentence.

One amazing example of the placebo effect occurred in Israel in 1991. Israeli citizens were seen wearing gas masks during scud bombings. Shortly thereafter, hospitals reported dozens of people complaining of symptoms from weapons that were never used. The gas masks were just a form of protection in case of chemical or biological warfare, but just seeing others wearing one caused people to become ill!

I have even used the placebo effect on my daughter. At times, she has trouble sleeping at night and needs a little nudge. I tell her I have a special pill (vitamin) that will put her right to sleep in five minutes. Without fail, she is happily sleeping before the five minutes are up.

[9]Wilson Bryan, The Age of Manipulation (Lanham, Md.: Madison Books), p. 189.

Time Expectations
In our modern world, we are bound by time. This being the case, we have certain expectations about how time works and how long it will take us to accomplish something. Often, time becomes distorted through our perceptions and expectations. Why do some afternoons speed by faster than others? And why do we finish projects one minute before our deadline?

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available. So, if a project is given a three-month deadline, it will take the full three months to complete. If that very same project is given a six-month timeframe, it will still take the full six months. It may sound strange, but the law has bearing because the time allotted for completion sets our expectations. It is actually our expectations that influence how we will work on a project and therefore when it will be completed. Ever notice how there’s a sudden burst of activity right before the deadline appears? We all have the tendency to procrastinate, waiting until the deadline to do most of the work. This is why it is often effective to set multiple deadlines for large projects. Projects without deadlines never seem to be accomplished, no matter how good the intentions are.

Reputation Expectations
The most effective psychological tool for getting someone to follow through is to let him know that you believe he is the type of person who will follow through. Using phrases such as “You’re the kind of person who . . .” or “You’ve always impressed me with your ability to . . .” or “I’ve always liked the fact that you . . .” invoke the powerful psychological Rule of internal consistency. Winston Churchill, one of the greatest masters in dealing with people, said, “I have found that the best way to get another to acquire a virtue, is to impute it to him.”
When people are aware of the good or bad opinions other people have about them, they usually live up to those opinions. This is why we act out the roles assigned to us. If we receive praise, we want to be worthy of that praise. There was a police officer who always seemed to be able to get even the toughest criminals to open up and tell him everything. His technique was to tell the criminal, “I know you have a reputation for being the tough guy who’s been in a lot of trouble, but everyone tells me the one thing that stands out about you is that you never lie. They tell me that whatever you say, it’s always the truth, no matter what.”
Honestly assess how you think you make others feel when they’re around you. Do you make them feel small and unimportant, or do you inspire them to achieve more? Your actions towards others will tell them how you feel or think about them. The German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once stated, “Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”

First Impression Expectations
Have you ever noticed how the people you assume are going to be jerks turn out to be just that? And if there is someone you’re especially excited to meet, then you meet her and she seems great! Often our assumptions and expectations about someone we’re about to meet for the first time play out exactly as we’ve already mentally conceived them. Once again, even when first meeting someone, you will send subconscious messages about how they are to respond and behave.

In a particular study, a group of high school students were brought together to hear a speech on how the minimum driving age should be raised. Half the students were told to focus on the speaker’s speaking style, while the others were forewarned that the speaker considered teenagers to be horrible drivers. Two weeks after the presentation, the students were asked to fill out a questionnaire. Overall, the first group rated the speaker favorably and even leaned in favor of the position he asserted. The second group rated the speaker as hostile and seemed to have tuned out his message altogether. Because of the expectations set up for them, the second group of students were already defensive before the speech even started, leaving little room for persuasion.

Embedded Commands
An embedded command is a technique used to communicate to the conscious mind while also sending a message to the subconscious mind. The idea is to actually bypass the conscious mind and communicate directly to the subconscious mind. Embedded commands are commonly used in marketing and advertising. Embedded commands are hidden suggestions within written or spoken language. The conscious mind is unaware of their existence. Embedded commands create expectations without creating inner resistance. For example, Pepsi used to have the slogan “Have a Pepsi Day.” The embedded command was “Have a Pepsi.”

The most effective embedded commands are short and concise; they should be no longer than two to four words. It is much easier to use these commands in persuasive writing because you can visually highlight the command. When using this technique, first determine what exactly you are trying to say to your audience. Then, create the sentences where the embedded words and phrase will logically and contextually fit. Finally, set the embedded commands apart in some visual way: italicize, bold, underline, highlight, or use a different color.

Embedded commands are also a powerful tool in speaking. Certain phrases have specific command forms that follow the “two to four words” rule. Phrases can include word associations, cause and effect statements, presuppositions, questions, hidden suggestions, or analogies. Essentially, we are looking for phrases that jump out at us. Consider the following examples:

Become wealthyBuy nowUse this material
How good it feels  Going to happenRead each word
Feel goodFollow my leadAct now
Change your lifeBecome really interested  You will understand
Use this processLearn quicklyEnjoy life
Use this skillLearn howImprove your results  

Studies show that embedded commands can actually change our attitudes or beliefs, even if we are totally unaware that this has happened.[10] It is in this way that the embedded commands are effective: The conscious mind has no opportunity to analyze or evaluate the material. We then can create expectations of behavioral changes with embedded commands as well as with and direct and indirect suggestions. The subconscious mind will create an internal reality to match the commands.[11]

[10]Milton Erickson, Ernest Rossi, and Sheila Rossi, Hypnotic Realities (New York: Irvington Publishers).
[11]Milton Erickson and Ernest Rossi, Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (New York: Irvington Publishers).

Goal Setting: Creating Personal Expectations
Many people don’t like the idea of goal setting; in fact, just the mere mention of the words makes them cringe. However, there is no doubt that goal setting works. The problem is that most people aren’t doing it the right way. I am not going to spend time talking about the many aspects of goal setting — the bottom line is that goal setting works and is an important aspect of the Rule of Expectations. If you can help others make goals, it increases their future expectations for themselves. Visualizing themselves reaching their goals also makes achievement of those goals more tangible.

Goals must have the power to stretch and inspire, and they must be realistic in the mind of the person being persuaded. Research shows that goals dictate future performance. Conscious goals influence our overall performance. In one study, there was a large difference in the performance between asking someone to do their best and helping them set their goals or standard for their performance.[12]
It is a general rule of thumb that greater or more difficult goals actually increase performance. The reason for this is that lofty goals set a higher expectation, and, as discussed already, expectations strongly influence behavior. In a production plant, workers with little experience were divided into two groups. One group was told to simply observe the experienced workers and try to be able to perform at a skilled level themselves within twelve weeks. The second group received specific weekly goals that were progressively more and more demanding. Needless to say, the second group fared much better.[13]

[12]C. A. Mace, Incentives: Some Experimental Studies (London: Industrial Health Research Board, Report No. 72, 1935).
[13]Mortimer R. Feinberg, Effective Psychology for Managers (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall).

Environment
Your environment and the expectations of that environment should be persuasive. In a theory they call the Broken Window Theory, criminologists James Wilson and George Kelling suggest that a building full of broken windows will cause people to assume that no one cares for the building or its appearance. This in turn will spur more vandalism. In other words, the environment’s condition gives suggestions that lead people to hold certain assumptions, and people then act on those assumptions. The broken window invites greater vandalism and crime.[14]
In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell uses an example of the Broken Window Theory as he explains the New York City subway clean-up. The subway system was in dire need of rebuilding — a multibillion-dollar endeavor. With the system about to collapse, the focus was understandably on issues like reducing crime and improving subway reliability. As a consultant hired by the New York Transit Authority, George Kelling urged officials to utilize his Broken Window Theory. Hired to clean up the subways, David Gunn immediately assigned people to start cleaning up all the graffiti. Removing the graffiti seemed to be of such little consequence compared to everything else there was to worry about, but Gunn was insistent. In his own words:

The graffiti was symbolic of the collapse of the system. When you looked at the process of rebuilding the organization and morale, you had to win the battle against graffiti. Without winning that battle, all the management reforms and physical changes just weren’t going to happen. We were about to put out new trains that were worth about ten million bucks apiece, and unless we did something to protect them, we knew just what would happen. They would last one day and then they would be vandalized.[15]

Gunn set up specific goals, timetables, and even cleaning stations. If any train came back with graffiti, it had to be cleaned immediately before it could go out again. For the vandals who had spent their nights, toiling into the wee morning hours painting their murals, it sent a strong message. Seeing their masterpieces already painted over again by the cracking of the next morning’s light told them they were wasting their time. The entire anti-graffiti campaign took years, but finally, the incidence of graffiti subsided.

The hope and expectations you can create in your persuasive environment will forecast your ability to persuade. One experiment was conducted on the influence of light. Lab rats were placed in jars of water to see how long they would keep trying to swim before giving up. Some of the jars were placed in complete darkness, while others had light shining into them. The results were dramatic! The rats in the dark swam for about three minutes before succumbing. The rats with the light swam up to thirty-six hours — more than 700 times longer than the rats in the dark![16]

In another study, volunteers were asked to participate in an experiment on prison environments. Half of the volunteers posed as prison workers, while the other half posed as prison inmates. The results were astounding. Previously tested to be psychologically sound people, the participants rapidly became more and more hostile, crude, rebellious, and abusive — both those acting as inmates and as guards! One “prisoner” became so hysterical and emotionally distressed that he had to be released. The study was supposed to last two weeks but was called off after only six days![17]

[14]George Kelling and Catherine Coles, Fixing Broken Windows (New York: Touchstone).
[15]Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (New York: Little Brown), p. 142.
[16]Maxwell and Dornan, Becoming a Person of Influence, pp. 71–72.
[17]P. Zimbardo, C. Banks, and C. Haney, “Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison,” International Journal of Criminology and Penology (1973): 73.

Pacing and Leading
Another application of the Rule of Expectations is the concept of pacing and leading. This is part of NLP, or “neurolinguistic programming.” Pacing involves establishing rapport and making persuasive communication easier; leading involves steering your prospect toward your point of view. Pacing and leading will enable you to direct a person’s thoughts so they tend to move in your direction.
When you pace, you validate your prospects either verbally or nonverbally; that is, you are in agreement or rapport with your prospects. As a result, they feel comfortable and congruent with you. Pacing entails using statements everyone accepts as true. By doing so, you eliminate disagreement and get others to agree with what you are saying. The topic either can be proven true or is commonly accepted as true.

An example of a pacing question (obviously true):
Most people would love to be financially free and end their money worries forever.
Once you have established rapport and harmony with your prospect, you can create expectation of agreement. You must have general agreement before you can lead your prospect to your point of view. You then begin to use statements that you want your prospect to agree with, even though they haven’t consciously and/or publicly acknowledged that they do.

An example of a leading question (you want your prospect to accept):
The answer to your financial problem is providing the right training at the right time by the right person.

So to put pacing and leading in a nutshell, pacing statements are obviously true, so the prospect has to accept their validity. Leading statements can’t necessarily be proven true, but they represent what you want your prospect to believe.

[ West Side Toastmasters ]


“How To Deal With Unrealistic Expectations in Relationships”

Expectations about how your relationship should run or how your partner should treat you aren’t all bad because it does show that you value yourself and have standards. The issue is that oftentimes, your expectations don’t match up to those of your significant other. These expectations come from our underlying beliefs that are shaped or formed by early life experiences or from our family of origin. These are usually ingrained messages that can also come from friends and communities. When we operate from this place we put negative meaning to the behaviors of our SO when they fail to meet our expectations.

Here are 4 unrealistic expectations that can ruin relationships:

  1. I can make them respond the way I want them to
    There’s only one person in this world you can truly change—yourself—and even that takes great effort. The only way that people change is if they choose to do so. I know, I know, it is tempting to try to change someone so that they can respond the way you want. You hope that your sheer will and desire for them to be better, have better and do better, will change them. You might even actively choose people with problems, thinking that you can “fix” them. You cannot force someone into changing. It is therefore unrealistic to think you can ‘fix’ someone else.
  2. They know what I need
    Life, unlike the movies and TV dramas, is not scripted. Your thoughts and emotions are yours and are in your head, unless you say them out loud, only you know what they are. The same goes for your needs. Your significant other can’t know that you had a rough day and just need a few minutes to decompress, unless you tell them. Your partner won’t know that they upset you, or that you need them to do something, unless you tell them. So often, especially when we have been with our partner for a long time, we feel they should “just know”. This is unrealistic. You don’t know what they are thinking, feeling or needing all the time either. Communicating to your significant other what you are thinking, feeling and needing will take the guesswork; saving you so much heartache in the long run.
  3. They will always agree with your point of view
    Something that’s obvious to you might not be so obvious to your significant other. Like you, your partner’s perceptions, upbringing, experiences, biases and prejudices determine their outlook and their reality. Remember that your expectations are based on your own life experiences, it may not be so obvious to them based on their own life story. Don’t take offense if your partner disagrees with you. Also, don’t assume that there is only one way to look at things (yours). Instead, focus on how you can find solutions that give everyone what they need. Learn the art of compromise. Coming to a solution that works for both parties involved. Ask questions. Find out what the other person is thinking, feeling and need. Leave room for open dialogue that allows you to meet in the middle so you progress together as a couple.
  4. They should know what I mean
    Unfortunately, your spouse cannot read your mind. and what you’re trying to say or the intention behind what you are saying is rarely what other people hear. Just because you told your partner something, doesn’t mean that they understood what you expected of them—you have to be clear. When you assume that they should just know what you are trying to say, or what you meant by what you said; it is easy to leave out relevant information because you don’t think it’s necessary. You think they should “just know”. Especially if your request seems so obvious from your point of view.

So what can you do?
Ask questions and when you communicate, don’t assume. If your spouse says she is “fine” don’t just assume you know what “fine” means, find out what it means to her. Seek to understand, from her perspective, what “fine” means.

If your husband says he will take care of the leaky faucet soon, ask questions to understand what time frame “soon” represents to him.

So now that we have briefly looked at 4 unrealistic expectations, I will give you 4 strategies to let go of unrealistic expectations that can chip away at your relationship.

Strategy One: Use the double-standard technique

Imagine what you would say to a friend or family member who holds the same expectation or beliefs as you do. Often, when you are removed from the situation and on the outside looking in per se, you will say something far more reasonable and realistic. You will think more objectively about your expectation versus reality. By shifting your perspective you can change your unrealistic expectations. Here are 4 thought-provoking questions you can ask yourself to determine if perhaps you are judging your spouse according to a double standard.

Is this a realistic thing to expect from my partner given their ability, current circumstances, and life story?
If I was in their shoes, would this expectation be something I could meet?
If I was in their shoes, how would I perceive this situation?
Have I personally lived up to these expectations consistently?
Asking these questions allows you the space to rethink the situation from a new perspective. Once you do this, you have the freedom to adjust or create a new set of expectations that can help you empower your partner to meet those expectations.

Strategy Two: Reflect on the effects of your expectations

Some powerful questions you can ask yourself are:

Does [the expectation] help or hurt my relationship?

Does [the expectation] move my relationship forward?

Does [the expectation] strengthen or weaken my relationship?

If the expectation negatively impacts your relationship, gently acknowledge it. Recognize that you have an unrealistic expectation in the situation and if it helps, you can even say aloud “This expectation does not help me now.” Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that your expectations are not norms or rules that other people should be governed by. Taking the time to examine and question your expectations will help you to stop judging your partner for being “wrong” about having a different way of doing things. It opens up the door for a conversation between you and your partner to understand each other’s point of view and reach a compromise that works for both of you and makes your union stronger.

Strategy Three: Allow for Flexibility

By this I mean, you should start by being sensitive to changing circumstances. I’ll use an example that may be familiar to you. Perhaps instead of telling your husband, “Babe, you said you would do the dishes if I cooked. We had a deal!” you could perhaps say something like, “It looks like you haven’t had a chance to clean the kitchen. Could we work on it? I can help.”

So why is this strategy more effective? Because you are stating what you need clearly and in a way that gives your husband the opportunity to listen and make a choice. When cleaning the kitchen becomes his choice, he is far more likely to follow through.

In addition, the strategy of being flexible allows room to learn and grow. You learn better/new ways to communicate with your partner. As you listen to their side of things and seek to understand their perspective, you learn more about the one you are with. Better understand how they think, feel, react, and what their expectations are leads to growth for both of you as individuals, but also as a couple growing together.

Strategy Four: Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs

The majority of our unrealistic expectations come from a place of pessimism and doubt which lead us to create “failure scenarios” in our minds. On a subconscious level, we fear we will fail at this relationship. We fear losing our partner for one reason or the other, and that fear can manifest as these unrealistic expectations that chip away at our relationships. To successfully handle these doubts, challenge the underlying limiting beliefs. Here are some questions to ask:

What do I expect will happen?
How do I know for sure that things won’t work out?
What if the way I am thinking is completely flawed?
What’s another, more empowering way to think about this relationship?
What’s a new set of expectations that would be more helpful to keep the relationship moving forward?
The more you challenge your negative thoughts and limiting beliefs the more confidence you gain to keep moving forward.

[ Carmen Riley ]


“How Expectations Undermine Our Relationships and Happiness”

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ~Bruce Lee

A few years ago, my husband was away from me for a few weeks, working in another town. It was summer, and we were living close to the beach at the time, so I often spent my Saturday nights walking along the ocean at sunset, enjoying the colors and sounds.

One Saturday night I was in a simply glorious mood. The beach was filled with happy families and couples, the Atlantic was a particularly lovely shade of aquamarine, and life felt just about perfect.

When I got back to my car I looked at my cell phone and saw that I had missed a call from my husband. I called him back and quickly realized his mood was not nearly as buoyant as my own: He wasn’t particularly chatty, and seemed pretty negative about the work he was doing.

I took this extremely personally and turned cold and quiet almost immediately, eventually taking the very juvenile step of hanging up on him. How dare he ruin my perfect summer evening!?

About ten minutes later, in the parking lot of a grocery store, I had a huge epiphany: He hadn’t ruined anything. It was all me, as my negative feelings were entirely created by my expectations of how he should have behaved.

I had been anticipating that he would be in the same great mood I was, and when he wasn’t, I took it personally. I became upset that he wasn’t acting as I expected. I became angry because he wasn’t meeting the standards I had set.

In other words, I was completely responsible for my deflated mood.

This was the very first time I realized how having expectations of how other people should act was causing unnecessary pain and suffering in my life. Once I started looking around, though, I saw many other examples.

For instance, I once had the expectation that a new acquaintance would quickly respond to my text and agree that she, too, had a nice time hanging out with me.

When she didn’t, I ended up spending more than twenty-four hours wondering if she liked me, feeling pretty bad about myself. (She did eventually respond with a very nice text; she’s just a busy person who doesn’t respond to texts immediately!)

I expected an automatic response, and not getting one undermined my happiness.

Another example is the time I was seventeen and gave my dad a Father’s Day card I thought he’d find really funny, and he barely even responded to it at all.

I had built up a vision of him having a really warm and amused reception to this card, and when there was almost zero reaction, I was crushed. Again, my expectations, and the beliefs about what it meant if they weren’t met, were causing pain.

Before you think that I’m suggesting you lower your expectations of other people and never, ask anything of anyone, let me clarify a bit.

Telling a friend about a tough situation at home and expecting you’ll get some words of wisdom is wonderful. Hoping the guy whose eye you’ve been trying to catch will smile at you today can be fun and rewarding.

Hoping for the outcome you desire is one thing, trying to force it and being overrun with negative thoughts and feelings when it doesn’t work out is another.

You can’t control the way people think, feel, or react. Ever. You may try to, you may want to, but ultimately, how they act is up to them.

And when you base your feelings of happiness, worth, or confidence on the actions or reactions of other people, you’re setting yourself up for many moments (or days or even years) of avoidable misery.

There are a few ways to keep hoping for positive interactions with other people, but not get sucked down into the mud and muck when they don’t go as you expect.

  1. Stop expecting other people to act exactly as you would like them to—it’s a game you’re guaranteed to lose. Instead, try being open to any and all reactions from others.
    If, on that gorgeous night back in 2012, I had opened my mind and heart to my husband with no preconceived notions of what his mood should be, my evening could have remained joyful and I may have even improved his evening, too.

Back when I was seventeen, if I had realized that my dad’s lack of reaction had nothing to do with me, but was about his own problems with expressing emotions, I would have felt far less hurt. I couldn’t make him react the way I wanted, and assuming he would do what would make me happy led to a sad experience for me.

  1. Start building up your own happiness and confidence on something you do have power over: your thoughts and beliefs.
    When someone does the unexpected and it disappoints you, it’s always because you had a belief about what they were supposed to do.

You believe that your mother should have been proud when you won the essay contest, and when she wasn’t, you were sad. If, on the other hand, you lean in to the truth that your mother can react however she wants to, but still believe you are a wonderful writer anyway, your pain won’t be so great.

You believe your son should have gotten better grades, but when he brings home a poor report card, you feel angry and guilty. When you stop believing that your son’s grades are a reflection on you as a parent, and start believing that you’re doing the best you can and letting go of guilt, you suffer less.

  1. Stay in the moment as often as you can.
    Stay present with your thoughts, and see if you’re holding onto expectations of how other people should behave.

It’s when you slip out of being in the now that you are truly disappointed. When this happens, you’re letting your thoughts and stories about what the other person should have done, or what will happen now because of this perceived slight, or why you deserve to be angry, take you out of the now and down a path that is full of rejection and fear.

The bottom line is that you will not find peace if you’re always expecting other people to give it to you with their actions or words or even love. The only way to find it is to drop your expectations of others, let go of what you think they should or shouldn’t do, and allow yourself to create your own happiness.

[ Jen Picicci ]


“8 Unrealistic Expectations That Can Cause Problems In Your Relationship”

Unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of disappointment in your relationship. When things don’t go the way you think they should, you may want to give up on your partner. Relationships are hard work and rarely live up to the happily ever after depicted in movies. If you believe your relationship is supposed to be perfect, you will probably feel let down at some point. In order to maintain a healthy couple connection, you need to try to avoid these 8 unrealistic expectations that can cause problems in your relationship.

  1. You Will Never Fight
    Conflict is normal in a relationship. You are different people with different ideas, opinions, needs, and beliefs. Disagreements provide a different perspective and a chance to come up with creative solutions. In fact, if you and your partner never fight, you are probably not discussing important issues. This might appear to be helpful in the short term, but it can leave you feeling disconnected from your partner, and unsafe in your relationship, in the long term. Fighting with your partner gives you a chance to practice agreeing to disagree and repairing your bond. When conflict is accepted as a normal part of your relationship, you can feel safe saying whatever you need to say, which can bring you closer together.
  2. You Will Do Everything The Same Way
    It is unlikely that you and your partner will do everything the same way. You may have very different parenting styles, daily habits, and cleaning styles. It is also possible that you each show and receive love differently. Expecting your partner to do things exactly the way that you do, can lead to a lot of disappointment in your relationship. This is also true if you feel there is only one right way to do things. Without some flexibility, you will end up nagging, or doing everything yourself. Maybe it’s actually more important that things get done, even if your partner goes about it in a different way.
  3. Your Partner Can Read Your Mind
    Good relationships require effective communication. Believing that your partner will be able to know what you need without you telling them is unrealistic. You will end up feeling let down and will be constantly disappointed if you expect your partner to read your mind. When your partner doesn’t anticipate your wants and needs, you may begin to believe that they don’t care. This can lead to a lot of problems in your relationship and you could start to resent your partner. If you clearly state your needs, you actually learn a lot more about your partner. When you share your needs, you will learn a lot about your relationship by your partner’s response.
  4. You Can Change Your Partner
    Although change is inevitable, entering into a relationship with the belief that you can change your partner isn’t healthy. You can only change yourself. Trying to change someone else is disrespectful. While you do need to be able to compromise to have a successful relationship, you also need to accept your partner for who they are. Assuming you can change your partner can lead to resentment. If your partner feels pressure to change things they don’t want to change, they may resent you. When your partner doesn’t change something you want them to, you may resent them. The lack of acceptance in the relationship can also lead to emotional distance.
  5. Your Partner Will Never Change
    Life is about change and growth. The only way to remain exactly the same is to stay stagnant. You would probably be very concerned if your child didn’t grow and change. However, when your partner changes it can feel unfamiliar and even scary. You may feel as if you no longer know or understand your partner. Change doesn’t have to be scary, it can also be exciting. If there is room in your relationship for healthy growth, your relationship can remain fresh and invigorating long after the honeymoon phase is over.
  6. You Should Do Everything Together
    Since you and your partner are different people, you most likely have some different interests as well. While doing things together is good for bonding, doing things apart can also enhance your relationship. When you focus on your own interests and goals, you have more things to share with your partner. Focusing on what enriches you as an individual can increase your overall emotional well-being. When you feel content and fulfilled, your positive vibes are felt by your partner as well, which is good for your relationship.
  7. Everything Should Be Divided Equally
    While this is a good idea in theory, it rarely works in practice. You and your partner have individual strengths and weaknesses that you each bring to the table. If you enjoy cooking, and your schedule permits, you may want to be in charge of meal preparation the majority of the time. Likewise, if your partner works in the home, it may make more sense for them to take on more of the child care responsibilities. If your partner is sick, you will need to contribute more until they are better. Dividing things equally may not make sense at times. The important thing is that things are divided in a way that works for your relationship.
  8. You Shouldn’t Need To Work On Your Relationship
    Relationships require sustained effort from both people. Life events, misunderstandings, and changing circumstances can complicate your relationship. If your relationship is not a priority, it can be difficult to maintain. Issues in your relationship need to be addressed and you also need to know when to bite your tongue. It can be difficult at times to find the right balance between the two. The decision to work on your relationship together creates a feeling of safety and sense of commitment that can greatly enhance your connection.

Unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of problems in your relationship. If you struggle to maintain more realistic expectations, couples therapy can help. When you are able to lower some of your unrealistic expectations, you can experience a healthier and stronger couple connection.

[ Keir Brady ]


“10 Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Relationship Expectations”

You may have heard the phrase “expectation leads to disappointment,” but what does that really mean? How do you manage relationship expectations to ensure satisfaction – not disappointment?

Realistic Expectations
Holding healthy expectations reflects a sense of order and stability. You go to sleep and expect to wake up in the same bed. You do your job and expect to be compensated.

It’s also reasonable to have expectations in relationships. Respect and honesty from your partner are realistic expectations and the foundation of a healthy relationship. In fact, if you can count on your partner in key ways, it may not be the right partnership.

Unrealistic Expectations
Where the adage “expectations lead to disappointment” holds water is when we consider unrealistic expectations. Believing, for example, that good relationships are free of conflict or that relationships must stay the same in order to survive are impractical expectations. Change and disagreements are totally normal, but if you think they aren’t, you’ll fear for the relationship when they inevitably occur.

10 Dos and Don’t of Managing Expectations
Just because you know unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment doesn’t mean you won’t have them. But you can learn to manage expectations so that they do not negatively impact your relationship. Shifting your energy from unrealistic to realistic expectations will help you cultivate a sense of stability and peace.

Couples everywhere are using apps to connect, communicate and make life more convenient. Download Relish to learn key insights into your relationship, understand your partner better, and learn more ways to live better together. Click here to start your free trial!

Do: Identify Expectations And Boundaries
Take some time to clarify your relationship expectations. Do you expect prompt responses to texts? Do you want to be exclusive with your partner or see other people? Is PDA a nonstarter for you?

Being able to articulate your expectations to yourself gives you a chance to determine if they are realistic and what conditions are deal breakers for you. Make a list if it helps. Once you have established your boundaries and expectations, you can share them with your partner.

Do: Give Your Partner Time
Sharing your expectations can be intimidating, but it is important to be upfront about what you want and to ask the same of your significant other. If the possibility of marriage is essential for you but your partner doesn’t see that in their future, it’s best to get that out in the open sooner rather than later.

Giving your partner time to consider your expectations and share their own, establishes respect for your individual experiences. Once you have shared your expectations, step back and let them process. Some people take more time to process information and emotions. If you’re a fast processor, resist the urge to rush your partner. Giving them time helps to manage expectations in the relationship.

Do: Have An Open Mind
If you and your partner find that your relationship expectations don’t line up exactly, this does not mean your partnership is doomed. Being open minded and considering your partner’s boundaries and their expectations for the relationship can actually lead to growth and greater intimacy. Give yourself time to consider what it really important to you and where you can compromise.

Do: Embrace Change
A major unrealistic expectation is believing that change threatens, rather than enhances, partnerships. It is unrealistic to think that a relationship won’t change over time. Any long-term relationships will need to respond to changes with flexibility in order to survive.

Tapping into resources like Relish’s expert relationship coaches can help you build reflection, communication, and self-care strategies that can enable you to respond to changes in your relationship—and in life—with resilience. Click here to sign up for full access to our coaches and resources free for one week!

Do: Respect Conflict
Just like change, conflict is inevitable. Believing that you can have a relationship without any conflict is an unrealistic expectation for sure. Many psychologists contend that you cannot have growth without conflict and a relationship that is not growing and evolving will eventually wither.

Conflict can be painful and especially difficult if you grew up in a household that avoided conflict or in which conflict was explosively expressed. Practicing empathetic listening and using “I” statements when communicating can de-escalate conflict. Understanding that conflict will occur in your relationship is a healthy expectation that will quell some anxiety.

Don’t: Bottle Up Your Feelings
As with conflict, don’t deny or ignore your feelings. You may feel that you are protecting your partner or your relationship by bottling things up, but feelings want to be felt and they’ll always find a way. If you fear what will happen if you share your feelings with your partner, take some time for self-reflection. Journal about your feelings or speak to a trusted friend. Approach your partner when you feel calm and can speak to each other without distractions.

Don’t: Compare Your Relationship To Others
There is a whole genre of movies dedicated to making us feel disappointed in our relationships. But whether we are comparing our partnerships to rom-coms or influencers on Instagram, none of those relationships are a full reflection of reality. They are scripted or curated.

It is easy to fall into that trap, but it will lead to unrealistic expectations and potential disappointment. If you find yourself comparing your relationship to others: stop. The urge to compare might be an indication that it is time to refocus and reinvest in your relationship. Reflect on your own healthy expectations and communicate your desires to your partner.

Don’t: Expect Your Partner To Read Your Mind
A major unrealistic expectation is believing your partner knows how you feel without you telling them. No matter how close you are or how long you have been together, your partner cannot read your mind. The only way to guarantee that your partner knows how you feel is to talk to them. Building good communication skills is one of the best ways to ensure relationship longevity.

Relish’s interactive quizzes, curated articles, and personal relationship coaches can help you improve communication and connection with your partner. Try Relish for free for 7 days! Download now.

Don’t: Get Stuck In A Rut
Even if you aren’t resisting change or clinging to the status quo your relationship may stagnant from time to time. Couples who succeed in managing relationship expectations know that ruts happen. They pull themselves out by communicating, being honest about their feelings, and taking action to improve things, like..

Trying a new hobby together
Spending more phone-free time together
Having more date nights
Scheduling intimacy
Seeing a relationship counselor
Working out together
Making a list about everything you like about each other.
Don’t: Sweat the Small Stuff
Fretting over minor problems can harm a relationship. It is unrealistic to expect a relationship to be free of annoyances, but it is important to keep them in perspective. If your partner folds the towels “wrong” and leaves their shoes in the hallway, but always listens to your stories and sends your mom a birthday card, maybe you can let the towel thing go.

Expectations are human. We all have wishes and hopes and sometimes they can lead to unrealistic expectations for our relationships.

Managing expectations in a relationship means grounding our hopes in reality and respect for ourselves and our partners.Join the Relish community today and stop sweating the small stuff! Get started for free.

[ Caitlin Killoren ]


“How to Conquer Expectations and Live the Life You Love”

To defeat expectations is to treat yourself kindly. You cannot control what others think about you, but you can choose how you talk to yourself. Read how.

Manage your life; don’t let others’ expectations define how you live.
Your glass is not empty or full; it’s already broken.

“You see this goblet?” — asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai Buddhist master.

“For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table, and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, “Of course.”

When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”

Expectations make us suffer — pretending that things will go our way creates unnecessary stress.

Life is like a fragile glass;  it will break sooner or later. Rather than expecting things to happen one way, enjoy them for what they are —and while they last.

The Problem with Expectations
“Deceiving others. That’s what the world calls a romance.” — Oscar Wilde
People tell me that, sometimes, they feel they are living someone else’s life. Like something is missing. That’s because they allow other people to determine their choices.

Social pressure is deceiving — we can quickly lose control of our lives without noticing it.

Your boss, partner, friends, parents, and more have expectations — they don’t see you for who they are. They observe the gap between who you are and what they want you to become.

To overcome expectations, we must maintain ownership of our choices.

Pleasing other people is like chasing a moving target. Everyone has different hopes for you. Social pressure is fluid — people will continually change their expectations toward you.

Expectations are an illusion. By trying to please everyone, we end pleasing no one — ourselves included. That’s why most people don’t live the life they want. Everyone feels frustrated and disappointed.

That’s why it’s better to expect the unexpected — accept the glass will break.

Anticipation is tedious — even when things go as expected, we can’t enjoy unsurprising events.

Even the few times we get what we wished for, we cannot be happy either.

That’s the problem with anticipation — we experience things before they happen. We fall in love with expectations. If what we anticipated doesn’t come true, we feel life is unfair. If it happens, then the lack of surprise makes the actual experience less exciting.

The same happens with people. They expect you to behave in a particular way, but when you fail you to do so, they get frustrated. If you do please their expectations, they will have new hopes for you.

High Expectations Are Not a Good Influence
“Don’t walk in my head with your dirty feet.” ― Leo Buscaglia
People tend to make decisions based on how others expect them to perform. Others can help us raise or lower our bar. Most people try to fulfill other’s expectations to gain respect and appreciation.

People who believe in you can inspire you. However, what happens when their intentions don’t align with your desires? How can you stay in charge of your own life?

We all crave autonomy. No-one wants to be told how to live. Don’t expect people to live up to your expectations. That’s one of the hardest things in life: we have a hard time understanding that people are not under our control.

Similarly, people’s expectations are theirs; you have no obligation to fulfill them. Pushy influence always creates disappointment.

In Mind over Mind, Chris Berdik explains how anticipation can inform, even dictate, our future experiences. The science journalist reveals how our forward-thinking brain shapes our actions and perception. He describes tricked wine tasters who rejected and later rewarded an identical vintage based on a higher price tag.

Berdik also uncovers the downside of expecting too much, such as when star athletes fall apart at a crucial moment. Likewise, people who watched an uplifting movie were deceived by their expectations. Those who had earlier read about the benefits of joy felt less happy after watching the film than those who hadn’t.

Aiming for the best is not the problem — our attachment to our expectations is the issue.

Dalai Lama said, “Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”

When our expectations are unrealistic, they turn into a bigger problem. Like hoping that glass will never break. That’s why we should expect the worst and aim for the best.

You have expectations of others. And others stack expectations on you. Some are more realistic than others.

Believing that unspoken expectations will bring you what you want is unrealistic. Expecting your colleagues to do what is in your interest, but not theirs is unrealistic. To think that your children will always follow your rules drives disappointment.

People Expect You to Be Someone Else
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
Many people bear resentment when the outcome of an event is less than they imagined it would be, even if their expectations were based on unrealistic assumptions.

The gap between what people expect from you and who you are makes everyone frustrated. To bridge that void, you must reframe your relationship with people’s expectations.

Not expecting things from others is the first step towards preventing people from dictating how you live.

Life is reciprocal — when you realize no one owes you anything, you won’t expect people to owe you anything either.

Expectations create a social contract — it’s an implicit agreement between others and you. If you don’t push back, people will assume you are okay with it.

That’s why people invade our lives. When they don’t see any resistance, they keep moving from a beachhead to conquer your entire life. Some do it on purpose — they love controlling other’s lives. Others do it because they are merely reacting — their behavior reflects what others do to them.

Regardless of people’s intentions, it’s up to you to overcome their invasion. Speak up.

If you don’t resist, not only you legitimize the agreement, it becomes a social practice. Soon, you’ll start doing the same to others — when you let other people define your life, you want to prescribe theirs too.

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How to Defeat Expectations

  1. Put your oxygen mask first:
    The first step to getting rid of expectations is to treat yourself kindly. To take care of others, you have to put on your oxygen mask first — address your needs before attending people’s desires.

Accepting yourself as you are (flaws included) is the foundation for a long-term friendship. When we take who we are, there’s no room for pushy influence.

Being self-compassionate is like fresh oxygen to your mind.

Research by Dr. Kristin Neff shows that compassionate acts towards ourselves release the ‘feel-good’ hormones. Increased levels of oxytocin make us feel comforted, calm, and connected.

  1. Adjust the Way You Think
    You cannot control what others think about you, but you can choose how you talk to yourself. Your inner-talk can help or harm you, as I wrote here. Learn to choose your words wisely.

You are the best person you can talk to.

Pay attention to your inner dialogue. Are you being kind to yourself or adding more pressure? Does your conversation focus on who you are and what you want to be? Or is it full of expectations of who you should be? Your dialogue should be yours, not shaped by other people’s thoughts.

  1. Speak Up
    People need limits — some because they are acting without noticing it, others because they tend to impose their desires. Speak up. Don’t let them dictate who you are and what you should do.

People will assume the social contract is active unless you explicitly break it.

Learn to draw a line. You don’t need to be harsh, though. Just let others know when they are out of bounds — not everyone realizes when they are trying to define how you live.

  1. Free Yourself and Free Others
    When you remove your preconceptions and expectations, you can do the same to others. Living the life you love is liberating — you don’t feel the pressure to please others. Similarly, you won’t need to impose your will on others either.

When you take ownership of your life, people feel empowered to follow suit.

Expectations are an illusion — they add useless pressure to everyone. Let’s recover the joy of living. Remember when you were a kid. You probably didn’t have time for expectations — you were busy enjoying life one-minute at-a-time.

  1. Stop Judging, Stop Expecting
    Expectations derive from being judgmental — when someone can’t accept how you behave, they expect you to change. By learning to be more compassionate toward yourself, not only you’ll ease your own expectations, you won’t feel the need to judge others.

Life is not perfect — removing expectations will let you appreciate your life as is.

Judgment adds frustration, and negativity — perfectionists are never happy. When you let go of expectations, you create space to enjoy the here and now. Your life is not what it should happen, but what is happening as you read this post.

Removing expectations doesn’t mean lowering your bar but letting go of unnecessary pressure. Only when you feel relaxed, you can give your best.

Learn to see the glass broken.

Enjoy things while they last and be okay when they break. Living without expectations requires accepting the worst and aiming for the best. And that applies to what people expect from you too.

[ Gustavo Razzetti ]


“6 warning signs of unrealistic expectations in relationships”

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Placing unrealistic expectations on a partner is common in romantic relationships.

This could be around expecting the relationship to be argument-free, wanting to do everything together, or hoping they say the right thing on cue.

Trying to work out whether you or your significant other place unrealistic expectations on your relationship? Here are the key signs to look out for and lessons to take away.

1) Thinking it will be romantic all of the time
We have rom-coms, social media and advertising to thank for this one.

Why romantic love is a complete myth
Everywhere we look, we see grand romantic gestures and sparks flying between fictional characters, people on billboards and couples on Instagram.

It’s all dialed up to the max for the ultimate impact, and it makes us feel like what we have isn’t good enough.

The reality is that the newly-engaged couple posting from the Bahamas also bicker about leaving socks lying around the house – and, if they don’t in the first few months, you can bet they certainly will a few years in.

There’s also more than meets the eye with these sorts of posts: a 2014 study revealed that people who constantly post about their romantic partners typically have low self-esteem and are seeking external validation. So it might not be that great, after all.

As for the adverts and movies, remember it’s all constructed from people’s fantasies. It triggers a sinister effect in the real world: a study from 2015 actually linked the media’s portrayal of persistent pursuit to stalking – rom-coms like Love Actually promote the notion that stalking is a compliment.

Lesson

Don’t believe all you see on social media and in the movies.

The common unrealistic expectation is that romance is alive all day, every day in the form of gestures like bouquets of flowers and surprise plane tickets for weekend trips away.

One thing to recognise is that our partners have their unique love languages. It might not be covering the bed in rose petals every night (or ever), but instead leaving notes around the house that express gratitude or doing the chores so you don’t have to.

Be aware of the subtle small things your partner does every day to begin shifting your attitude around romantic expectations.

However, if gestures like rose petals on the bed are important to you then communicate this to your partner – just don’t expect them every night.

2) That your partner will be into all of the same things as you
For your relationship to be successful there are fundamental values you’ll want to align with your partner on, like your short and long-term goals, and ultimately what’s important to you in life.

For example, do you both want a big family, to work and live in a bustling city or to travel around the world working as digital nomads for the next 10 years?

Psychotherapist Blair Glaser explains that it’s necessary you arrive at a common vision, which is a simple leadership skill.

But it’s unlikely your partner is a carbon copy of you, who’s into all of the same things as you. Expecting otherwise is where it starts getting into unrealistic territory.

There might be lots of mutual interests, but it’s healthy to retain your individuality and have your own things going on.

While you might have once shared numerous mutual interests, remember we evolve, grow and change our perspectives as we get older, read more books and meet new people.

In a relationship, changes could manifest as butting heads over religious views and diet choices.

You might have always been a big meat eater, who loved cooking steaks each week, but now you want to go vegan; maybe after years of attending the church, you want to explore Buddhism.

Lesson

It’s crucial your partner understands and supports your decisions – and doesn’t belittle you in any way – but one thing you can’t do is expect them to also make these transitions with you. You’re on your own life path.

Respectfully agreeing to disagree is one way to navigate these situations.

Though, of course, if cooking meat-free and practicing Buddhism is absolutely what you want in a partner, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and have a discussion about your fundamental values.

3) They’ll always say the right thing

No one can read your mind – despite what the rom-coms tell us.

Your partner might know you inside-out, but they’re certainly not a mind reader so you can’t expect them to say the right thing on cue every time.

It might be that you’ve bought a new item of clothing and you’re hoping your partner will gush over how great you look, but instead, they say you look “nice”.

It’s not going to go well if you have a preconceived idea of what you want anyone to say; we have no control over what compliments others dish out or the advice they share.

A 2015 study from Baylor University confirms that expecting your partner to be a mind-reader, which is technically called “passive immobility”, harms relationships.

Lesson

You’ll be filled with disappointment all of the time if you place an expectation on what you want to hear. Accepting this truth and making peace with it will make your life a lot easier – in all situations in life, including romantic relationships.

Cut your partner some slack if they fail to say exactly what you wanted to hear – as long as they mean well.

Though, remember there’s a difference between someone who disregards your efforts and doesn’t ever pay you a kind compliment, and someone who doesn’t deliver their thoughts quite like you’d like to hear – but the good intention is there.

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading the article ⌄

Suffering from Empty and Draining Relationships?

The legendary shaman Rudá Iandê reveals the 3 most important factors to healthy and loving relationships (and to experience them right now).

Communicating what it is you need to hear from your partner is important, as is relinquishing control over their choice of words.

4) Hoping for the relationship to be argument-free
In an ideal world, we would all get along all the time and our lives would be conflict-free.

But it’s not possible with opposing opinions flying around in all directions: we have unique life stories, upbringings, and belief systems to go off, and this means we clash with one another.

This happens in the workplace, in friendships, and, yep, in romantic relationships.

Disagreeing is healthy.

Here’s a fun fact from psychology and social scientist David Niven, taken from his book 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships: “Married couples who report they never argue with each other are 35 percent more likely to divorce within four years than are couples who report regularly disagreeing.”

Lesson

Debating allows us to see new perspectives – so if you and your significant other do butt heads, see what you can learn from the situation. An outcome that works for you both is the ideal situation, but agreeing to disagree is a mature way to settle things.

It’s naive to think there won’t be any arguing at all, and this expectation that there won’t is one of the most damaging for a romantic relationship.

It’s just about how you argue. Nasty comments are a no-no and an unprogressive way to communicate, as is anything physical – if you’re experiencing this then it’s worth seeking professional help and speaking to your support network.

5) That you should do everything together
This notion is rooted in being two-peas-in-a-pod, an inseparable duo who do absolutely everything together.

When you first get into a relationship, it’s normal to want to be around that person all of the time and – but from the outset, it’s essential you retain your independence by having your own interests, hobbies and friends.

By spending all of your time with your significant other, your sense of self and individuality will blur and you’ll begin identifying as a double act, which isn’t how you started out in this life.

We’re all capable of being independent and it’s key we return to this truth regularly while in romantic relationships.

Spending too much time with your partner can also have a negative impact on other relationships around you.

Psychologist Theresa E. Didonato explains that “studies show that women who more quickly increase time spent with a romantic partner more quickly decrease the amount of time they spend with their best friend”.

Having an overlap with some friends will facilitate enjoying social events together so there is merit in fostering mutual friends. Though, retaining and nurturing separate friendships and groups will allow you to just be you.

As for hobbies and interests, if you were to do absolutely everything with your other half, what would there be to talk about?

Attending something fun together like a salsa class might be an idea for strengthening your connection, but insisting your partner comes along to your pottery class will mean one less thing to tell them all about.

Lesson

Coming together with a partner should compliment and enhance your life; you shouldn’t feel dependent on them for your happiness or success, and the fear of doing absolutely everything with them is that you do develop codependency.

Like anything in life, it’s about balance. To foster a healthy relationship, there should be a mix of things you do and events you attend together, and those that you enjoy solo.

If you’re in a longer-term relationship and the thought of doing anything by yourself scares the hell out of you, step into that fear and put yourself out there – attend that birthday party by yourself and see that you can do it.

6) That everyone you know will love them
This is similar to expecting your partner to say the right thing: expecting that everyone you know will love your partner is absolutely out of your control.

There are many things in life that are out of our control, and how others think and behave is right up there. It’s our natural disposition to want to control what people are saying about us and our choices, but it’s a hard fact that we have no influence over it.

Trying to control what others think is a lose-lose situation: even if you tell others everything going on in your life is fantastic, including your relationship, people will have their own thoughts on the truth of the situation.

People love to gossip and hypothesize about others’ relationships and their longevity – reality dating shows are among the most-watched around the world. We love being voyeurs and having opinions about others’ decisions.

“We’re so driven to understand love, we will even overlook the artificial when we read a novel or watch a movie or play,” explains Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love, to Good Housekeeping.

Lesson

It’s important to shrug off the judgement of others, which we have no hold over.

There could be numerous reasons those around you don’t love your partner – some worth listening to more than others. Crucially, it depends where these opinions come from.

It’s perfectly normal to have ups-and-downs with your other half and vent to those around you about how annoying or inconsiderate they are, or how you want to move out.

It’s OK to tell others how you’re feeling in the moment and to share your thoughts, but be aware of the friction this might cause between your significant other and your friends and family.

If you’re consistently telling your support network that you’re miserable and your partner has done this and that – and it’s a genuinely toxic dynamic – then you have to appreciate why they don’t love them.

But if you’re not running to your friends and family to tell them about your relationship trials and tribulations, and they’ve just decided they don’t like your partner based on a comment they made or something they’ve heard about them from someone else, then it’s a case of mastering the art of not caring what others think.

This, of course, is a work in progress for all of us – though it’s not out of reach.

How this one revelation changed my love life
It’s Justin Brown here, the co-founder of Ideapod, and I have something to confess…

I used to believe I needed to be successful before I deserved to find someone who could love me.

I used to believe there was a “perfect person” out there and I just had to find them.

I used to believe I would finally be happy once I found “the one”.

What I now know is that these limiting beliefs were stopping me from building deep and intimate relationships with the people I was meeting. I was chasing an illusion that was leading me to loneliness.

If you want to change anything in your life, one of the most effective ways is to change your beliefs.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy thing to do.

I’m lucky to have worked directly with the shaman Rudá Iandê in changing my beliefs about love. Doing so has changed my life forever.

Now, Rudá’s teachings can change your life, too.

As the co-founder of Ideapod, I’m in a unique position to be able to bring Rudá’s teachings to our global community.

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Thousands of people have already let me know that this masterclass has changed their love lives for the better.

[ Tina Fey ]


“7 Unrealistic Expectations To Avoid In A Relationship”

silhouette of couple in the rain signifying unrealistic expectations in a relationship
Get expert help dealing with unrealistic relationship expectations. Click here to chat online to someone right now.

The challenges of life are best approached with a perspective of balance. Reasonable expectations make it much easier to navigate the lows and enjoy the highs while pursuing whatever it is you want in life.

Unfortunately, love and relationships are areas where people tend to think in glamorous, romanticized ways that do not reflect reality well. Perceptions are easily tainted by movies, media, social media, and the opinions of others.

Social media is exceptionally bad at fostering unrealistic expectations for a relationship. People tend to only share their bright moments when things are going well – parties, anniversaries, and vacations.

What they don’t typically share are the rougher parts of relationships and love; the times when their significant other is driving them to the brink of insanity, when they may be questioning whether or not they made the right choice and if they were ever compatible in the first place.

The good news is that you can temper your expectations before getting into a relationship and increase your chances of success! Expectations such as…

  1. I’ll know my perfect partner when I see them.
    Most people have some mental image of who they think the person they will spend their life with will be.

These people quickly find out that a mental image does not typically align with reality and who the person is.

People waste their time creating this fictional person in their head, this perfect love that is just going to get them, where everything is going to come together and work out in the end.

Unfortunately, that’s not how any of this works.

The person you love, and who loves you, may not be anything like you imagined. Furthermore, they may not treat you or love you in the way that you thought you’d want. They may also treat you or love you in positive ways that you never imagined. One must remain open to the possibilities.

  1. This relationship will solve all my problems.
    Far too many people think that a relationship will solve whatever problems they are facing in life, particularly if they are depressed and lonely.

The problem is that it creates an overbearing relationship where a person ends up trying to shoulder part of their partner’s emotional baggage, which can breed resentment and anger.

A relationship will not clear up or fix emotional baggage. It only adds to it.

A better approach is to work on fixing whatever challenges and problems you have with yourself, which can be a difficult thing to do and may require a counselor.

Happy relationships come from two partners who are happy with themselves, who choose to be happy with one another. Happy is the key word. It’s perfectly possible to miserably coexist with another person for the rest of your life, if that’s what you really want to do.

  1. My relationship should look like everyone else’s.
    Why do you want a relationship? What exactly are you looking for?

Some people are seeking happiness, trying to alleviate loneliness, or just think it’s what they should be doing next with their life because that’s just what people do.

Don’t let other people define what a happy, successful relationship looks like for you. Every couple is different. They all have their own quirks and nuances that make them unique.

If you try to hold your relationship up to the standards of others, you are always going to find yourself lacking.

Again, it’s a matter of perception. Most people do not put the negativity and challenges they face on display for the world to see. They deal with those things behind closed doors while showing only the positive things.

You do not want to be comparing your total experience to another person’s highlight reel.

  1. I will not have to make sacrifices if the relationship is right.
    Sacrifice and compromise are imperative in a healthy relationship. You’re not always going to get to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, how you want to do it.

It’s unreasonable to expect anyone else to bend to every wish and whim of their partner. Yet, people often expect to be catered for in a way that is unreasonable to both members of the relationship.

The truth of the matter is that someone who loves you, while having their own wants and needs, should be willing to look for a middle ground where the both of you can be comfortable.

The best relationships follow a 60/40 rule, where both partners are trying to give 60% to the relationship. There are some days when you’ll sacrifice for your partner; there are others where they will sacrifice for you. This is normal and healthy when both parties are contributing.

  1. Real love is just like it is in the movies.
    Movies and stories are created by people for entertainment. They have a definitive arc to them where they start, peak, and eventually end.

And when do they typically end? In romance movies, it’s often on the highest note after the protagonists have faced some daunting challenge and managed to overcome it. Pure catnip for the hopeless romantic.

Real life romances do not follow a dominant arc to a single conclusion. Real romances have highs and lows, like everything else in life.

Sometimes things are sunshine and rainbows, other times the storm clouds roll in and blacken the skies. There aren’t always clear and definitive stories, nor are there definitive beginnings and endings. Sometimes things just blend together as time goes on.

  1. They will change for me if they love me.
    A person is not going to change who they are at their core without some powerful influence impacting them and shaking them deeply. It just doesn’t happen. Yet, people still think that they can change who their partner is at a fundamental level.

Never expect someone to change for you, and don’t change who you are to make someone else happy. Even if they do, eventually that person will grow to resent you for it and the relationship will crumble to pieces further down the road.

Does that mean that people don’t ever change? Not at all. We can facilitate change through encouragement and inspiration, holding the people around us to a standard we expect for ourselves.

Far too many people let themselves be treated like doormats because of what they perceive to be love, but it’s not. Love does not tear down and destroy. It nurtures and builds.

  1. True love can overcome all things.
    One of the harshest lessons of life is to learn that love is not enough to make for a happy, lasting, loving relationship.

A person can have all of the feelings in the world for a potential partner, but it doesn’t mean that person will reciprocate those feelings.

It also doesn’t mean that the person’s life will align or mesh well with yours. Things like careers, children, and life trajectory can make a pair of lives incompatible in romantic terms.

The ability to let go of things that aren’t right or meant for you is an important skill to develop in life. Sometimes, people come into our lives to make an impact and adjust our course, but they aren’t meant to be there forever.

The good news is that there are a lot of amazing, interesting, wonderful people out there who would be happy to share love with you.

It can just take some time to find them. The best way to spend that time is by working on building yourself into a happy, healthy, loving person of your own.

Not sure what to do about your unrealistic relationship expectations? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

[ A Conscious Rethink ]


“9 Reasonable & Unreasonable Expectations In A Relationship

Reviewed by Natalie Finegood Goldberg, LMFT, CST, Psychotherapy
July 8, 2022 By Sanjana Lagudu, BPharm, MBA

IN THIS ARTICLE
Should You Have Expectations In A Relationship?
Why Do Overexpectations In A Relationship Cause Problems?
Reasonable Expectations In A Relationship
Unreasonable Expectations In A Relationship
How To Manage Expectations In A Relationship?
Frequently Asked Questions

It is not unreasonable to have rational and sensible expectations in a relationship. Every person enters into a relationship with the hope of forming an association that brings out the best in both you and your partner. While in the initial days of the relationship, one may think that the happy moments and the spark will last forever. However, it is not always the case. With passing time, one begins to expect certain things from their partners. However, having unreasonable expectations from a partner can lead to unwanted friction and tension. It may cause long-term harm to your relationship. Therefore, it is of prime importance for you to check on your expectations, have clarity regarding what you want from each other, and work towards building a happy and healthy relationship. Read this post as we talk about some tips on molding your relationship constructively and practically.

Should You Have Expectations In A Relationship?
Human relationships are shaped by expectations — it’s only natural. A relationship evolves based on expectations. Often, you and your partner might match each other’s expectations, making you believe that having expectations equals a healthy partnership.

Let’s consider the case of Ann and Richard. Ann assumed that Richard would do anything to make her happy, as had always been the case. She wanted an expensive bracelet as a gift for her birthday and had hinted about it many times to Richard. He, instead, bought her some flowers.

Why didn’t Richard live up to Ann’s expectations? He did not get that bonus he had been eagerly waiting for; hence, he didn’t have the amount to purchase the bracelet. Even after being told that he didn’t receive the bonus he was hoping for, Ann continued to be upset. She felt that Richard wasn’t as caring as before. This is when Ann should have understood that expectations can’t always be fulfilled.

It is good to have expectations up to a certain point. It shows that you have a trusting partner and have faith that they would behave in a particular manner. But it is also important to realize and learn how to react when your partner doesn’t behave as expected. Expecting that your partner will keep you above everything else all the time is unrealistic and can result in undesirable outcomes.

Why Do Overexpectations In A Relationship Cause Problems?
You believe that your partner should react to your expectations in a particular manner, and when that doesn’t happen, you are disheartened.

Sometimes, your partner might be well aware of your expectations and vice versa. However, at times, they may be thoroughly unaware of what you expect from them. This is when misunderstandings and problems arise, with expectations taking the form of ego clashes and constant squabbles.

Whether you like it or not, you should know that your partner isn’t a mind reader. There will be times when you will have to articulate your feelings and not make assumptions. As individuals, both you and your partner might have certain expectations, and you may need to make adjustments or fulfill them to sustain a healthy relationship. It is important to give each other a decent amount of time to figure out what you expect of one another.

Almost all relationships are far from perfect. Couples, in general, have issues that need to be ironed out to have a strong partnership. Knowing and understanding each other’s expectations will ultimately result in a quality relationship wherein both partners treat each other with dignity and respect.

Reasonable Expectations In A Relationship
Having reasonable expectations is healthy for your relationship. Each one of us has certain necessities that need to be fulfilled. Let’s take a look at some of the reasonable expectations that partners in a relationship can hold.

  1. Affection
    You feel special when your partner is extremely fond of you and expresses their feelings and emotions by kissing and hugging or holding hands. It is a wonderful feeling when your partner admires you and shows it in their actions and deeds. Affection is one of the major components of a healthy relationship, and if you both give each other a lot of love and affection, you are bound to be happy in your relationship.
  2. Respect
    When you have mutual respect, it signifies that your relationship is moving in the right direction. A respectful partner wouldn’t mock you even if they disagree with you on certain matters. You need to have healthy debates and reasonable arguments that do not result in insults or disrespectful behavior. A partner who respects you should appreciate you as an individual and be respectful of your choices.
  3. Time
    Time plays a very crucial role in shaping a relationship. As partners, the two of you need to find time for each other while also having a shared personal space that is only yours. It is not unusual for your partner to occasionally not give you the time that you deserve. This shouldn’t be a common occurrence, but a rare one. In case either of you does not make time for the other person, consider rethinking the parameters of the relationship.
  4. Compassion
    One of the most important things for a relationship to keep going is compassion. There will be times when you are hurt or down, and it is a reasonable expectation to have your partner by your side, assuring you that no matter what, they will always be there to lift you.

Your partner might not completely understand or feel the pain you are in, but it makes a huge difference when they try to reach out and empathize with you. A gentle touch and a kind word from your partner during a particularly testing time can go a long way in forging a strong partnership.

  1. Thoughtfulness
    An ideal partner should be someone who behaves appropriately with you and treats you with consideration. How your partner behaves with you when alone or in public is significant as this can make or mar a relationship. Your partner does not need to fulfill all your desires. What’s important is that they are considerate about how you think and feel.

Being thoughtful about each other’s wants and desires is crucial in a relationship. Both partners should work in tandem to develop a perfect relationship based on shared values and aspirations.

Unreasonable Expectations In A Relationship
Look at your relationship from a neutral perspective, and ask yourself if what you want from your partner is justified. Do you have realistic relationship expectations? Are you certain that these expectations are based on realistic goals?

Unknowingly, you might have harbored unreasonable expectations from your partner, which might cause a great deal of unhappiness to the two of you and result in vast emotional conflict. Read on to learn what these unrealistic expectations are.

  1. Expecting your partner to read your mind
    Some people in relationships tend to believe that they do not need to communicate their needs and expectations and that everything should be understood without speaking a word. So, when their expectations go unfulfilled, it leads to frustration and anger. It is unrealistic to think that your partner would always possess the foresight to know what’s in your mind and act accordingly. Constant and honest communication is essential for a relationship to prosper.
  2. Avoiding conflicts
    Conflicts arise even in the best of relationships. They can be positive because they allow both you and your partner to look closely at the issues in your relationship and understand each other’s likes and dislikes, needs, and changes that the two of you would like to bring about to build a healthier relationship.

Conflicts and arguments are inevitable and normal as long as they don’t start undermining your relationship. To trust that avoiding conflicts is a sign of a healthy relationship is wrong.

  1. Being resistant to change
    Change is a huge part of who we are as individuals. It is only natural that relationships gradually grow and adjust to the various inconsistencies of time. As partners age and mature, so should their relationships. Relationships cannot remain unaffected by multiple factors, such as financial pressures and health issues. Those relationships that endure a lot of strain and come out stronger and more mature tend to survive the test of time.
  2. Expecting your partner to devote all of their time to you
    To build and maintain a strong bond, it is important to devote your time for each other. However, your partner cannot devote all of their time entirely to you. This is an unrealistic expectation that can cause problems.

You and your partner should respect each other’s personal space and take out time to do your respective work. And it is important that you both do not lose your individual identities. Therefore, it is necessary to give time to your personal hobbies and interests as well.

To develop a greater understanding and a deeper bond with your partner, you need to have a more constructive outlook for your existing relationship — build a bridge of appreciation rather than blame and resentment. Cultivate a partnership that is equal and fair, and highlight each other’s strengths and qualities.

How To Manage Expectations In A Relationship?
Romantic relationships have the power to change us as individuals for better or worse. It is tough to manage expectations in a relationship, but not impossible. When expectations are high, you must ensure that they do not destroy the equilibrium of your relationship. What are a few things you can do to manage expectations?

  1. Maintain a healthy distance
    Sometimes, it is necessary to maintain an emotional and physical distance with your partner. It will help you build a relationship based on love, patience, commitment, understanding, and trust. When there is some distance between you two, it paves the way to a healthy and successful relationship. It also enables your relationship to progress at a steady pace, and the two of you grow as individuals.

As partners, it makes sense to rely on one another and still have your identity. Do not give up on what makes you happy and always maintain your sense of individuality.

  1. Focus on things that make you happy
    Do not make your relationship the center of your universe. It cannot be your whole focal point. You need to start looking outside and discover and prioritize things that make you happy and give you a sense of satisfaction.

Your relationship can give you a great deal of true happiness, but you shouldn’t make it a reason for your existence altogether. Take up hobbies, make friends, and do things that enhance your confidence.

  1. Be direct in expressing your feelings
    Always be clear about what you want from your partner. For instance, you might want your partner to attend a family wedding with you or support you in your career choices. Be direct about your wishes, and do not feel guilty about having expectations as long as they are not unreasonable.

Don’t deny yourself the joy and pleasure of being in a relationship just because you cannot have an honest conversation with your partner. If you are absolutely clear that your expectations are reasonable, then boldly discuss it with your partner. Do not allow unnecessary resentment and misunderstanding to gnaw at the foundation of your relationship.

  1. Challenge the “Shoulds” you carry about your partner
    Expectations often include the word “Should” (i.e., they should know, they should take out the trash, they should be smarter). But when you are thinking in “shoulds,” it means your thoughts are rooted in judgements which might be connected to unrealistic expectations or faulty beliefs. If you find yourself thinking your partner “should ” (fill in the blank), it helps to ask yourself, “Why should they?” and “what else might be happening that they aren’t _” (fill in the blank). This allows us to practice empathy and understanding for why our partners aren’t doing what we think they should be, rather than judging them.

When your honeymoon phase eventually ends, and reality strikes, it can disrupt your relationship with your partner if it isn’t handled sensibly. A relationship will not always have a rosy side — it has an ugly side too. It is here that, as partners, you need to manage your expectations from each other and forge a relationship with grace and dignity.

It is entirely up to both the partners as to how they arrive at a productive resolution. Do not set unrealistic and unfair high standards for your partner and yourself. Discuss the cornerstones around which you have built your relationship. The characteristics of a partnership keep changing as individuals in the partnership keep evolving.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I have a relationship without expectations?

A relationship without expectations can be possible if both parties are clear about it. It can be fulfilling and may have less resentment and conflicts. Unrealistic expectations may hamper the growth of a relationship and make it complex.

  1. How do I talk to my partner about expectations?

Start the conversation by explaining to your partner that you have certain expectations from the relationship that are important to you. Further, communicate these expectations with “I” statements (I feel or I think) so that they won’t feel overwhelmed. Most importantly, let your words be empathetic and driven by the desire to improve your relationship.

  1. Do expectations lead to disappointment?

When expectations are reasonable and communicated well with your partner, they may not necessarily lead to disappointment. Though your partner may not always be able to meet your expectations, be patient with them and encourage them to give their best.

It is natural to have certain expectations in a relationship. In fact, you may even enter a relationship because you and your partner match each other’s expectations. However, take care that these expectations are realistic and do not overburden your partner. Some reasonable expectations from a relationship are affection, respect, and time. Alternatively, expecting that your partner will never change or have conflicts is unreasonable. Having excessive expectations about a relationship may cause you to be disheartened when they are not met. Hence, be open to making adjustments to sustain a healthy relationship.

Key Pointers
Expectations from your partner are common in relationships and are will keep the romantic flame burning.
Expecting your partner to read your mind or giving all their time to you are considered unreasonable expectations.
Knowing where to limit your expectations promotes a healthy relationship.

[ Sanjana Lagudu ]


“10 Unrealistic Relationship Expectations That Will Leave You Disappointed”

I’m not going to tell you to lower your standards or make excuses for your guy — he could be an undercover loer or just totally wrong for you! But if you’re blaming his wrongness on these unrealistic expectations you harvested while marathoning Disney movies in your parents’ basement as a kid, you might want to reconsider. Holding onto these isn’t only unrealistic, but it’s setting you up for serious disappointment:

  1. EVERY TINY THING YOU DO WILL INSPIRE HIM TO WRITE A LOVE SONG/POEM/MAKE SOME OTHER GRANDIOSE GESTURE OF LOVE.
    Nope nope nope. Own up to the delusion that he’ll be overwhelmed with love for you because of the way you eat your cereal or fold your sweaters — and for the love of God, stop pinning barf-worthy memes about it! He doesn’t have to think every little thing you do is magical and wonderful and the fact that he doesn’t isn’t an indication that he doesn’t love you. Life is boring sometimes. If he loves being with you even when this is the case, that’s what matters. Shameless plug: check out Sweetn, a new startup with free, scientific quizzes that will help you be more successful in dating & relationships. Just click here!
  2. LOVING HIM DOESN’T ALWAYS COME NATURALLY TO YOU, SO YOU MUST NOT BE RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.
    First of all, a lot of things don’t come naturally to you. I bet you didn’t wake up one day and apply a face full of flawless make-up. No! You fearlessly winged that blue eyeliner and applied three coats of lipstick until you eventually got it right. It’s the same thing with relationships. Real committed love requires you to choose a person even when you don’t FEEL like you love them. It’s intentional and selfless and the most “true” kind of love you’ll ever have. Shameless plug #2: Check out Sweetn, the first self-care app for your love life. It helps you make sense of your love life, find the right partner and create the kind of relationship you deserve. Check it out here!
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  4. HE’S GOING TO CHANGE.
    He’s not. You’ll both grow and develop, as will the relationship, but don’t expect his core character qualities to change. Introversion, sense of humor, pessimism – all things that are probably around for the long haul. So if something fundamental about the guy you’re dating doesn’t work for you, call it a lesson learned, do him a favor, and move on. That’s kind of the point of dating.
  5. HE WON’T NOTICE THE SCANTILY-CLAD VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL THAT JUST WALKED BY.
    If you did, he did. This next part goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway just in case. Don’t excuse him to lust after the yoga instructor at the grocery store or make a habit of comparing you to other women — those things aren’t okay, but you have to know it’s unrealistic to expect anyone – male or female – not to notice a lot of skin or a strikingly attractive person. The best guys anticipate things like this and make efforts to be faithful to you with their eyes. Seek that out. It’s worth having.
  6. HE’S GOING TO ANTICIPATE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AND JUST “GET” YOU.
    Sometimes I find myself bumming out that my hubs didn’t telepathically know I wanted extra guacamole on my Chipotle burrito or recognize that I really need to be sad right now, get me a glass of red wine and put “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miz on repeat already. I mean, damn. Is that too much to ask? Yes. Yes, it is. Reality check: As much as we’d love to be understood all the time, our guys are different from us and that’s why we love them. On second thought, though, the guacamole thing should always be expected.
  7. HE’S A GUY, SO HE MUST BE JUST LIKE YOUR DAD.
    Maybe you could trust the men in your life when you were little or maybe you couldn’t. If you couldn’t, I’m genuinely so sorry. That’s broken and it sucks. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, though, know that your guy is not necessarily anything like those men. If your dad had really good hygiene or made a lot of money, know that your guy might just forget to wear deodorant or want to pursue his dream of touring with his band. Not so lucrative, probably.
  8. IT MUST BE OVER SINCE THERE’S LIKE NO MAGIC ANYMORE.
    If your life together doesn’t quite resemble the rom-com you had in mind, don’t panic! Romance will come naturally some days and not-so-naturally other days. The trick is to not read too much into the not-so-naturally days. It’s okay! If you always call it quits when the novelty of the relationship wears off, you’ll never stay with anyone for longer than a year, at best. And besides, the greatest part of life is not romantic love, it’s unconditional LOVE love. I wrote “love” twice to emphasize my point.

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  1. HE’S NOT THE PERSON YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH, SO THE RELATIONSHIP MUST BE HEADING SOUTH.
    Not necessarily. Remember when I said that you’ll both grow and develop? Well, you will. Evaluate the changes and if you’re no longer compatible, consider calling it quits. Otherwise, and especially if you’re married, honor the commitment you made and file it under “just part of it.”
  2. YOU’LL GET ALONG WITH HIS BEST BRO AND YOUR MOM WILL LOVE HIM (AND VICE VERSA).
    A lot of times, Mom has a good sense of people’s intentions and character, but sometimes her sense is wrong. You can only take so much stock in what other people think of your relationship before you own it and tune them out. He doesn’t have to be right for anyone else, he just has to be right for you.
  3. IF HE REALLY LOVES YOU, HE’LL NEVER HURT YOU.
    I’m gonna go ahead and call BS on that right now. Caring about a thing is investing in it. When you’re invested in a person, every mistake they make will feel like a personal affront and cause you a little heartache. Or a lot. People make mistakes, so expect him to fall short of Prince Charming sometimes and learn to have grace for him in those moments. He’ll have to do the same for you.
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    Check out Sweetn, the first self-care company focused on your love life. Take their fun and scientific quiz to get personalized insights, recommendations, and proven tools to help you make sense of your love life, find the right partner, and create the relationship you deserve. Just click here!

[ Audrey King ]


“Do I Have Unrealistic Expectations In My Relationship?”
One word: probably.

Expectations get a bad rap in the dating world, but the reality is that most people come into a relationship with some kind of preconceived idea about how they’ll be treated. (Uh, that’s called having standards, thanks!) In fact, it’s actually healthy to have strong boundaries within your romantic pursuits because it shows you value yourself enough that you want to be respected and appreciated.

However, it’s easy for those simple notions to spiral into big, bad, unrealistic expectations. Soon, your S.O. can get lost in the shuffle if you’re too caught up worrying about how the relationship “should” be going. Both you and your partner’s mental health can take a serious hit trying to live up to some impossible standard.

“You have to remember that they are also a separate person with separate strengths and separate weaknesses,” says Dr. Chloe Carmichael, PhD, psychologist and author of Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandments of Dating. “And just as you want to be loved and accepted for your whole self, so, too, do they.”

“If your partner isn’t meeting your expectations, it doesn’t mean they’re a flawed partner or that the relationship can’t succeed,” adds Dr. Shawntres Parks, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship coach based in Upland, CA. “There’s always room for growth in healthy relationships.”

So, if you’ve recently fallen victim to the plight of overhyping expectations, fear not. Below are some of the most common unrealistic expectations within romantic relationships, as well as how to overcome them. Plus, relationship experts share their insight on creating and maintaining healthy expectations that will set your ‘ship up for all kinds of success. Read on, but don’t expect a lot—ha, just kidding on that one!

  1. You expect your partner to look attractive—always.
    Sure, everyone wants to have that butterflies-in-the-gut feeling of seeing their S.O. from across the room that very first time—but, chances are they aren’t quite as sexy after a long day at the office, fresh from a workout, or first thing in the morning. (Bed head happens!) “Attraction is dynamic,” says Parks, and it’s very normal to change over time. Clinging to the most done-up days won’t just hurt your partner’s ego; it’ll weigh on yours, too.

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How to overcome this expectation: Parks stresses the importance of reframing what attracts you to this person. (Let’s be real: you wouldn’t stay with them otherwise!) She encourages you to see what you’re most attracted to now—especially things beyond the physical. Their deep knowledge of all your favorite true crime podcasts? Their quiet confidence when doing their favorite activity? Heck, what about their dorky sense of humor that perfectly matches yours? Once you think carefully about what you really value about someone, you’ll (hopefully!) see that physical attraction is just one small piece of a very large puzzle.

  1. You expect to have a certain amount of sex on a regular basis.
    “The expectation itself isn’t an issue; it’s when you and your partner aren’t on the same page about it that things get a little messy,” says Carmichael. “If you assume that sex will be on the table three times a week, no matter what—and they’re more along the lines of once a week or, the other extreme, five times a week—one or both of you will likely be disappointed.”

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It can be easy early on in a relationship to assume that regular sex is the norm (whatever that means to you), so as soon as the itch starts to fade, you assume the worst. Plus, sex can be a tricky subject, since even the most sensitive discussion could leave you or your boo feeling undesirable or rejected.

How to overcome this expectation: “Don’t assume that a frequency change (especially a decrease!) means that something is wrong,” says Parks. There are myriad factors that go into sex drive and sex-having, many of which may have nothing to do with you or the relationship. Talk it out with your partner (in an open, non-confrontational way!) and be clear about what you’d like to aim for going forward. As always, it’s a discussion, not a demand.

  1. You expect your partner to always plan date night.
    In the early stages of seeing someone, it’s fun to feel courted and wooed (listen, who doesn’t love flowers and chocolate?). But once you transition into a long-term relationship, it’s not fair to always leave it to the other person to plan couples activities. “They, like you, might be missing that spark, and having the pressure of rekindling it likely won’t make them feel better,” says Carmichael.

How to overcome this expectation: Angst about date night usually means you’re not seeing the level of romance you want in a relationship overall. “If you want your partner to be invested [in romance], what are you doing to model that?” asks Parks. And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be built around one night out: Could you bring home surprise flowers when you know they’ve had a rough week at work? Or, can you set aside a whole evening to do their favorite activity or hobby with them? There’s lots of ways to revive your connection—think outside the (chocolate) box, people!

  1. You expect your partner to pay for (basically) everything.
    It’s super important here that you recognize that a norm and an expectation are not the same thing. If you think that, traditionally speaking, a man is supposed to front the bill for every date, vacation, and unexpected expense (say, you share a car and it needs new tires), I encourage you to reconsider why you believe that and what you’re really looking for.

It’s completely fine if you are someone who wants a partner who is extremely successful on the financial front. But even then, expecting them to whip out their credit card for everything may not only make them feel taken for granted, but also could mean you have to be more flexible in other areas. For example, you can’t expect them to have unlimited funds and unlimited available time to spend with you.

  1. You expect your partner to spend all their free time with you.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend some QT with your cutie (especially if that’s your love language), but when the immediate expectation is for them to be with you 24/7, you’re setting your relationship up for failure. Plus, it means that you will have less time to build your own life separate from them, and stay connected to all the things that make you, you!

What Is Quality Time Love Language?
How to overcome this expectation: “Relationships tend to prosper when both people maintain a level of independence within their own individual lives,” says Carmichael. “It creates a healthy amount of distance that breeds desire for closeness.” Try picking up a new hobby or pastime that’s exclusively yours—that way, if you find yourself missing your partner, dive into your new activity as a fun distraction. Or, when your partner is off doing their own thing, scroll through your contacts and find some old friends to reconnect with. Chances are, a few nights apart will give you some great perspective and you can jump right back into time together.

  1. You expect your partner to apologize first.
    “It’s very unreasonable to expect a person to always apologize, despite the nature of the conflict,” says Parks. It can be easy to slip into the pattern of always retreating and waiting for your partner to come and smooth things over, but that’s unfair to both parties. “The hard truth is, there’s no guarantee that your person will stand by your side forever,” says Carmichael. “So, don’t treat them as such and avoid doing your own work to better your bond.”

These Are The 5 Apology Languages, Experts Say
How to overcome this expectation: As tough as it can be, you need to be willing to be the first one to come forward after a fight. You don’t necessarily have to say, “It was all my fault”—it takes two to argue, after all. But just taking initiative to start the conversation will be something your partner deeply appreciates and will benefit your relationship long-term.

  1. You expect them to have no friends of the gender they’re attracted to.
    Jealousy is a natural part of any relationship, romantic or otherwise. It’s easy to see your partner with a group of friends they could be attracted to and worry about them being unfaithful. “The unmet need is a feeling of security and trust,” says Parks. But that’s no excuse to try and dictate who your partner is “allowed” to spend time with.

How to overcome this expectation: “Create inclusivity in those relationships,” says Parks. “Maybe start to become friends with your partner’s friends, to increase that sense of security.” By spending time with some of your partner’s friends, you’ll be able to see very quickly how platonic they really are. Plus, you may make some new buddies of your own!

  1. You expect that your life takes precedent.
    Everyone gets caught up in the minutiae of their own lives—heck, that’s just being human! But if you’re constantly putting your own issues and problems ahead of your S.O.’s, then that’s not an equal partnership. It can be easy to make excuses as to why you’re both celebrating the holiday at your family’s place this year, or why your work trip trumps their weekend with friends. But assuming they’re okay with these arrangements without checking in and making sure they feel valued means you’re just leaving them in the dust.

How to overcome this expectation: As always, keep the lines of communication very open. You might be surprised at what they value when it comes to some of these issues—maybe they don’t care where they spend the holidays, but that getaway with friends is uber important. Talk through each hiccup as they come up, and show that you want their input before making decisions that affect the both of you.

  1. You expect your partner to take care of things around the house.
    Or, maybe they’re the one always leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Either way, whether you live together or just spend a lot of time having sleepovers, it’s important that both of you respect your shared space. Always sitting back and hoping someone else will pick up the socks—er, I mean, slack—means someone will end up feeling taken for granted.

How to overcome this expectation: “Research shows that relationships and marriages flourish when there’s a more even division of labor [around household chores],” says Carmichael, “so try to come up with a system where neither of you feels like you ‘do it all.'” Maybe have a discussion about your favorite and least favorite housework, so neither person is saddled with their most dreaded task. (Me personally? Anyone who unloads the dishwasher is my new favorite human.)

  1. You expect your partner to always take your side.
    “There’s a difference between expecting your partner to have your back and expecting them to always take your side,” says Carmichael. “One is a matter of support, the other (the latter) is a matter of agreement.” It’s very reasonable to want a person to be there for you through difficult issues and tough times, but no two people will ever agree on everything. If your expectation is that your partner never has critiques, you’re likely to be let down.

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How to overcome this expectation: This issue is twofold: First, are you letting your partner know the best way they can be there for you? Would you rather they just let you vent, or do you genuinely want honest feedback? Let them know this before you’re angry or frustrated, so they feel equipped to respond in a way that’s helpful. Then, Carmichael recommends reframing your expectation to something like: “I expect my partner to take my side, but I also expect that they’ll feel safe to let me know if there’s something I can’t see in my blind spot.”

  1. You expect your partner to read your mind.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to feel in lock-step with your partner, able to anticipate each other’s needs and desires. However, expecting some mind-reading magic for every issue will leave you wanting and, ultimately, disappointed. “One of the things that’s really problematic is there’s no grace for the fact that we’re dynamic as humans,” says Parks. “There’s no space for themselves or their partners to change when they have that fixed expectation that their partner should always anticipate how they’ll respond.”

How to overcome this expectation: Sure, you’ll definitely have moments throughout your relationship where you just know what your partner is thinking and vice versa, but don’t have that be the baseline. There’s nothing wrong with talking out a problem or explicitly telling someone what you want or need. The real magic comes when you both take the time to listen, and make sure everyone feels heard.

  1. You expect your partner to fill every void in your life at all times.
    There are a lot of roles you can take on in a romantic relationship—from confidante to therapist to sexual partner. And it can be a challenge to juggle all of them at once! When you expect your partner to not only be able to play each role perfectly but also know exactly when and how to do so, chances are there will be some mistakes. Not to mention, it’s exhausting.

Are You In A Codependent Relationship?
How to overcome this expectation: “You’ve most likely had people in your life who contributed to your life before your partner—whether that’s mentally, emotionally or physically,” says Parks. “Look at your partner as a supplement to what is already a thriving life.” And, what if you don’t consider your life to be “thriving”? Make sure you put in the time and effort to get there, separate from your partner.

Whew, now that we have those clearly defined—time to dig into some healthy expectations to have in a relationship.

  1. You make time for each other.
    This should go without saying, but just to be crystal clear: That doesn’t mean every! waking! second! needs to be with your partner. Still, the act of clearing out space in your schedule for someone can be just as important as what you end up doing together. Whether it’s setting aside a specific evening for date night, or just sending some encouraging texts throughout the day, prioritize making each other feel valued, says Parks.
  2. You support each other’s interests.
    You don’t have to get into live action role-playing, board games, powerlifting, or crochet just ‘cuz your partner is (though wouldn’t that make you well-rounded!), but make sure you take an interest in what the other is doing. Even if it’s just asking to explain how a game works, or responding with encouragement when you’re each speaking about something you love, make sure you both feel like the other person cares about how you spend your time.
  3. You communicate through conflict.
    It’s a tough thing to accept, but conflict not only will but “should happen in a relationship,” says Parks. How you deal with it is a little more nebulous. “Naturally, there will be points where perspectives aren’t in alignment,” she adds. “In a relationship, you should be able to talk through that when it occurs.” View every argument as a chance to practice this—with mutual respect and inside voices.
  4. You hold each other accountable.

This can look like a lot of different things, but according to Parks, it’s about definition before expectation. “It’s holding people accountable to the things they say they’re going to do,” she says. If you and your partner have never discussed an expectation, neither of you can be expected to meet it. However, if you’ve both discussed something—how many date nights you’ll go on, how you’re splitting chores, who’s making dinner—and someone is regularly not meeting those criteria, then it’s time to have a conversation.

  1. You talk about your expectations.
    Yes, that’s right, the expectations themselves! Parks says that discussing the relationship itself is important—and that goes far beyond the initial DTR. “Have a conversation to define what the relationship is, and constantly have conversations about what are the honest and specific expectations around this relationship,” recommends Parks. “That should be an ongoing dialogue—these conversations should happen at regular intervals, because expectations should and will change.”

[ MACKENZIE HALL ]


“What to Do When Your Partner Sets Unrealistic Expectations “

Are you and your partner on the same page when it comes to the expectations in your relationship? Do you or your partner feel certain needs aren’t being met and there are feelings of inadequacy creeping in? On this episode of Relationship Theory, Lisa and Tom Bilyeu sit down to discuss such matters and more as they explore how to smooth out expectations in your relationship so that everyone’s needs are met while soothing any feelings of inadequacy. They discuss how to address expectations, what the goal of every relationship should be, and how to be reasonable when setting and discussing expectations.

SHOW NOTES:

Expectations | Tom and Lisa discuss how to address your feelings of inadequacy. [0:44]
Be Reasonable | Tom and Lisa discuss how to know if expectations are reasonable or not. [3:52]

QUOTES:

“One of the most fundamental driving forces of a relationship is to make sure that you’re making that person feel better about themselves when they’re with you than when they’re not — but never doing that by bullshitting them. So you’re always being completely real and completely honest.” [4:25]

[ Relationship Theory ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1Ci8ddPaBM


“How Expectations Influence Performance”

Whether we do so consciously or not, we all form expectations about certain things in our lives, from how much we think we’ll enjoy a particular experience to the expectations we form about ourselves and others. Sometimes these expectations are based on prior experience, but more often than not, they’re based on what we’ve been told or the subconscious beliefs we hold.

A growing body of research shows that expectations can influence everything from our perception of taste and enjoyment of experiences to our performance on specific tasks. And it’s not just our own expectations that matter, but the expectations of those around us too.

This is particularly important in the context of learning, because how well we expect to perform, or how well teachers expect their students to perform, can influence the outcome. In general, high expectations improve performance, whereas low expectations seem to undermine achievement.

Expectations: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The first study to look at whether expectations can positively influence performance was carried out in the 1960s by Harvard psychologist Robert Rosenthal together with elementary school principal Lenore Jacobson.

In order to determine whether teacher expectations would influence student motivation and performance, they told teachers that certain students were expected to be high achievers based on their results from a specialised Harvard test. In reality, however, the students had been chosen at random.

Rosenthal and Jacobsen followed these students over the next couple of years to see how the teachers’ expectations would affect them. Sure enough, they found that the students from whom teachers expected more were more likely to have made larger gains in their academic performance.

This psychological phenomenon is now known as the “Pygmalion effect” and was named after a Greek myth about a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he carved.

The opposite of this is the “Golem effect;” named after a similar Jewish myth about a clay creature that was given life by a Rabbi. The idea behind it is that when lower expectations are placed upon us, whether by ourselves or others, our performance goes down.

Both of these effects are forms of self-fulfilling prophecies, but how does it work?

Rosenthal explains that when we expect certain behaviours, we are more likely to act in ways that make the expected behaviour more likely to occur. So, for example, a teacher who has high expectations of his or her students will probably spend more time explaining things, provide more detailed feedback, and encourage students to work harder.

Aspirations vs. Expectations
Other research highlights the importance of recognising the difference between aspirations and expectations. Researchers from the University of Bristol point out that aspirations are more about the desire to do well, whereas expectations are about believing in the likelihood of success.

Their study demonstrated that although students with low aspirations and low expectations performed the worst at GCSEs, students with high aspirations but low expectations also tended to perform poorly compared to those with high expectations.

Similarly, a review on aspirations by the Education Endowment Foundation concluded that interventions aimed at raising aspirations had little to no positive impact on educational attainment. Why? Because having a desire to do well isn’t the same as actually believing that you can do well.

Although less research has been done to determine how self-expectations can influence our performance, it stands to reason that when we have high expectations for ourselves, we will begin to act in ways that will make the expected outcome more likely.

For instance, if you expect to graduate with a degree with honours, you are more likely to put more effort into your studies and work hard to earn extra credits. On the other hand, if you have an exam coming up and you’re already expecting to fail it, you may not put as effort into studying and preparing for it as you would have if you believed that you could achieve a good grade.

Setting High Expectations to Improve Performance
Setting high expectations for yourself and those around you can help those beliefs become reality. So what can we do to set higher expectations in order improve academic achievement, whether for ourselves, our students, or our employees? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t Settle for Less
When you truly believe that you can achieve something, failure simply isn’t an option. Once this becomes your mindset, you’ll begin to view the problems you encounter along the way as challenges to overcome or puzzles to solve, rather than insurmountable obstacles.

If you have reason to believe that a certain test or assignment will be especially difficult, put in the extra hours to thoroughly prepare yourself. When you do fall short, try to find out what went wrong and how you can do better instead of accepting defeat.

If you’re teacher, emphasise to your students that although the test will be difficult, they can succeed with proper preparation. If they struggle with certain tasks, help them reflect on their processes and learn from their mistakes.

This is where developing a growth mindset comes in, because once we see hard work paying off, we begin to focus less on intelligence or natural ability and more on how much effort we’re putting in.

Set Expectations Early On
Research shows that the positive effects of expectations are most strongly felt at the start of the school year or at the beginning of a new project. This is likely because we tend to start things with a more open mind and are more open to new possibilities.

So try to set positive expectations early on and identify some goals will help you turn those expectations into reality. Keep in mind that research also shows that in order for expectations to have the desired effect, they do need to be realistic. So set challenging goals and think positively, but also try to be realistic in your planning so you can actually reach the finish line.

Celebrate Victories
Finally, don’t be afraid to celebrate your victories. If you studied hard and earned a good mark on an exam; don’t downplay it by saying you got lucky or the material was easy. Be proud and acknowledge that you did well. When your students go above and beyond with an assignment, praise them for their effort and let them know that you’re proud of how far they’ve come.

Like the French Philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “Treat a human being as they are, and they will remain the same. Treat them as what they can become, and they will become what they can become.”

[ Marianne Stenger ]


“I Met Expectations: 5 Reasons Why Performance Management Needs to Change”

We love performance reviews, although we know we’re not in the majority; just check your social network of choice any day of the week and you can see how unloved the poor things are. But why? And does it have to be that way?

  1. Performance Reviews are Demotivating
    Traditional reviews create and enforce a one-sided power base, with employees typically on the back foot. Employees know reviews are coming & dread them, and so morale drops for ages beforehand.

Meanwhile, managers have to give all the year’s negative feedback in one hit. They’re only human (mostly) & hate this – especially when employees are also friends. To top it off, everyone has to be careful what they say, leading to forced & unnatural conversations. That’s fun for no one.

  1. Performance Reviews Aren’t Useful
    They’re actually pretty hard work, which would be fine if they were also useful. But what usually happens is managers spend a lot of time gathering a lot of information on employees, and that information goes…nowhere. That’s a lot of wasted effort – you’d hope to get something in return for all that work!
  2. Performance Reviews Create Bad Managers
    Why are we doing performance reviews? Because we want to get better performance out of our people and improve behavior. Feedback is important, but great feedback can be given in three minutes in a corridor – so why all the paperwork? Why do we get it so wrong?

Managing people should be a continuous process, not an occasional (or rare) one.

Useful feedback should be candid and timely, allowing for resolution and closure – not collected and given at some future point where it means nothing & can’t be acted on. Traditional reviews encourage managers to find something to fix for every employee (even if nothing’s broke). This has to stop!

  1. Performance Reviews Ignore Team Dynamics
    Managers are used to managing teams as teams – not as individuals, which is what most reviews force them to do. It’s much easier to say ’Sally is a better leader than Jim’ than it is to decide whether Sally deserves a 3 or 4 in leadership.
  2. Performance Reviews Remove Information from the Organization
    Met expectations? Good for you! But what did you do? Does anyone know? Can they find out?

Reviews remove context: which you need in order to underst and interpret what happened. Reviews summarize and compress information: but you need details to embrace subtlety, complexity, interactions…that’s where the good stuff is.

Even worse! The traditional performance management process tries to normalize people performance under a bell curve, ignoring the fact that things change over time.

Some years you just have better people, who perform better! To manage the business well you need to have this information to act on. Try normalizing the company’s P&L and see how far that gets you.

We Can Fix It
We think performance management can be rescued. We still need reviews – as long as they’re REALLY USEFUL and:

Motivate managers & employees
Create better managers (not better reviewers)
Improve TEAM performance
Contribute to organizational excellence
Better yet we have the technology to start you on your way.

[ Mike Carden ]


“45 Examples of Performance Expectations”

[ Simplicable ]

Article: https://simplicable.com/new/performance-expectations/


“THE IMPACT OF RAISING PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS”

Raising Performance Expectations Can Dramatically Increase Performance
Done right, leaders know that raising performance expectations can dramatically increase performance. When people know that more is possible, they can lift their performance to higher, and often previously impossible, levels.

Hot Dogs and Performance Expectations
Joey Chestnut has been the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest winner for twelve out of the last thirteen years. There’s no doubt he’s the performance king in this arena. The question is what can we learn from this food eating competition master about raising performance expectations at work?

Here’s how Joey drastically changed expectations about what was possible and the effect that it had on other contestants.

For 26 years (1974 to 2000), the hot dog eating record was between 10-20 hot dogs.
Then in 2001 Takeru Kobayashi smashed the record and ate 50 in one sitting.
From 2002 to 2016, once people saw that eating 50 hot dogs, once considered impossible, was possible, every new contestant started eating 50 or more ho tdogs.
Then in 2016, Joey Chestnut consumed 70 hot dogs.
For decades, the performance target of 20 and then 50 hot dogs appeared impossible to beat. It was as if there was an invisible performance barrier which could not be surpassed. What happened?

The Performance Barrier Phenomenon
When performance barriers are overcome, people are often able to perform at heretofore unimaginable levels. They simply needed to see someone else doing it to realize what was possible.

Like breaking the 4-minute mile barrier by Roger Bannister in 1954, it is amazing what can be accomplished once one person completely raises the performance bar. Just 46 days after Bannister set the record after people had been trying since 1886, John Landy set a new record with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds. Then, just twelve months later, three runners broke the four-minute barrier in a single race. Since then, over one thousand runners have broken the 4-minute mile barrier – something that had once been considered impossible by the best athletes in the world.

We see this performance barrier phenomenon everywhere – in speed records, in computer chip sizes, in acrobatics, and the list goes on. Something is only impossible until it is shown to be possible.

The Application in Business
Raising the performance bar is a cultural phenomenon that can be applied to the business world. You can think in macro terms about how production levels can be shattered or at the micro level of what could be accomplished on your team in terms of individual performance. Employees need only to see what is possible to inspire them to reach greater heights.

How to Get the Most Out of Your People
We believe that it is the responsibility of leaders to create the circumstances to get the most out of their people. We call an environment that stimulates the individuals within that context to significantly improve their performance a high performance culture.

We think of workplace culture as the collective attitude, assumptions, and behaviors of a company’s workforce. Culture can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave, and work. This includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors – especially in leaders and in who they hire, fire, and promote.

The Performance Impact of Culture
Our organizational alignment research at 410 companies across eight industries found that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of profitable revenue growth, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.

Three Things You Can Do as a Leader to Get the Most Out of Your People
In addition to showing what is possible, here’s what you can do as a leader to promote high performance on your team:

Provide Crystal Clear Direction
Make sure everyone knows the strategic priorities, the key actions that must be taken, the expected outcomes of those actions, and how success and failure will be measured.

Value Transparency
High performance environments consistently let teams and individuals know where they stand compared to performance standards in terms of generating desired results and achieving them in the right way.

Add Meaningful Motivation
Provide positive feedback for desired behaviors, negative feedback for undesired behaviors, and compelling reasons for people to stay and improve.

The Bottom Line
Do those three things as a leader and then stand back. Don’t put any limits on the thinking of what can be accomplished. Who says it’s impossible? Not Joey, not Roger, and not all of those who followed them. Can your team run their equivalent of the 4-minute mile?

[ LSA Global ]


“What’s the Big Deal About Clear Performance Expectations?”
Smiling business people clapping in office meeting

A lack of clear performance expectations is often cited as a key contributing factor to employees’ happiness or unhappiness at work. In a poll about what makes a bad boss bad, the majority of respondents said that their manager did not provide clear direction.

This factor affected their sense of participation in a venture larger than themselves and their feelings of engagement, motivation, and teamwork.

Critical Components of Clear Performance Expectations
The process that results in employees who understand and execute their performance expectations contains these components:

A company strategic planning process that defines overall direction and objectives
A communication strategy that tells every employee where their job and needed outcomes fit within the bigger company strategy
A process for goal setting, evaluation, feedback, and accountability that lets employees know how they are doing. This process must provide opportunities for continuing employee professional and personal development.
Overall organizational support for the importance of clear performance expectations communicated through cultural expectations, executive planning and communication, managerial responsibility and accountability, rewards and recognition, and company stories (folklore) about heroic accomplishments that define the workplace.
Communication of Clear Performance Expectations
Communication starts with the strategic planning process of executive leaders. How they communicate these plans and goals to the organization is critical to creating an organization in which all components are connected and pulling in the same direction.

Executive leadership must clearly communicate its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes to align each area of the organization with the overall mission and vision.

At the same time, leadership needs to define the organizational culture of teamwork desired within the company. Whether a department team or a product, process, or project team, team members have to understand why the team was created and the outcomes the organization expects from the team.

Communicating Clear Performance Direction Through the PDP
The Performance Development Planning (PDP) process translates these higher level goals into the outcomes necessary for each employee’s job within the company. After the quarterly PDP meeting, employees should be clear about their expected contribution.

Goal setting at these meetings should include a performance evaluation component, so the employee knows how they have been performing.

Leading up to the PDP meeting, the employee self-evaluation guides each employee in thinking about their performance. The six-eight goals set at the meeting or continued from the previous PDP, establish performance expectations without micromanaging the employee. Deciding how to accomplish the goals empowers, engages, and motivates the employee.

The manager maintains needed contact with the critical steps in the employee’s performance plan through weekly meetings and coaching. This step ensures that employees are accountable for accomplishing their jobs. Consider following this same process with each team you establish for the same sense of interconnectedness and understanding of clear performance expectations.

Continuing Support for Clear Performance Expectations
Your organization accomplishes performance expectations in three key ways:

You need to show a constancy of purpose in supporting individuals and teams with the resources of people, time, and money that will enable them to accomplish their goals. When you provide the resources teams need to succeed, you ensure the development of teamwork and the team’s best chance for success. Sometimes, this requires the reshuffling of resources or the renegotiation of goals. But, the visual application of resources sends a powerful message of support.

The work of the team needs to receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention, and interest directed its way by executive leaders. Employees are watching and need to know that the organization cares.
The critical component in continuing organizational support for the importance of the accomplishment of clear performance expectations is your reward and recognition system. Clear performance expectations accomplished deserve both public recognition and private compensation.

Publically cheering and celebrating team accomplishments enhances the team’s feeling of success. The recognition communicates the behaviors and actions the company expects from its employees.

[ SUSAN M. HEATHFIELD ]


“18 Important Reminders About Living Up to People’s Expectations”

Your needs matter. Don’t ignore them. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.

A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people who are perhaps incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing “what’s expected of you,” is a sure road to a regretful existence. Marc and I were on this road once, but I’m happy to say we’re paving our own path now based on our own needs, morals and values. And today I hope to inspire you to do the same…

Do more than just exist. We all exist. The question is: Do you live?

Marc and I eventually realized existing without ever truly living was not what we wanted for ourselves. So we made changes – we gradually embraced the points discussed in this article and never looked back. If you are in the same place we once were – seeking approval from everyone for every little thing you do – please take this post to heart and start making changes today. Life is too short not to.

First and foremost, you are not obligated to live up to everyone’s expectations. – Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. And you are under no obligation to give others what they expect. Period. Do things because you care. Do things because you know it’s right. Don’t just do things because everyone else expects you to.

Expectations just get in the way of great life experiences. – Don’t let expectations (especially other people’s expectations) get in your way. Truth be told, the unexpected is often better than the expected. Our entire lives can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK.

You don’t need others to hold your hand every step of the way. – Be willing to go alone sometimes. You don’t need permission to grow. Not everyone who started with you will finish with you. And that’s OK. (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
You get to learn from your mistakes without unnecessary third-party pressure. – You’re going to mess up sometimes. But the good news is, as long as you’re listening to your intuition, you get to decide how you’re going to mess up. Which means you get to decide how you’re going to live and what you’re going to learn along the way.

No one knows you better than you know yourself. – How you seem to others and how you actually are, rarely match. Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What other people think of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine. So if someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, then it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions. Leave it to them to worry about. You know who you are and what’s best for you.

Only YOU can define what’s possible for you and your life. – Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like, “Be realistic.” When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead. Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel. It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive.

In the end, happiness is simply living your life your own way. – There comes a time when your back is up against the wall and you realize all you can do is say, “Screw it, I’m doing things my way!” That’s the earth-shattering moment you stop planning for someone else’s expectations, and start making progress on what’s truly important to YOU. That’s when you begin to live life according to your own morals and values. That’s when you can finally be at your happiest.

You can best serve yourself and others by giving yourself what YOU need. – Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and pursue it at all costs. That’s what this world needs – people like YOU who come alive. Which means your needs matter; so don’t ignore them. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not just what seems best on the surface for everyone else.

Rather than being confined by opinions, you need to create your own reality. – If J.K. Rowling stopped after being rejected by multiple publishers for years, there would be no Harry Potter. If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 200+ times, there would be no Starbucks. If Walt Disney quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed by 300+ investors, there would be no Disney World. One thing is for sure: If you give too much power to the opinions of others, you will become their prisoner. So never let someone’s opinion define your reality. (Read Daring Greatly.)
You need to allow yourself the freedom to speak your truth. – Yes, speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Be cordial and reasonable, of course, but don’t tread carefully on every word you say. Push your concerns of what others might think aside. Let the consequences of doing so unravel naturally. What you’ll find is that most of the time no one will be offended or irritated at all. And if they do get upset, it’s likely only because you’ve started behaving in a way that makes them feel they have less power over you. Think about it. Why lie?

The wrong people should not be able to tamper with your standards. – Remember, failed relationships aren’t designed to encourage you to lower your standards, but to raise them and keep them up. So while you’re out there making decisions instead of excuses, learning new things, and getting closer and closer to your goals, know that there are others out there, like me, who admire your efforts and are striving for greatness too. Bottom line: Don’t let the wrong people bring you down.

The haters can have less of an effect on you. – Don’t worry about the haters, ever. Don’t let them get to you. They’re just upset because the truth you know contradicts the lies they live. Period.

Your individuality can be openly celebrated and enjoyed. – Constantly seeking approval means you’re perpetually worried that others are forming negative judgments of you. This steals the fun, ingenuity, and spontaneity from your life. Flip the switch on this habit. If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t be ashamed and don’t change.
Uniqueness is priceless. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your remarkable self. It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it. Being unapologetically YOU is worth it!
There can very easily be less drama to deal with on a daily basis. – Forgo the drama. Ignore the negativity around you. Just be sincere and kind, and promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

You can create more time to socialize with the right people. – When you’re feeling insecure, you typically don’t notice the hundreds of people around you who accept you just the way you are. All you notice are the few who don’t. Don’t ever forget your worth. Spend time with those who value you. No matter how good you are to people, there will always be negative minds out there who criticize you. Smile, ignore them, and carry on. You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.

Great relationships are not governed by one-sided expectations. – When it comes to your relationships, don’t keep everything you need to say to yourself. Let it out. Express your point of view. Communication is not just an important part of a relationship, communication is the relationship. Communicate even when it’s uncomfortable and uneasy. One of the best ways to heal and grow a relationship is simply getting everything on the inside out in the open. Compromise. That’s how good people make great things happen together.

You can be YOUR best, without competing with everyone else. – When you are happy to simply do your best and not compare or compete, everyone worth your while will respect you. Here’s some healthy food for thought: Always… Be strong, but not rude. Be kind, but not weak. Be humble, but not timid. Be proud, but not arrogant. Be bold, but not a bully. (Marc and I discuss these concepts in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of the brand NEW edition of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

You are not obligated to anyone more so than you are to yourself. – Your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have. So don’t forget about YOU out there, and don’t be too hard on yourself either. There are plenty of others willing to do both for you. And remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of others either; which is why taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do.

[ ANGEL CHERNOFF ]


“Why do we perform better when someone has high expectations of us?”

The Pygmalion effect

What is the Pygmalion effect?
The Pygmalion effect describes situations where someone’s high expectations improves our behavior and therefore our performance in a given area. It suggests that we do better when more is expected of us.

Where this bias occurs
DEBIAS YOUR ORGANIZATION
Most of us work & live in environments that aren’t optimized for solid decision-making. We work with organizations of all kinds to identify sources of cognitive bias & develop tailored solutions.

LEARN ABOUT OUR WORK
Imagine you are beginning a new project at work. Your boss comes to see you and tells you that he’s really excited to see the final product because he knows you’re going to do well.

Since your boss has high expectations for your performance, he might give you more support during the project. Additionally, because you want to meet his expectations, you may change your behavior as well. You might spend more hours on the project, working overtime, and double-check the quality of your work. Because both your boss and you changed your behavior, the project may end up being more successful than it would originally have been if your boss hadn’t told you he believed in you. Your boss’ expectation made you work harder which led to improved performance and therefore a better outcome.

When positive expectations positively impact our behavior and our performance, it is known as the Pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion effect is most often associated with school or work performance, since teachers or bosses often voice their expectations to their students or employees.

Individual effects
Although the Pygmalion effect occurs mostly subconsciously, it shows that others’ expectations can greatly influence our performance. When someone thinks highly of us, we work hard to maintain those expectations.

If someone we respect or want to impress, such as a teacher or employer, believes we will succeed, they can influence our own impression of ourselves. Positive expectations allow us to take the necessary steps to meet those high expectations. We are likely to push ourselves harder because we believe that we can achieve success.

The Pygmalion effect acts like a prophecy because pre-existing beliefs lead to more effort being put in both by the person with the expectations, and the person who is being expected from, increasing the likelihood that success will ensue.

Systemic effects
Although the Pygmalion effect has a positive influence on performance, it is dependent on positive expectations. That means that individuals who don’t believe that others have high expectations of themselves may suffer as a result. The Pygmalion effect demonstrates that stereotypes may be more damaging than they seem.

Someone’s high expectations for our performance don’t only impact how we act, but also impacts how they act. For example, if a teacher believes one of their students is really intelligent and will be successful, they may pay them more attention, give them more detailed feedback, and continue to challenge them. They may not treat other students the same, and the unequal treatment causes some students to fall behind while others thrive.

Since our expectations impact how we treat others, the Pygmalion effect only positively impacts those that we already expect a lot from. It can be especially damaging for young children who are malleable and still building their self-concept based on other people’s opinions.1 People in positions of influence therefore need to be careful of managing and mediating their expectations.

Why it happens
The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon that describes how expectations can modify behavior. It provides evidence for the self-fulfilling prophecy, which is based on the idea that others’ beliefs about us become true because their belief impacts how we behave.2 The Pygmalion effect specifically describes situations in which superior’s positive opinions on performance will lead to better performance actually occurring.

The Pygmalion effect occurs because other’s expectations impact both their own behavior and our behavior. If someone believes we are likely to succeed, they will treat us differently to help us achieve those goals. In turn, when someone expects us to succeed, we try our best to meet those expectations.

Robert Rosenthal, a behavioral psychologist who first examined the Pygmalion effect in 1968, later proposed a four-factor theory as to why it occurs in 1973. Rosenthal identified climate, input, output and feedback were the four factors that led to teacher’s expectation of their students impacting those students’ behavior.2

Climate referred to the fact that if a teacher has high expectations for their students, they may create a warm socio-economic environment. They feel positively towards their students and the classroom would reflect this attitude. Input suggested that teachers will give students they believe are intelligent more and better-quality materials. Output meant that teachers will give those students more opportunities to respond and engage in the classroom. The last factor was feedback, that referred to the likelihood that better performing students may receive more detailed feedback from their teachers on how to improve.2

Why it is important
It is important for us to understand how expectations impact our behavior and our subsequent outcomes so that we can properly mediate those expectations for the best possible outcomes.

For one, the Pygmalion effect suggests that impressions matter. Having a good reputation with your boss or superior means that they will come to expect a lot of you, and this may cause them to give you greater support so that you can best achieve your goals. For example, Rosenthal found that teachers paid the students who had been labelled as bloomers more attention and offered them more encouragement.3

If we are the ones whose expectations may influence others, we should try to maintain and express positive expectations in order to motivate people to meet those expectations. However, we also need to ensure that we don’t let our expectations of particular individuals overshadow other people that may have as much to offer.

The Pygmalion effect can lead to differential treatment that may not be fair. We should ensure that we are careful not to favor just one or two students or employees because while it may help them succeed, it can leave others feeling unmotivated and discouraged.

How to activate it
The Pygmalion effect is not something we can activate by ourselves, because it relies on other people’s expectations of us as a motive to succeed. However, awareness of the Pygmalion effect can ensure that we put our best foot forward when we first meet our superiors.

In doing so, we can create high expectations from the start of a school year, project or job, that make it more likely that our superiors will better support us, challenge us, and ensure that we succeed.

However, alternatively, if we don’t feel as though our superiors have high expectations of us, we may feel discouraged, which will negatively impact our behavior. We may want to look to other people in our life that do have high expectations of us, like our friends and family, and use their beliefs as motivators to prove our employers or teachers wrong.

How it all started
The Pygmalion effect got its name from the Greek myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman that he later fell in love with. He wished that he could find a woman as beautiful as his sculpture to marry. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, granted his wish and turned his sculpture into a woman. Pygmalion’s fixation on the sculpture allowed it to come to life, just as our focus on an expectation can impact the outcome in a given situation.3

The Pygmalion effect is also often called the Rosenthal effect, after one of the researchers that first demonstrated the psychological phenomenon in a study in 1968. Robert Rosenthal, a pioneer of behavioral science, along with Lenore Jacobson, a principal of an elementary school, wanted to examine whether teacher’s expectations of their students impacted their scholastic performance. They held the belief that students would internalize a teacher’s positive expectations and hold onto the belief so much so that they would actually do better in school.4

Rosenthal and Jacobson gave students at Jacobson’s elementary school an IQ test at the beginning of the school year. The teachers of these students were told that the test was being administered to predict which students would intellectually bloom over the year. Rosenthal and Jacobson then actually chose students at random and told their teachers that they had performed exceptionally well on the test, despite their actual results giving no indication that they would be intellectual bloomers.5

At the end of the study, students were given the same IQ test. While all students performed better the second time, Rosenthal and Jacobson found that those students who had been labelled intellectual bloomers had improved to a greater degree than the other students. This was especially true for first and second grade children. From these results, they concluded that a teacher expecting enhanced performance from students can actually lead to enhanced performance, especially for young children.5

Example 1 – Whole groups impact
While Rosenthal and Jacobson demonstrated a difference in performance between students who had been labelled as intellectual bloomers and a control group of students that were not, the Pygmalion effect could have occurred not because teachers thought positively about the intellectual bloomers, but because they thought negatively about the control group.2

Dr. Dov Eden, an organizational psychologist, wanted to ensure that it was in fact the positive expectations that led to improved performance. He therefore conducted a study in which a control group was completely separate from the group with high expectations.6

Eden conducted his study using platoons in the Israel Defense Force, because each platoon has its own platoon leader. The trainees were tested in four different areas: theoretical specialty, practical specialty, physical fitness, and target shooting. The former two areas are areas taught by platoon leaders, and Eden predicted these areas would be most impacted by the Pygmalion effect.

Some platoon leaders were told that their entire group showed test scores higher than the average, and that they could expect unusual achievements from their trainees. The leaders for the control group platoons were told nothing positive or negative about the potential of the trainees in their group. Every other week, the examiners had follow-up sessions with platoon leaders. For those leaders who had been told to expect high potential, examiners asked them how the potential was manifesting itself, in order to refresh expectancy induction. Tests were again conducted at the end of ten weeks.6

The results indicated that trainees in the high-expectation groups on average performed better as a group than the control groups. The difference was most significant for performance in theoretical and practical specialty, which are areas taught by platoon leaders.

From these results, Eden concluded that the Pygmalion effect can impact whole groups, not just individuals, and that it is in fact positive expectations that lead to a difference in performance.6 Additionally, because the areas that trainees showed the most improvement were ones that leaders were in charge of, and individual trainees were never told about their test scores, Eden’s study demonstrates that the Pygmalion effect will still occur even if individuals don’t know what their superior’s expectations are. This suggests that a leader changing their behavior is enough for improved performance.

Example 2 – Addiction treatment impact
Most examples and studies about the Pygmalion effect focus on its role in work and school situations. However, Dr. Hakan Jenner, a professor of pedagogy with a focus on youth substance abuse, believed it also could impact treatment, as therapists can also have expectations about their patients’ success.7

As Jenner notes, therapists often have to label and categorize their clients. They may have to indicate whether their patients are motivated or whether the treatment program is a good fit for them. Drawing from a literature review, Jenner demonstrates that the Pygmalion effect is likely to influence treatment because therapists often see motivation or willpower as the main agent that determines whether patients will succeed in treatment.7

Through his previous work, Jenner found that prior commitment to enrollment in an alcohol addiction program had little impact on whether a patient decided to continue in the program. Jenner therefore concluded that treatment factors are a more influential factor in treatment success. Jenner suggested that climate, one of Rosenthal’s four factors, was the main propagator for the Pygmalion effect in treatment. If treatment staff are positive and they cooperate with their patients because they believe they will succeed, patients are in fact more likely to succeed.

From his research, Jenner concluded that for the best possible outcomes to ensue, therapist expectation and motivation must be high, because these will lead to the Pygmalion effect.7

Summary
What it is
The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon that describes how other’s positive expectations of us can become a prophecy, as they lead to improved performance.

Why it happens
The Pygmalion effect happens because as social creatures, we are influenced by our own and other’s expectations. If we expect success from an individual, we are likely to give them greater support in order to help them achieve that success. Similarly, if we believe someone has high expectations of us, we will work harder to meet those expectations. Expectations act as a prophecy because they become motivators for hard work.

Example 1 – The Pygmalion effect occurs for entire groups
Often, when studying the Pygmalion effect, researchers create high expectations in employers and teachers for particular individuals, without isolating them from the control group. However, it has been found that the Pygmalion effect still occurs if a leader believes an entire group has higher than average potential for success, diminishing the influence of individual differences.

Example 2 – The Pygmalion effect is important for therapists
While most research surrounding the Pygmalion effect is based on school and work environments, therapists are also leaders with expectations of their patients. If a therapist believes their patient will succeed in addiction treatment, they are more likely to create a positive and supportive atmosphere, which in turn helps the patient succeed. Since the Pygmalion effect occurs in treatment, therapists need to ensure to maintain high expectations of their patients for success to ensue.

How to activate it
The Pygmalion effect leads to desirable outcomes for those individuals which are labelled as having high potential. If we are in a leadership position, like teachers, bosses, and therapists are, we should always maintain and express positive expectations because these expectations will actually impact how we treat those that we are supporting, as well as how those individuals behave.

Related articles
High-Potential Employee Programs Can Be Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. Here Are Three Ways Firms Can Avoid This Problem

[ Natasha Ouslis and Zad El-Makkaoui ]


“Expectations from Self and Others”

Many of us give the very best of who we are every day, yet all too often struggle to feel like our best is good
enough. Understanding, and at times challenging our own expectations and perception of others’ expectations
is key to identifying and transforming unrealistic expectations that compromise our ability to approach others
with compassion and extend that compassion to ourselves. In this section, we identify the expectations we
have for ourselves and for others and question whether these expectations are helpful for us or holding us back.
We all carry a load of expectations with us. Expectations are firmly tied to our needs, desires, values, and
beliefs. They paint a mental picture of how we think things “should” be.
As educators, we are taught to have high expectations for our students and to hope that those expectations will
drive them to do better than they otherwise would have done. Our expectations of ourselves or the expectations placed
upon us can also drive us to excel. Self-expectations and the expectations placed upon us can be realistic or unrealistic,
helpful or hurtful. When our expectations are made explicit and realistic, they can be the foundation for dreams, ideas, and
possibilities. They can feed us, inspire us and help us to show up in our lives. If we are holding ourselves or someone else
to an unrealistic standard, then we can learn to adjust these expectations.
Expectations become problematic when they take us out of the present to solely focus on the future, or fill our heads with
how things “should” be and feel and of how the people around us “should” act and feel. Our “shoulds” of ourselves
reflect expectations that we feel we are not meeting. When we tell ourselves that we “should” be doing something, we
are reinforcing the idea that we are not doing it. If our internal dialogue says “I should spend more time on these lesson
plans” the implicit end to that sentence is “… but, I am not.” We are reinforcing the negative and this can result in guilt,
frustration, or anxiety.
Well meaning, but unchecked, expectations can form the bedrock of compassion fatigue. Expectations may operate in the
short-term: “If I get this lesson just right, all the kids will love it.” In this example, we create expectations for ourselves
(“If I get this lesson just right…”), as well as for others (“all the kids will love it”). These expectations may invite
shame if not living up to our self-expectation, as well as resentment if others do not live up to our expectations of them.
Expectations also operate in the long-term and may be evident in the goals we set for ourselves or the metrics that others
set for us: “I will be a great teacher if X% of my students pass achievement tests.” As this example shows, our own
expectations may be influenced by the expectations others have for us.
While we can rarely change what other people think or expect of us, by noticing our expectations, we can keep those that
fit and are comfortable, while making changes to those that do not serve us. It is only when conscious of our expectations
that we can examine how realistic they are. We can increase our compassion resilience by making a conscious effort to notice the “shoulds” in our life and the effect that such expectations may have on us. We must first notice and name our
expectations if we are to better align them with reality. Let’s take a moment to think about some expectations we carry as
educators. Try to think of a few expectations in each category.

Let’s look at a few examples of how unchecked expectations may lessen our compassion resilience. For each
case, we will consider strategies that may be helpful in building our compassion resilience.
Case 1: Lisa has taught for seven years and is beginning a new school
year. So far, she has loved her job, derived a lot of satisfaction from her
work, and felt like a “successful” teacher. She expects this year she
should feel the same way. However, she’s charged with developing a new
curriculum, finds her class size has increased, has fewer engaged students
in her classes, and is experiencing stress in her personal life.
Reflection: Lisa is experiencing multiple systemic drivers of compassion
fatigue and external sources of stress, which are then affecting the
likelihood she can perform as she has in prior years. Her compassion
resilience may suffer if she does not adjust her expectations to these
new circumstances.
Strategy: Lisa may find it useful to consider what is influencing her ability to meet her expectation. In
the table above, what system drivers make it difficult to achieve the examples you provided?

Case 2: Todd is undergoing his first teacher-parent conference. He’s discouraged to
find that many parents are not exhibiting the engagement he anticipated: some do not
show up, others appear not take the conversation as seriously as he had hoped. He
starts to blame parents for the student’s learning and behavioral difficulties and feels
angry that they are not getting the support they need.
Reflection: Our expectations are often internal and undiscussed. Todd may have
found it useful to discuss his expectations regarding conferences with other teachers.
Strategy: Making expectations transparent helps us to see if they are aligned with
reality. How might you test the expectations you listed in the table by talking with others?
Reflection: It is a losing battle to expect outcomes that are not within one’s control.
Strategy: Todd may also find it useful to identify expectations that are outside of his control. Which expectations that
you listed in the table relate to outcomes you cannot control?
Case 3: Mary prides herself on being a principal who teachers trust, one who
offers a safe space for teachers to discuss their challenges and collaborate to
solve problems. This year, there have been more teachers than usual seeking out
her support, especially with many new teachers and the recent loss of one of
the students. Mary is struggling with her own feelings surrounding the student’s
death and struggling to provide the same support to teachers as in the past.
Mary believes that her feelings should not interfere with her ability to provide
mentoring support for the teachers.
Reflection: Just as unrealized expectations or unrealistic expectations may
challenge our compassion resilience, so too can symptoms of compassion
fatigue make it more difficult to meet our expectations! Remember: compassion
fatigue is a common response to the difficult situations we may encounter.
Strategy: The relationship between compassion fatigue and expectations makes it all the more apparent how selfcompassion heightens our compassion resilience. Mary’s perceived inadequacy could lessen her compassion resilience
even further. With self-compassion, Mary is better equipped to recognize her own needs to maintain her physical,
emotional, and mental well-being so that she may again show up compassionately for staff. By applying some strategies
found in this toolkit, Mary might build her resilience.

While it pays to keep an eye on our own expectations and assumptions, we also have a laundry list of expectations that are
heaped upon us. Many of us struggle mightily as we try to fulfill the expectations of others. Expectations placed upon us
are often not clearly defined and unexpressed; rather, we make inferences about the expectations people have for us.
Uncommunicated expectations cannot be met. Expectations from others may be reasonable or unreasonable. When
unreasonable expectations are placed upon us, it may be a quick path to feeling burnt-out. Giving too much of ourselves
as we strive to meet or exceed expectations may also lead to burn-out. If we are over-zealous in our pursuit of exceeding
expectations, then people eventually presume that we will continue to go over and above at each and every opportunity.
When we no longer can go the extra mile, or no longer wish to, then everyone is disappointed. It is not difficult to see how
expectations can be a root cause of damaged relationships and compassion fatigue!
We may set more reasonable expectations of ourselves – and build more satisfying relationships with others- when we talk
to people to clarify their expectations. Only with open lines of communication can we be clear about what the expectations
are and whether we can reasonably meet them. Sometimes, bosses or colleagues who are setting unreasonable expectations
may not even be aware they are putting unfair pressure on us. This resource provides us with ideas as to how we might
approach a conversation with bosses whose expectations may be too lofty. Building positive working relationships rests on
the following:
• acknowledging we all have expectations;
• striving to make expectations more transparent;
• and taking responsibility to communicate our own wants and needs (i.e., our own expectations).


“HEALTHY EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP”

LEARN WHAT TO EXPECT IN A RELATIONSHIP – AND WHAT TO FORGET
Posted by: Team Tony Robbins

Pointless arguing in a relationship: Many people do it but most of us don’t understand it and are perplexed by it. Everyone knows a couple who constantly bickers or has conflict – maybe that’s even you and your partner. Maybe you argue so frequently that it’s become the norm. Is this really what to expect in a relationship that’s supposed to bring you joy and companionship?

What if you could solve arguing in your relationship almost immediately? It’s possible. Expectations in a relationship form the basis of whether or not the partnership works for both people. By shifting your mindset, your relationship can become happier, more peaceful and more productive.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS IN RELATIONSHIPS?
Standards are guidelines about what you will accept in the present moment. They represent what you want in a partner: sense of humor, similar values and beliefs, attitude and perspective on life. Expectations are what we want to happen in the future – certain actions we wish someone would take or an event we wish would happen. When what we expect to happen doesn’t, we feel disappointed, sad and even angry.

Standards are behind the power of proximity or the principle that we are who we surround ourselves with. That’s because we’ll automatically hold ourselves and others to higher standards if those around us do. We’ll dream bigger, work harder and believe in ourselves more deeply.

There’s nothing wrong with raising your standards – in fact, learning how to accept nothing less than the best is key to building the life of your dreams. And if someone doesn’t meet your standards, you’re absolutely allowed to move on. However, your partner can meet all of your standards and still fall short of meeting your expectations in a relationship. It’s these expectations that get relationships in trouble.

WHY EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS
We first have to start with the “why.” Why does bickering happen in the first place? The short answer is expectations. What we presume a relationship will look like shapes our contribution to the partnership. Expectations in a relationship are subjective, biased and can differ from person to person. Some may expect their spouse to take out the garbage and they, in turn, may expect you to have breakfast on the table every morning. But if both people assume the other person knows this automatically without ever having a conversation about it, it can lead to tension in the relationship.

The problem with expectations in a relationship is that they’re just like an opinion: Everyone has one – and they don’t always match up to the other person’s thoughts. This is the birthplace of bickering, and it’s where knowing what to expect in a relationship comes into play. When you’re both on the same page about what a healthy relationship looks like, you’re ready to take action and create reasonable expectations in a relationship. When you’re able to articulate your respective needs, you’re in a place to make those expectations work.

WHAT ARE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP?
It’s important to realize that in talking about how mismatched expectations can lead to fighting, we are not saying you don’t have a right to expect anything out of your partnership. The opposite is true: You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and so does your partner. Expect intimacy and passion. Expect unconditional love and support. These are reasonable expectations in a relationship and fall more under the category of standards than expectations.

Unrealistic expectations include things like wanting your partner to change their values, be the source of all your happiness or go against their natural masculine or feminine polarity. Don’t expect your partner to react or feel the same way you do. And never expect perfection. As Tony says, perfection is the enemy of good.

HOW TO MANAGE EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP
Fortunately, there is a solution for dealing with mismatched expectations in a relationship! When our focus is centered on our differences in expectations, rather than our appreciation for the things the other person does “right,” conflict is inevitable. The way any two people decide to fold towels, for instance, will probably differ, but does that make one of the ways wrong? Of course not. Expectations with no appreciation leads to nagging, which leads to frustration, which leads to – you guessed it – bickering.

Think about the things you and your partner have fought over. How many of these fights are actually over something important? Have any of them had a productive resolution? Most likely, the answer is no. It’s often said, “We argue about the smallest things.” Consider your expectations in a relationship. Are the towels worth the emotional turmoil? Probably not. Why not spend your time doing something that’s not only productive, but more beneficial to the strength and longevity of your relationship?

Overcoming expectations in a relationship starts with understanding what constitutes a quality partnership. As Tony says, there are 10 cardinal rules of love.

expectations in a relationship

  1. PRIORITIZE APPRECIATION OVER EXPECTATIONS
    Learn to trade expectations for appreciation, and your entire relationship – and world – will change. Instead of focusing on the negative, make a point to value your partner’s positive qualities. This will take you much further in your relationship. They may not have folded the towels the way you wanted them to, but at least they made an effort to do their fair share by putting the laundry away. And maybe they did the dishes after dinner or took the dog for a walk because you had a long day at work. If you pay attention, there’s always something to appreciate. What was it that attracted you to them in the first place? It wasn’t their towel-folding abilities. It was their warmth, kindness and love for life.

“Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.” – Tony Robbins

That sentiment can apply to anything in life, but if we apply that same thought to our relationships, appreciation can be the trigger that puts an end to your unhealthy expectations in a relationship.

  1. EXPRESS COMPASSION
    Compassion is at the top of the list of what to expect in a relationship. To successfully navigate any relationship, you want to demonstrate compassion by prioritizing your love over your expectations. As important as it is to learn how to manage expectations in a relationship, remember that expectations are there to facilitate warmth. At the end of the day, it’s your partnership that’s most important.
  2. SHOW RESPECT
    Respect is the basis of any relationship, romantic or otherwise. To show respect means to value the other person’s perspective and needs – this is the basis of effective communication. To show respect for your partner, never correct them! Instead, seek a playful, empathetic way to redirect an argument. From there, you’re able to find solutions without creating unnecessary tension.
  3. DEMONSTRATE CONSIDERATION
    Healthy relationships hinge on consideration – for your partner, their interests and their relationship expectations. To show consideration, you must make a point to value your relationship over your relationship rules. This is a real stickler when it comes to what to expect in a relationship, since it’s easy to view the “rules” as the basis of your partnership. But when you value your partner over your rules, this paves the way for fulfilling both people’s expectations.
  4. DEVOTE TIME TO YOUR PARTNER
    Devoting time to your partner is one of the most reasonable expectations in a relationship. Don’t let your partnership become a side note – take the time to reinforce your connection in hard times. When you create rituals and traditions that cement your sense of connection, you demonstrate that your relationship is a real priority.
  5. NEVER QUESTION THE NATURE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP
    When it comes to learning how to manage expectations in a relationship, one of the worst missteps you can make is questioning your partner’s intent. When you question the very nature of your relationship, it corrodes trust, which takes a toll on even the strongest partnerships. Just because you’re having issues doesn’t mean the relationship itself is a problem.
  6. AVOID REPETITION
    If you’re in an argumentative pattern with your partner, change your approach. If you don’t, you risk creating a circular loop where neither party is heard, leaving both feeling defeated. Take the high road and bow out of an argument. Take a break to regroup and consider what you’re really arguing about. When you make this a habit, you set a high standard for what to expect in a relationship with your partner.
  7. NEVER THREATEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
    One of the primary expectations in a relationship is that there will be give and take and mutual dialogue. Threatening your relationship with ultimatums doesn’t help anything, since it shuts down communication. If you’re at the point of threatening your partnership, it’s time to take a break and rethink the conversation.
  8. DON’T STAGNATE
    Learning how to manage expectations in a relationship is not a one-time deal. It’s a continuous conversation where you’re touching base to see whether each other’s needs are being met. Don’t settle for stagnation, assuming your relationship is doing fine because you haven’t argued that day. When you commit to never-ending improvement, you’re able to build an extraordinary relationship.
  9. DON’T COMPARE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS’ RELATIONSHIPS
    As tempting as it is to use “textbook” expectations in a relationship as a template for your own, this approach doesn’t work. It ignores your unique personality and needs (and those of your partner) without valuing what makes your partnership unique and special. Don’t adopt other couples’ standards and expectations in a relationship – work with your partner to develop your own.

Building a healthy partnership takes work, but it’s well worth the effort. Master how to manage expectations in a relationship with a special trial of Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Relationship Program, your resource for creating the partnership of your dreams.

[ Tony Robbins ]


“How Expectations Affect Performance (Empowerment in Management)”

Managing Director | EVP | Digital Transformation | Innovation | Strategy | Mergers | Servant Leadership | Inclusion | Let’s connect
Published Sep 28, 2016

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    How Expectations Affect Performance [Pygmalion Effect]

The performance of employees in an organization depends largely on the expectations set for them. It also reflects on the effectiveness of leadership in the organization. The manager plays a key role in setting the subordinate’s expectations and helping achieve their goals. If the manager’s expectations are high, performance and productivity automatically go up. This phenomenon is called the ‘Pygmalion Effect’. The reverse, called the ‘Golem Effect’, is also possible. If expectations are low, then there is a drop in performance.

The effect derives its name from Pygmalion, a Greek sculptor, whose love for a sculpture he fashioned was so intense that it came to life. George Bernard Shaw, the popular playwright, used the legend as the foundation for his most popular play, also named ‘Pygmalion’ that was later adapted to the screen as ‘My Fair Lady’.

Both the Greek legend and the play are based on the same premise, how a person feels or is treated directly affects their behavior. In an organizational context, this means a manager’s expectations directly influence the performance of subordinates.

Shaping behavior and performance

Everyone has had his or her experience of the Pygmalion effect. As a child, a teacher’s expectations shaped the way you learned certain things. A teacher with a positive expectation from a child inherently passes on the positivity to the child. The child then modifies its behavior to fulfill that expectation. This is what behavioral experts call ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’.

Numerous studies have been conducted to test the viability of these self-fulfilling prophecies, concluding with positive outcomes. The effectiveness of this behavioral process is also found in organizations where it is used to shape employee performance.

As simple as it may sound, the Pygmalion effect is difficult to achieve. No matter how hard they try to mask their disappointment due to low performance, managers unintentionally communicate it. Even the belief that their subordinates will not meet expectations will be subconsciously communicated, leading to an inferior performance.

To ensure maximum productivity and extract an employee’s potential, it is vital to set expectations in their first year with the organization. Matching them with excellent leaders and supervisors allows them to set and meet the superior’s expectations as well as their own.

A lesson in productivity

Most managers are unaware that their behavior affects employee performance. They may inadvertently treat their subordinates in a way that modifies their need to achieve high expectations. Thus, it is important for managers and organizational leaders to set high expectations for their employees in order to expect positive outcomes.

Excellent managers are those who not only help themselves but also help their subordinates grow. They can do this by setting high yet realistic expectations. These managers have confidence in their ability to hone the talent of their subordinates, which leads to a high functioning team.

A study of the Pygmalion effect in organizational structures provides the following insights.

The performance and growth of an employee depend on the expectations and treatment of his or her manager(s).
An effective and able manager possesses the ability to set high expectations.
Ineffective managers have the opposite effect, leading to lower performance.
Subordinates adhere to these expectations and perform to live up to them.

Recommendations for managers

By now, you must have understood the role of the manager in enforcing a positive performance behavior in subordinates. Apart from performance, the manager also influences the overall outlook of the employee towards their role in the organization and their career progression. Managers must make sure employees are encouraged to believe in themselves and perform better, ensuring their own personal growth and the growth of the organization.

Here are a few recommendations for managers to get the best out of their people.

Understand the Pygmalion effect
In order to enforce something, you should first be aware of it. Similarly, when managers understand the Pygmalion effect and its consequences on productivity, they will more than likely follow it. This creates an environment of high performance.

Strike while the iron is hot
A new employee is more likely to set high expectations if they are working under an outstanding manager. Making this transition for seasoned employees is difficult. Most of the time, new hires are assigned to managers who themselves were new a few years ago. Experienced managers know how to handle situations and apply their expertise effectively. Thus, subordinates can emulate the same when they are working and set high expectations for themselves.

Keep favoritism at bay
The most common complaint of a poor performer is that the manager shows undue favoritism towards a particular employee or group. The reason why managers do this can vary from personal preference to professional need. What they do not realize is they are alienating a part of the workforce by dismissing them. This, in turn, deteriorates performance further. Managers must ensure their subordinates are not neglected and encourage them to give their best at all times. Treat everyone equally and reward performance well done.

Set an example
Most subordinates aspire to one day become leaders themselves. The primary source of their encouragement comes from their manager. They will emulate a manager who embodies ethical values and pushes subordinates to do well. Slowly, they too will start exhibiting behavior fitting a manager and perform to reach that goal.

Create opportunities
One way managers can ensure high performance is by challenging their subordinates. When subordinates take up difficult projects their learning and problem-solving skills become polished. Succeeding in these projects, they are ready to welcome more challenges.

Provide positive feedback
When the manager provides an encouraging feedback, employees start believing in themselves. They are filled with a positive outlook about their job and their value in the organization. Rather than stating what the employee is doing wrong, managers must emphasize their positive contribution and provide solutions for improvement.

Final thoughts
Nowadays, organizations understand the value of people and their impact on growth. By creating a positive environment, they hope to improve productivity and ensure a balanced work life. That’s why it’s imperative to match people to the right manager. Motivating an employee to meet managerial and self-expectations go a long way in the overall development of an organization.

[ Ugur Özcan ]


“Performance Expectations = Results + Actions & Behaviors”

o perform well, employees need to know what is expected of them. The starting point is an up-to-date job description that describes the essential functions, tasks, and responsibilities of the job. It also outlines the general areas of knowledge and skills required of the employee an employee to be successful in the job.

Performance expectations go beyond the job description. When you think about high quality on-the-job performance, you are really thinking about a range of expected job outcomes, such as

What goods and services should the job produce?
What impact should the work have on the organization?
How do you expect the employee to act with clients, colleagues, and supervisors?
What are the organizational values the employee must demonstrate?
What are the processes, methods, or means the employee is expected to use?
In discussing performance expectations an employee should understand why the job exists, where it fits in the organization, and how the job’s responsibilities link to organization and department objectives. The range of performance expectations can be broad but can generally be broken into two categories:

Results (The goods and services produced by an employee often measured by objectives or standards)
Actions & Behaviors (The methods and means used to make a product and the behaviors and values demonstrated during the process. Actions and Behaviors can be measured through performance dimensions.)
Performance expectations serve as a foundation for communicating about performance throughout the year. They also serve as the basis for reviewing employee performance. When you and an employee set clear expectations about the results that must be achieved and the methods or approaches needed to achieve them, you establish a path for success.

Expectations should always be set in accordance with UC policies and union contracts. For additional information, please see:

Academic Personnel Policies(link is external)
Personnel Policies for Staff Members (including local and system-wide procedures)
Labor Relations: Contracts
collapse all
Defining Results
S.M.A.R.T. Performance Objectives and Standards(collapse)

Performance objectives and standards are two of the most common methods to define expected results. Both objectives and standards are most useful when, in addition to being written down and verifiable, they are:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Timely
Specific – Objectives and standards should let employees know exactly which actions and results they are expected to accomplish.

Measurable – Whenever possible, objectives and standards should be based on quantitative measures such as direct counts, percentages, and ratios..

Attainable – The objective or standard should be achievable, but challenging, and attainable using resources available.

Relevant – Individual goals, objectives and standards should be in alignment with those of the unit and the department in support of the University’s mission.

Timely – Results should be delivered within a time period that meets the department and organization’s needs.

Objectives and standards identify baselines for measuring performance results. From performance objectives and standards, supervisors can provide specific feedback describing the gap between expected and actual performance.

Objectives and Standards – Is it “OK” to Have Both?(collapse)
It can be very useful to define both objectives and standards for a position, but it is not necessary.

Standards are directly linked to job-task completion.
Example: Ensure that all grant requests are written, reviewed, and submitted to the granting agency/foundation by the required deadlines.

Objectives are broader in scope, go beyond day-to-day standards, and are clearly linked to helping the organization or department meet its goals and objectives.
Example: Identify three new grant/funding sources by the end of FY 2006.

In some cases, you and the employee may find it better to set a series of standards with only a few objectives, while in other situations it may make more sense to set objectives alone.

Objectives and Standards – Some Advantages and Disadvantages(collapse)
The advantages and disadvantages outlined belowcan give guidance on when to use objectives or standards or both.

Objectives – Advantages Objectives – Disadvantages Standards – Advantages Standards – Disadvantages
Ties unit/organization’s objectives to employee’s objectives.

Specific to individual.

Facilitates employee and supervisor communication.

Future – oriented. Flexible.

Can be put into place for all employees, but more easily used for employees with a broader scope of responsibilities, and a mixture of non-routine and routine work.

Can focus on annual results, while ignoring routine aspects of job.

Care must be taken to ensure objectives are realistic.

Can be compromised by changing circumstances. Too much flexibility.

Must be consistent with culture and can be time consuming to implement a fully integrated system.

Tied to job duties and responsibilities.

Best when applied to any employee performing the same job duties.

Facilitates communication.

Makes it very clear how performance will be measured.

Standards can exist for any job. They are particularly useful in jobs where for health, safety, legal and/or operations reasons work must be done in a certain way. They are also more easily put into place for jobs that have a large number of routine tasks required.

Can become too task oriented.

Less flexible when responsibilities of a position change. If standards are not reviewed and updated regularly, it can hold the employee and unit back.

May not provide enough challenge for employee.

Takes time to develop.

Performance Objectives
Characteristics of Objectives(collapse)
A performance objective is a future state of achievement that helps the organization succeed and create value. It is a direct link between the work an employee does and the department and organization’s overall objectives and mission. As the organization’s needs change and direction shifts, so will an employee’s performance objectives.

Performance objectives express mutually understood agreements for results that an employee is expected to produce during the performance review period.
Performance objectives are not separate from an employee’s job, but part of the job.
Performance objectives are “ends” towards which you and your employee direct effort and focus resources.
For these reasons it is best not to dictate objectives, but set them through discussion, negotiation, compromise, and agreement.

While much has been written about differences between objectives, targets, and goals, there are no real differences. There are some authors who may make a distinction based on scale and time, but for our purposes the term “objective” will be used.

Why Set Objectives(collapse)
Objectives force you and the employee to think of planning for results, not just planning activities. Identifying objectives encourages you and the employee to continually look for ways to improve overall department effectiveness and efficiency, and link individual and departmental operations and results to the overall planning and mission of the University. Objectives set through a collaborative process between the employee, supervisor, and department elicit commitment.

Expressing Performance Objectives(collapse)
It helps to set objectives using the following format:

To [Action verb] [Key Result] by [Date] at [Cost of (if applicable)]

Examples of Performance Objectives:

Implement update of on-line graduate application program by October 1, 200x
Reduce telephone expenses by 15% within the first half of the fiscal year.
Identify three new funding sources by the end of FY 200x, and ensure that all grant requests are written, reviewed, and submitted to the granting agency/foundation by the respective deadlines.
The following questions may help generate ideas for performance objectives. Based on departmental/unit objectives:

What can this employee do to improve the overall effectiveness of the work unit?
Has the employee suggested program or process changes that help us meet our objectives and can be completed during the appraisal period?
What needs to be done to improve the quality of our service? What refinements can we make to our operations? What needs to be introduced or eliminated?
What are we ready to do now that we could not do last year (due to increased resources, system modifications, changed priorities, updated skills, etc.)?
What skills, processes, products must be updated to meet client (student, faculty, staff, community) demand?
Considerations When Developing Objectives(collapse)
You and the employee should develop objectives together whenever possible.

Set short-term goals with a long-term view. Objectives are generally set for periods of a year or less, which may sacrifice long-term gain to generate results in the short-term.
Identify critical issues and possible obstacles
Do not underestimate resource needs.
Build in flexibility. Regular status update and check-in meetings make it much easier to identify problems or shifts in unit priorities and change course.
Performance Standards(collapse)
Click on any of the following items for additional information:

Characteristics of Performance Standards
Standards describe the conditions that must exist before the performance can be rated satisfactory. Performance standards are approved expressions of the

Performance threshold(s),
Requirement(s), or
Expectation(s)
employees must meet to be reviewed at particular levels of performance.

A standard focuses on task completion. It is specifically tied to duties/responsibilities. A performance standard should:

Be realistic, in other words, attainable by any qualified, competent, and fully trained person who has the authority and resources to achieve the desired result
Be “exceedable.” Employees should know that they can and should exceed expectations. Standards should not be used as an excuse to maintain the status quo if change is needed.
Describe the conditions that exist when performance meets expectations
Be expressed in terms of quantity, quality, time, cost, effect, manner of performance, or method of doing
Be measurable, with specified method(s) of gathering performance data and measuring performance against standards
Expressing Standards(collapse)
The terms for expressing performance standards are outlined below:

Quantity: specifies how much work must be completed within a certain period of time, e.g., enters 30 enrollments per day.
Quality: describes how well the work must be accomplished. Specifies accuracy, precision, appearance, or effectiveness, e.g., 95% of documents submitted are accepted without revision.
Timeliness: answers the questions: By when, how soon, or within what period, e.g., all work orders completed within five working days of receipt.
Effective Use of Resources: used when performance can be reviewed in terms of utilization of resources: money saved, waste reduced, etc., e.g., the computer handbook project will be completed with only internal resources.
Effects of Effort: addresses the ultimate effect to be obtained; expands statements of effectiveness by using phrases such as: so that, in order to, or as shown by, e.g., establish inventory levels for storeroom so that supplies are maintained 100% of the time.
Manner of Performance: describes conditions in which an individual’s personal behavior has an effect on performance, e.g., assists other employees in the work unit in accomplishing assignments.
Method of Performing Assignments: describes requirements; used when only the officially-prescribed policy, procedure, or rule for accomplishing the work is acceptable, e.g., 100A Forms are completed in accordance with established office procedures.
Create Standards for Key Areas of Responsibility(collapse)
Write performance standards for each key area of responsibility on the employee’s job description. Focus on tasks that have the greatest importance; it is not necessary to write standards for every task.

Standards are usually established when an assignment is made, and should be reviewed if the employee’s job description is updated. Whenever possible, have employees participate in developing standards. The discussion of standards should include the criteria for achieving satisfactory performance and the proof of performance (methods you will use to gather information about work performance).

In departments where more than one person does the same task or function, standards may be written for the parts of the jobs that are the same and applied to all positions doing that task.

Remember, changes in performance standards may require notice for represented employees. Teamsters 2010, for example requires notice. In addition, there are contracts that cover specialized professions, such as Nurses and Police, that have their own standard-setting and evaluation processes. Refer to the appropriate labor contract and contact Employee Relations when setting standards.

Identifying Actions & Behaviors for Success – Performance Dimensions
Introduction(collapse)
In addition to objectives and standards (which focus on end results) it is important to consider other aspects of performance. As discussed earlier, Performance Expectations = Results + Actions & Behaviors.

Understanding the actions and behaviors that employees can use to perform the job is often as important to success as end results. Behavior is the day-to-day activity in which people engage to produce results and relates closely to the process side of work.

Focusing on the way people go about their work is based on the belief that doing things correctly will lead to positive organizational results. However, many actions and behaviors are not easy to measure. For this reason, managers and employees should discuss difficult to quantify aspects of performance in terms that are

Specific,
Observable,
Job-related, and
Behavioral.
When described in this way, behaviors and actions can be grouped into performance dimensions that can be used to review job performance.

For example, if success in meeting an objective such as “updating an on-line graduate application program” requires strong interpersonal skills, then the employee should know that s/he will have to build solid relationships, collaborate, and incorporate ideas and suggestions made by colleagues. Performance will be reviewed on how well behaviors associated with the dimension, interpersonal skills, are demonstrated in reaching the objective.

Characteristics of Performance Dimensions(collapse)
Performance dimensions are defined based on the job and the work itself.

In creating a performance dimension you start with the job and state the range of behaviors employees must exhibit to successfully meet or exceed job expectations. These behaviors are then grouped into broad categories that we are calling “dimensions.” Performance dimensions help answer the question: “How does someone act and/or behave when s/he does the job well?”

Since dimensions are broad categories, a specific dimension generally applies to any employee working in a given job. It is also possible for departments and units and even entire organizations to have dimensions that apply to any employee who works in the group.

In addition to strong interpersonal skills, other examples of performance dimensions include:

Customer Service Orientation
Teamwork
Effective Communication
Valuing Diversity
Analysis and Problem-Solving
Decision-Making and Results Orientation
Adaptability
Fostering a Safe and Secure Environment
This list is by no means exhaustive. Each organization should agree on the definitions used for a dimension and the job or job groups to which a dimension will be applied. It is common, for example, to have a series of dimensions that apply to all supervisors and/or managers in an organization. The definition and validation of dimensions is a key objective of the Staff Infrastructure Steering Committee (SISC) Performance Management Working Group.

Expressing Performance Dimensions(collapse)
For dimensions to be an effective means of measuring performance, they must have two characteristics:

Have a clear general definition, and
Have well-defined levels of performance at each point along a rating scale.
This definition of Teamwork is one example of a performance dimension definition.

The Teamwork Dimension describes how employees build alliances to solve problems and achieve objectives, work cooperatively and respectively with co-workers, use diplomacy and tact when interacting with others, diffuse tension, help manage conflict, collaborate, foster collegial and cooperative attitudes, relate well to all kinds of people regardless of level inside or outside of organization, and contribute to the overall success of their work units and departments by sharing knowledge and information.

Teamwork is then defined for each point along a rating scale. For the 2008 Performance Rating Scale, please see the Performance Rating Scale.

Performance Dimensions and Competencies – There is a Difference(collapse)
Performance dimensions focus on the actions that need to be taken by anyone doing that job to get the work done. As discussed above, performance dimensions are groupings of behaviors/actions and are defined based on the requirements and expectations of the job.

In contrast, a competency is a cluster of knowledge, skills and abilities that describes a general trait that an employee has or should have to perform a job. While competencies relate to the individual, performance dimensions relate to the job.

For example, a performance dimension for a Budget Analyst’s position may be to “Prepare budget documents and reports.” It will then be useful to measure how well an employee holding the job:

“Presents information in a clear, concise manner that illustrates budget issues that need to be resolved”,
“Produces timely budget documents and reports that are tailored to each customer’s needs. and,
Frequently uses graphics and other aids to summarize and synthesize data.
If the person holding the position is a highly competent communicator and knowledgeable about the budget process, then there is an overlap between the performance dimension “Prepare budget documents and reports” and the employee’s “communication” and “technical knowledge” competencies.

Since competencies focus on an employee’s traits they are useful in hiring and development. Performance dimensions, which focus on the job, are useful for performance management and review.

[ UC Berkley ]


“How Performance Management Is About Managing Expectations”

Mature Businessman speaking
“Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance,” said management guru Peter Drucker. “This is what organization is all about, and it is the reason that management is the critical determining factor.”

Two of the most challenging parts of project management are defining employee roles within a team and then the performance management that goes into evaluating those roles. Here, in part one of this two-part series, we offer concrete management techniques to create a trusting work environment based on clarity and teamwork.

Key to effective performance management: Define, delegate, expect
We like to talk about thinking outside the box in the workplace, but even that’s kind of hard if you don’t know where the box walls begin and end. It is your job as manager to make sure that your business has a defined direction.

But just because you assure that direction is defined, it doesn’t mean you have to be the one defining it. One way to empower teams is to self-organize, which involves management working to empower and engage colleagues through trust.

The seven levels of delegation are:

Tell—Manager makes the decision.
Sell—Manager convinces people it’s the right decision.
Consult—You consult after the fact.
Agree—A group consensus is met.
Advise—You offer advice, but let others decide.
Inquire—Your team informs you after the fact.
Delegate—Others decide. You may not even be informed about it.
How do you manage? Are you a teller or a delegator? Whether you realize it or not, you and your management style probably fall on some sort of continuum, dependent upon the situation. The problem is that you don’t necessarily communicate that management style with your employees.

Expectations of roles and responsibilities is important. And knowing each member has a say in an organization increases team unity and helps to build brand ambassadors and company loyalty.

More articles from AllBusiness.com:
Small Business Management: 5 Ways to Get the Most from Your Employees
10 Tasks to Delegate to Employees
5 Business Resolutions Every Entrepreneur Should Make for the New Year
The 7 Traits of True Transformational Leaders
Management 3.0 has designed a Delegation Board which can be simply a chart with tasks running down the left and roles across the top. For each task, you assign a delegation number 1 through 7 for each person or role, depending on the type of team collaboration, team autonomy, or management authority you want over each task.

As a manager or management team, you can even decide to provide this information before a role is assigned or, once your team is created, you can make the development of the tasks and roles in the delegation board a group activity.

No matter how you decide to design the board, it should be integrated into new employee initiation and, in an effort for transparency, even broadly displayed for the whole team to see.

Importance of performance management
There is so much being said about clearly defining roles from the job interview process all the way through hiring and later evaluations. Yes, this is essential. It’s not only important to know what your role is and what your role in decision-making is, but it’s important to team collaboration that everyone has an idea of what everyone else’s expectations are. If the manager and the employee have different expectations based on miscommunication, then, of course, results are at risk.

Roles and expectations need to be shared for optimal team collaboration. Plus, the more time you invest in this front end, the more effective your team will be when it’s in operations mode.

And remember, just because you define job roles and barriers doesn’t mean they are fixed. This should be revisited at least three or four times a year. Goals, roles, direction and focus change all the time and better clarification is always necessary to keep a collaborative and motivated team. Performance management is not just that hour every certain increments of time, but it is an ongoing process in the role of manager.

This is part one of a two-part series. Be sure to also read How to Manage Employee Feedback and Performance Management.

[ Jennifer Riggins ]


“Performance Management Not Meeting Expectations? Remember the Goal.”

Brandon Young, Ph.D., Insights Consultant & Organizational PsychologistDecember 19, 2019Employee EngagementLeave a Comment

Newmeasures clients have recently been asking for ways to evaluate their performance management practices. Such audits are warranted considering organizations with strong performance management processes are 41% more likely to outperform competitors on non-financial measures such as retention and customer satisfaction. Moreover, this translates into 51% stronger performance than competitors on financial measures such as profit and stock price (Bernthal, Rogers, & Smith, 2003).

Unfortunately, many performance management systems are poorly designed and/or administered. Ultimately, success depends on end user reactions and recent evidence suggests that end users are not particularly pleased with their performance management systems. In fact, less than 25% of employees, managers, and HR leaders feel their current performance management practices are valuable.

The key to strong performance management is ongoing and meaningful feedback as a means to guide, motivate, and reinforce effective behavior and lessen ineffective behavior. Unfortunately, a Cornerstone OnDemand (2013) survey found only 34% of employees felt they received useful feedback from managers within the 6 months preceding the study and only 40% felt feedback received during their performance review helped them improve their performance. Regrettably, many systems are a simply a once a year paper shuffling event driven by HR that simply result in a rating tied to pay and/or advancement discussions. While performance ratings are important, they aren’t sufficient in developing employees or producing behavior change. Without meaningful feedback, ratings can produce unfavorable reactions that hinder feedback acceptance and application. In addition to feedback acceptance, a Newmeasures study found that employees who had a meaningful conversation with their manager about their development were 4 times more likely to be engaged.

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Feedback should be evaluative of performance, but not without clear reasoning and illustration and strategies for growth and development. Evaluations or ratings generally include the sign of the feedback (positive or negative) and should include links to business outcomes and comparisons to past performance and organizational standards (not rankings or comparisons to other employees). Feedback sign influences employee reactions and in general, positive feedback tends to be accepted more readily; however, negative feedback can be more effective when deemed an accurate reflection of performance (Steelman, Levy, & Snell, 2004). Performance improvement following negative feedback is more likely when feedback is clear, linked to achievable results, and focused on development:

Feedback becomes most valuable when the recipient can use it to improve performance or change behavior. Specific examples of past and desired behavior can more clearly illustrate to recipients the effectiveness of their actions and what behaviors can and should be changed. Message specificity is critical to future behavior; for example, Sujan (1986) illustrated that feedback crediting poor sales to strategy led salespeople to practice more adaptive selling techniques – altering sales presentation to situations. However, when alternative feedback credited lack of effort, salespersons were more likely to work harder but not necessarily smarter.

Feedback discussions should also include performance improvement planning, strategy development (e.g., goal setting, intention formation), and tactics to monitor and review progress. Feedback followed by goal-setting can not only improve performance but also enhance work satisfaction and organizational commitment (Tziner & Latham, 1989). However, goal setting is often overly focused on outcomes (e.g, increase sales by 10% in Q4) and neglects process. Process feedback includes information regarding the actions that produce the outcome (Earley, Northcraft, Lee, & Lituchy 1990) and are more controllable than outcomes. To be most effective, feedback should consider both process and outcome. Finally, feedback should include strategies to deal with multiple, often competing goals.

Bearing in mind the impact effective performance management can have on important business outcomes, it is critical to understand your employees’ perceptions regarding your entire process as it guides the quality of the feedback they receive. There are five important and intricately linked components to every performance management system (Young, 2015).

Performance measurement: Do employees understand the how their performance is measured? Can they differentiate between “good” and “bad” performance? Do they agree with the performance indicators and standards of measurement?
Feedback content: Does the feedback clearly convey effectiveness as compared to standards, goals, etc.? Is there action planning for improvement or behavior change, career growth, goal setting, etc.? Is the feedback focused on job relevant and controllable behavior?
Feedback delivery process: Is the right amount of feedback available at the right time? Do employees have a voice in the feedback process?
Feedback source: Are the feedback sources perceived as trustworthy and credible? Is the feedback source supportive?
System commitment or support: Are managers trained to deliver feedback and coach performance? Does leadership support the system and commit to improvements when necessary? Is there incentive to participate and take the process seriously?
Feedback content doesn’t live in a bubble, each of the preceding components should be considered when evaluating your performance management processes. Considering almost 60% (n=750) of HR executives graded their own systems at a C or below, it could be worthwhile to look under the hood and make adjustments where indicated.

References

Bernthal, P.R., Rogers, R.W., & Smith, A.B. (2003). Managing performance: building accountability for organisational success. HR Benchmark Group, 4(2), 1-38.

Earley, C. P., Northcraft, G. B., Lee, C., & Lituchy (1990). Impact of process and outcome feedback on the relation of goal setting to task performance. Academy of Management Journal, 33(1), 87-105.

Steelman, L. A., Levy, P.E., & Snell, A. F. (2004). The feedback environment scale: Construct definition, measurement, and validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64(1), 165-184.

Sujan, H. (1986). Smarter versus harder: An exploratory attributional analysis of salespeople’s motivation. Journal of Marketing Research, 23 (February), 41-49.

Tziner, A., Murphy, K.R., & Cleveland, J.N.(2001). Relationships between attitudes toward organizations and performance appraisal systems and rating behavior. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(3), 226-239.

Young, B.L. (2015). Feedback intervention perceptions: Development and validation of a measure. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Anaheim, CA.

[ Brandon Young ]


“Do Employees Really Know What’s Expected of Them?”

BY BRANDON RIGONI AND BAILEY NELSON
Chart: data points are described in article
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Setting expectations is a foundational element of employee engagement
Companies should collaborate with workers on role expectations
Tie employees’ expectations to their innate strengths
Only about one-third of U.S. workers are engaged at work — and that figure has barely budged in more than a decade. Worse, just 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.

These figures should be concerning to business leaders and anyone else who worries about the state of the American and global economies.

Companies everywhere have opportunities for greater productivity — and are leaving money on the table. Gallup’s latest meta-analysis shows that business units in the top quartile of employee engagement are 21% more profitable, are 17% more productive, have 10% better customer ratings, experience 41% less absenteeism and suffer 70% fewer safety incidents compared with business units in the bottom quartile.

Given the inherent challenges associated with engaging workers, executives have asked, “If we were to reduce this massive problem to a single element of employee engagement, which would be most important?”

It’s not that simple. Among the 12 elements of employee engagement, no single element is of chief importance because each organization or workgroup continuously changes and — depending on current circumstances — can benefit from emphasizing different elements.

Nonetheless, Gallup research suggests that setting clear expectations may be the most foundational element.

Only about half of all workers strongly indicate that they know what is expected of them at work. Expectations — or a lack thereof — have the power to make or break worker engagement. Even if employees feel energized and motivated, those who lack clear expectations and spend too much time working on the wrong things can’t advance key initiatives to create value for an organization.

Workers of All Generations Need Clear Expectations

The desire for clear expectations is a shining example of a shared need across generations, from millennials to traditionalists. All workers, regardless of age or stage in their career, want to know what’s expected of them in the workplace. And the lack of clear expectations can cause anxiety and confusion in workers.

But with clear expectations, employees thrive. For example, Gallup finds that 72% of millennials who strongly agree that their manager helps them establish performance goals are engaged. And across all generations, individuals who strongly agree that their manager helps them set performance goals are nearly eight times more likely to be engaged than if they strongly disagree with the statement.

Best Practices for Establishing Expectations

Having studied the engagement of more than 31 million employees over the past four decades, Gallup has learned a thing or two about how to set clear expectations with workers. When setting expectations, leaders and managers should ensure they are:

Developed collaboratively. Companies need to get workers’ input, collaborating with them to agree on role expectations. With this approach, workers will be more likely to own their expectations and succeed.

Articulated clearly. Managers shouldn’t make workers guess. With each employee, managers should talk openly about expectations and be crystal clear about what they expect.

Aimed at excellence. Workers aren’t inspired by minimum job standards such as showing up on time or submitting time sheets using the proper process. Instead, managers can bring out the very best in each worker by talking about what top performers do differently and then setting expectations based on those best-in-class behaviors.

Individualized to strengths. Employees do not want to spend the majority of their time on tasks they lack interest or proficiency in. When managers help workers better understand what comes naturally to them — their innate strengths — and then position them to use those talents more at work, employee performance and engagement both skyrocket.

A Strengths Focus Drives Results

To better understand the effects that strengths interventions have on employee performance, Gallup recently studied 49,495 business units with 1.2 million employees across 22 organizations in seven industries and 45 countries. We found that 90% of workgroups that applied strengths interventions had performance increases at or above the following ranges:

10% to 19% increase in sales
14% to 29% increase in profit
3% to 7% higher customer engagement
6% to 16% lower turnover (low-turnover organizations)
26% to 72% lower turnover (high-turnover organizations)
22% to 59% fewer safety incidents
9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
When it comes to building employee engagement and accelerating business outcomes, focusing on strengths is one of managers’ sharpest tools. After zeroing in on the right targets with clear expectations, managers can unleash employees’ greatest performance by focusing on their strengths.

AUTHOR(S)
[ Brandon Rigoni, Ph.D. and Bailey Nelson ]


“Closing The Gap Between Expectations And Performance”

Culture, Employees, Leadership, Performance, Results
By Jake Friedman, Consultant

Last Friday afternoon I picked up my son from school and then drove a couple minutes down the road to the closest Chick-Fil-A. While perhaps not the healthiest option, our end of the week trip for ice cream or a milkshake was quickly becoming one of his favorite traditions, and I enjoyed it as well. I ordered a shake, thanked the woman taking my order, and as all Chick-Fil-A employees do when thanked, she replied, “My pleasure.”

This simple two word reply is a hallmark of Chick-Fil-A’s well-earned reputation of excellent service in an industry (fast food) where almost every other business seems to have accepted that great service is an impossibility and has given up trying.

As I sat in my car waiting on the shake, I thought about the connection between the service I had just experienced and a conversation I’d recently had with a small business owner who was frustrated that her people never seemed to act with the level of professionalism she expected.

While I’m sure Chick-Fil-A does its best to hire quality people, I seriously doubt that all those people show up on their first day and every one of them just happens to say “My pleasure” when told “thank you.” No, Chick-Fil-A had to teach its people, even if they were already good employees, exactly how it wanted them to act.

The idea that we, as leaders, should be constantly teaching our people what we want them to do might seem obvious, yet it’s often overlooked in practice. In fact, a common complaint from the owners, CEOs, and other senior leaders we work with, is how frustrated they are that their people don’t do what those leaders expect of them.

That frustration is understandable. As a CEO, you’ve got a way you want things to be done, and it usually seems self-evident to you, and yet so often your people don’t do it that way. Not only is this a source of aggravation, it’s also hurting your business. If only you could get your people to more consistently carry out their jobs in the manner and at the level you expect, your business would be much more productive and much more profitable.

And yet more often than not, while we get all worked up with frustration, we fail to do the sort of effective teaching it takes to close the gap between our expectations and our people’s performance.

Personnel issue or culture problem?

Sometimes this is because we’ve misidentified the problem. Too often, organizations look at the situation I’m describing and label it a personnel issue. “If only we could find and hire better people, then they’d do things the way we want!” Other times the problem is grudgingly accepted as simply the nature of the industry. “Maybe other industries are different, but in our line of work, these are the only kind of people we have and there’s nothing that can be done.”

The truth is, the situation we’re discussing is less of a personnel issue (although of course you need good people!) and more of a culture problem. We often say that your true culture isn’t what you say but what your people actually do. How they go about their job, how they treat your customers or clients, and how they work with each other, that’s your culture.

Teaching your way to a better culture

If we recognize that the problem isn’t that we need better people, but that we need a better culture, how do we go about acting on that? The answer is that first we have to define really clearly what we want our better culture to be, and then we have to teach it to our people over and over and over again. Everything we want done, exactly the way we want it done, we’ve got to teach. It really is that simple, even if it isn’t easy.

Behaviors instead of values

So how do you define really clearly what your culture is so that your people know exactly how you want them to behave? The key is right there in that last word, “behave.” Instead of using the conventional mission, vision, and values paradigm, it’s much more effective, when it comes to teaching, to define your culture in terms of behaviors. By behaviors I mean things like “Honor Commitments”, “Be a Fanatic About Response Time”, and “Practice Blameless Problem-Solving”, to name a few examples.

Why is this more effective? Because the increased level of clarity and specificity in a behavior, as opposed to a value, makes it easier to teach, coach, guide, and give people feedback on. After all, if your culture is what your people do every day, it makes sense to define that culture not in terms of what we believe in, but in terms of how we want them to act.

Rituals, not discipline, make your teaching sustainable

It’s not enough, however, to create a crystal clear definition of our culture based on behaviors and then stop there. Remember, the whole point is for your people to be doing what you want, and so once you define what that is, you’ve got to teach them to do it!

Of course, even once you start teaching, your people aren’t going to get better at doing things how you want them done overnight. To get better, you’ve got to provide them with a lot of repetition. Think of this in terms of anything you’ve ever wanted to get better at, be it an instrument, a sport, or a foreign language. What did it take? A lot of practice! This is no different.

And here’s where so many organizations make a fatal mistake. In order to achieve the amount of repetition necessary, they decide to be “more disciplined” about teaching and practicing their culture. Why is that a mistake? How many people do you know who are truly good about being disciplined? Sure, there are a few, but not most of us. It’s why by this time of year the local gyms have emptied out again, our diets are back to their normal less than healthy state, and all those other great New Year’s resolutions we’ve had that we were so determined to be disciplined about have fallen by the wayside. The simple truth is, most people just stink at being disciplined.

So what if instead of relying on discipline, we created rituals to help us stick with our teaching. By a ritual I just mean something that we do almost without thinking or using energy, like a habit. Singing the national anthem before a sporting event, saying a prayer before a meal, and even brushing our teeth in the morning, are all great examples of rituals that allow us to stick with something far longer than we would if we were relying on discipline.

It’s rituals that provide you with a system for teaching your behaviors that is going to last. Rituals keep you teaching and practicing even during the busiest times or even when you shift your focus to other initiatives. They’re the key to making this sustainable.

If you\’d like to learn more about how you can develop a culture that closes the gap between your expectations and your people’s performance, shoot us an email, give us a call, or check out David Friedman\’s latest book, Culture by Design.

[ Jake Friedman ]


“What’s the Big Deal About Clear Performance Expectations?”

A lack of clear performance expectations is often cited as a key contributing factor to employees’ happiness or unhappiness at work. In a poll about what makes a bad boss bad, the majority of respondents said that their manager did not provide clear direction.

This factor affected their sense of participation in a venture larger than themselves and their feelings of engagement, motivation, and teamwork.

Critical Components of Clear Performance Expectations
The process that results in employees who understand and execute their performance expectations contains these components:

A company strategic planning process that defines overall direction and objectives
A communication strategy that tells every employee where their job and needed outcomes fit within the bigger company strategy

A process for goal setting, evaluation, feedback, and accountability that lets employees know how they are doing. This process must provide opportunities for continuing employee professional and personal development.

Overall organizational support for the importance of clear performance expectations communicated through cultural expectations, executive planning and communication, managerial responsibility and accountability, rewards and recognition, and company stories (folklore) about heroic accomplishments that define the workplace.

Communication of Clear Performance Expectations
Communication starts with the strategic planning process of executive leaders. How they communicate these plans and goals to the organization is critical to creating an organization in which all components are connected and pulling in the same direction.

Executive leadership must clearly communicate its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes to align each area of the organization with the overall mission and vision.

At the same time, leadership needs to define the organizational culture of teamwork desired within the company. Whether a department team or a product, process, or project team, team members have to understand why the team was created and the outcomes the organization expects from the team.

Communicating Clear Performance Direction Through the PDP
The Performance Development Planning (PDP) process translates these higher level goals into the outcomes necessary for each employee’s job within the company. After the quarterly PDP meeting, employees should be clear about their expected contribution.

Goal setting at these meetings should include a performance evaluation component, so the employee knows how they have been performing.

Leading up to the PDP meeting, the employee self-evaluation guides each employee in thinking about their performance. The six-eight goals set at the meeting or continued from the previous PDP, establish performance expectations without micromanaging the employee. Deciding how to accomplish the goals empowers, engages, and motivates the employee.

The manager maintains needed contact with the critical steps in the employee’s performance plan through weekly meetings and coaching. This step ensures that employees are accountable for accomplishing their jobs. Consider following this same process with each team you establish for the same sense of interconnectedness and understanding of clear performance expectations.

Continuing Support for Clear Performance Expectations
Your organization accomplishes performance expectations in three key ways:

You need to show a constancy of purpose in supporting individuals and teams with the resources of people, time, and money that will enable them to accomplish their goals. When you provide the resources teams need to succeed, you ensure the development of teamwork and the team’s best chance for success.
Sometimes, this requires the reshuffling of resources or the renegotiation of goals. But, the visual application of resources sends a powerful message of support.
The work of the team needs to receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention, and interest directed its way by executive leaders. Employees are watching and need to know that the organization cares.

The critical component in continuing organizational support for the importance of the accomplishment of clear performance expectations is your reward and recognition system. Clear performance expectations accomplished deserve both public recognition and private compensation.

Publically cheering and celebrating team accomplishments enhances the team’s feeling of success. The recognition communicates the behaviors and actions the company expects from its employees.

[ SUSAN M. HEATHFIELD]


“Are Your High Expectations Hurting Your Team?”

Summary. As a leader, appropriately raising the bar allows the people who work for you to grow as your organization progresses. If your standards are too high though, you may be doing more damage than good. Your overly ambitious expectations may be hurting the self-confidence of those on your team, causing your own chronic…more

During a recent interview with a member of my client’s executive team, a leader said to me, “Nothing I do is ever good enough for [the CEO]. We’re all starting to ask ourselves why we bother trying.” When I later debriefed the assessment findings with the CEO, she said, “People consistently disappoint me. It’s always been that way. I have high standards. That’s why I get the results that I do.”

When we discussed the unintended consequences of her expectations, it had never occurred to her that she was undermining the very results she sought. Conventional management wisdom suggests that setting a high bar for employees is a good thing. But when employees can never reach that bar, those high standards become weapons, leaving bitterness and unrealized potential in their wake.

This study of more than 300 executives in 10 countries shows that approximately 35% of executives fail because of a tendency toward perfection. That’s because achievement-oriented leaders tend to be chronically dissatisfied. While you may be thinking that you’re “just pushing them to be the best,” you may actually be setting them up to fail. Step back and reconsider whether your constant pushing may have unwanted side effects. Here are a few you might see:

Disappointment in yourself. It’s often not just your direct reports you hold to an unreasonably high standard. In my experience consulting with executives, it’s common for a leader’s discontent to turn inward. Without the ability to feel satisfied with their best or proud of their accomplishment, these leaders often lack joy and professional satisfaction. If you’re one of these leaders, pay attention to the stories you tell yourself about your performance. If the narrative is one of inadequacy or you struggle to take pride in your accomplishments and abilities, it may be a sign that your high standards have warped your own self-perception.

Loss of self-confidence in others. In their book, Impossible to Please, Neil Lavender and Alan Cavailoa write, “When you find yourself working with or for a controlling perfectionist, it’s common to feel angry and frustrated or even worse, you feed into their hypercriticism and begin to feel inferior, like you can’t do anything right.” If your high standards are causing others to feel inadequate, eventually they lose confidence and stop trying. They may second guess themselves while privately resenting you and fearing your regular critiques. Worst of all, because they can’t tell where your unfair standards end and where their shortfalls begin, they aren’t able to improve. As one of the direct reports of the CEO mentioned above so aptly put it, “After a while, the safest thing to do is nothing. Whatever she screams about that day is what I work on.”

Little organizational resilience. When a team is constantly feeling second-guessed or criticized, it has a harder time bouncing back after a setback. People become paralyzed rather than creative when facing challenges. A leader’s perpetual dissatisfaction can drain a team’s resourcefulness. If you worry about whether your organization can rally in the face of major problems, your constant push to reach ever rising standards may be the cause. And if you have aspirations you want your team to achieve, your expectations may actually be weakening their ability to do so.

If you’ve seen any of these consequences in your organization, here are some things you can do.

Learn to harness your discontent. Your dissatisfaction can be an asset; the key is being selective when you use it. In situations where people need to improve, pushing them to stretch can help close the gap. But because of the power that you have over others, your discontent carries more weight and impact. People want to please their leader, and when they believe they can’t, it’s demoralizing. But if they believe they can meet your standards, they are more likely to believe they can be successful when you raise those standards. Be judicious about when and how often you express dissatisfaction.

Never let others question their value in your view. I asked my CEO client who wasn’t aware of the consequences stemming from her high standards, “Do members of your team know what you value about each of them?” She couldn’t answer definitively. She naturally assumed her team shared her drive for perfection and never considered that her critique made them feel incompetent. If you want those you lead to take your critique to heart, it’s imperative they know what you find special about them and their contributions. It doesn’t matter how senior an executive is. You can never take for granted every leader’s need to know they — and their work — matter to you. Inventory the unique value each member of your team creates, and when you see that value in action, be intentional about telling them.

Examine how and when you set standards. Perfectionistic leaders often don’t communicate their “high standards” until others miss their expectations. When you observe a gap between what you get and what you wanted, pause before reacting. Ask yourself if the person who fell short understood what you expected. Then, ask yourself if what you wanted was realistic given the circumstances and abilities of your team. Being honest about what you base your expectations on, and clearly conveying them to others in a timely manner, ensures your standards aren’t just high, but realistic and fair.

Embrace your own goodness. You will be more forgiving of others if you loosen expectations of yourself. Take stock of where your self-perception lacks objectivity, and what conditions trigger your self-contempt. If you surface strong resistance or emotion as you consider areas where you shine, that’s likely a sign that the origins of your harsh discontent may lie deeper than you think.

As a leader, you have the opportunity to unleash the greatest contributions of others. Appropriately raising the bar allows them to grow as your organization progresses. If your standards are too harsh, inadvertently hurting others, find out why, and learn to use your discontent for the good of those you lead.

[ Ron Carucci ]


“33 Common Performance Expectations at Work (Including Examples)”

If you’re interested in pursuing success in your career, consider learning more about performance expectations involved with your profession. This can include characteristics of people currently in the profession, responsibilities involved in particular fields and expectations supervisors and administrators may have of you. Understanding performance expectations can help provide clarity for a position and lead to the success of employees. In this article, we list 33 common performance expectations and provide examples of them in the workplace.

Related: 10 Tips for Giving Useful Performance Review Feedback (With Examples)

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What are performance expectations?

A performance expectation is part of a documented performance plan that details goals, values, outcomes and requirements related to a position. It can help identify what results and expectations people can accomplish, along with how to do so. For example, this can include daily responsibilities, behaviors, goals for continued professional development and how a business defines success for anyone who works there.

Related: How To Write a Performance Report (With Steps and Examples)

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33 performance expectations
Here are 33 performance expectations, along with descriptions of what they might include in a workplace:

  1. Adaptability
    Adaptability is how well you adjust to changes. This can include changes to the work environment or job responsibilities. It may also include adjusting to communicating with different personality types.
  2. Alignment
    Alignment is how well you work toward the goals, mission and values of a business instead of personal agendas. This can include your effectiveness in making decisions that benefit your team and not only yourself. For example, you may review a strategic plan you made for the business to ensure its decisions, actions and strategy align with the needs of the business.
  3. Budget management
    Budget management is how well you manage finances for your projects or department. This can include budgets for purchasing supplies, professional development for your team or providing materials to customers. When you’re evaluated on this expectation, your supervisor may review how well you stayed within your budget range, both in terms of not going over and not being too far below your budgeted amount.
  4. Candor
    Candor, or transparency, is how well you communicate honest and valuable information to others. This can include asking questions about something you’re unsure about or how forthcoming you are when you may not meet a deadline. For example, your supervisor may be more willing to understand if you missed a deadline if you talked to them about it before and let them know why it may happen.
  5. Collaboration
    Collaboration is how well you help others with achieving goals. This can include their professional goals or one for a team. For example, if you’re developing marketing materials for a sales team, there may be expectations you work with that team to create targeted materials for specified audiences or services.
  6. Compliance
    Compliance is how well you follow protocols in the workspace. This can include policies, standards, regulations or any applicable laws. For example, you may have a compliance training to complete every year, and the expectation is you complete and pass this training.
  7. Communication
    Communication is how well you give and receive information. This can include how to communicate on project progress with customers, colleagues or supervisors. This may be verbal or written forms of communication, and being able to do this effectively can help with many aspects of your career.

Related: 23 Performance Evaluation Phrases To Use in a Review

  1. Cooperation
    Cooperation is how well you work with others. This can include your team or employees in other departments. For example, your supervisor may review how well you work with others across the business.
  2. Creativity
    Creativity is how well you apply a task from supervisors or administrators to develop a final product or solution. This can include vague ideas or something new. For example, you may get asked to find a method to improve a workflow for more efficient production of a product, which then can increase sales.
  3. Customer relationships
    Customer relationships are how well you develop relationships with new and existing clients. This may include evaluations related to how you maintain relationships with customers, the longevity of relationships or the development of relationships with new customers. For example, your supervisor may evaluate you based on customer feedback.
  4. Customer service
    Customer service is how well you interact with customers in your position. This can include verbal and written interactions. It may also include ways you handle communications with new customers, existing customers or customers who are unhappy with a product or service.
  5. Decision-making skills
    Decision-making is the effectiveness of decisions you make or lack of making them. This can include taking responsibility for outcomes related to your decisions and the ability to back up your choices with data or reasoning. For example, this can involve decisions related to prioritizing tasks or responsibilities to help meet deadlines.
  6. Dependability
    Dependability is how often you’re where you’re supposed to be or doing what you’re supposed to do for your position. This can include how regularly you arrive at work on time or how frequently you’re working on tasks. For example, you may have feedback regarding how often you stay on task and complete projects in a specified timeframe.
  7. Emotional intelligence
    Emotional intelligence is how well you manage your emotions when making decisions or being productive. This can include handling conflict, differences in opinions or strict deadlines. For example, if you’re managing a team where there are conflicting opinions, you may help manage conversations so the team can decide how to move forward.

Related: How To Get a Job After Being Fired for Poor Performance

  1. Forecasting skills
    Forecasting is how well you can predict sales and revenue for a timeframe. For example, you may plan forecasts for a sales team for three months, six months or one year. Your supervisor may evaluate your success on this task by comparing your forecasted sales numbers to the results.
  2. Criticism or feedback acceptance
    You may have critiques or feedback during different stages of your career from which you can learn. This can include feedback from supervisors, colleagues or customers. For example, after communicating with a customer, they may receive a feedback form to evaluate your service. This may provide feedback related to what you do well and feedback on where you can improve.
  3. Leadership
    Leadership is how well you can motivate people’s productivity. This can include communicating collective needs to administrators, listening to the needs of others and providing guidance or helping colleagues when they’re unsure of specific tasks. Leadership may not always involve a management role.
  4. Management
    Management is how well you oversee teams of people, projects or assets of an organization. This can include your ability to communicate effectively, listen to your employees and keep tasks moving forward efficiently. Supervisors or team members may evaluate your leadership skills if they work with you regularly. This expectation also may involve the retention rate of staff on your team.
  5. Negotiation skills
    Negotiating is how well you manage closing sales or making decisions when conflicts arise. This can include your communication ability with internal and external people. For example, you may supervise a team and part of your responsibility involves successful budget negotiations to increase funding from external supporters.
  6. Organization
    Organization is how well you’re able to achieve results when multiple priorities, tasks and people may have involvement in a project. This can include organizing projects, events, meetings or your tasks and records. You may have a variety of organizational tasks involved, and supervisors may evaluate how well you manage everything.
  7. People management
    People management is how well you manage teams, staff or multiple customers. This can include how you motivate others, support their goals or the success of your team’s collective goals. For example, measuring the progress of projects that are responsibilities of your team can show how well you can manage relationships.
  8. Planning skills
    Planning is how well you can develop project plans, create workflows or prioritize tasks. This can include planning for your projects or team projects. Consider developing your project planning skills if you’re interested in a project management career.
  9. Process
    Your process is how well you follow directions and protocols related to workflows and instructions. This can include if you communicate with colleagues in other departments who are involved with various stages of your workflow. It can also include following protocols and step-by-step instructions for processes that require consistency across departments, like methods for communicating with new customers.
  10. Productivity
    Productivity is how much related to your work responsibilities you accomplish in a timeframe. This can include how often you complete your day-to-day responsibilities, the status of tasks for projects you’re working on or how many projects you’ve completed. This may also include demonstrations of how you perform some of these tasks for additional evaluations.
  11. Professional development
    Professional development is how you continue developing your skills regularly. This can be how often you attend workshops or sessions that improve skills relevant to your position. Consider what skills can improve success to help you meet other goals and expectations in your professional development.
  12. Professionalism
    Professionalism covers your appearance, hygiene and behaviors while at work. This can include how you present yourself while at work and how you act around others. For example, your supervisor may review your attitude while at work or your motivation.
  13. Reporting skills
    Reporting refers to how well you develop reports related to your projects or tasks. This can include communicating with supervisors, stakeholders, customers or your colleagues. Your reports may involve topics like forecasting, revenue, lessons learned, risk factors or project status.
  14. Risk management
    Risk management is how well you can identify, manage and handle risk situations. This can include how you plan for known and unknown risks, how you communicate about risk situations that arise and how you analyze for the possibility of future risks. Your supervisor may evaluate example risks you planned for and those that occurred during a project lifecycle and ask you to explain how you handled the situation and will improve future risk management efforts.
  15. Sales revenue
    Revenue is the target numbers for sales versus your actual revenue. This can include how close you are to your target revenue or how much you’ve exceeded your targeted revenue. Your supervisor may provide feedback for improvement or ask you to review your processes to help increase your sales revenue.
  16. Self-management
    Self-management is how well you plan your priorities and time to complete projects successfully and meet your goals. This can include how productive you are and keeping yourself accountable for your work. For example, it may include an evaluation of how you manage a project or plan your time with multiple competing priorities.
  17. Soft skills
    Soft skills are how well you use general professional traits that aren’t specific to any industry. For example, your supervisor may ask you to improve your writing, digital literacy and public speaking. Getting better at these skills can help you at every point in your career.
  18. Tools
    Tools refers to how well you use an organization’s devices or programs to complete your work tasks. This can include the use of hardware, equipment, software or applications the organization provides. If you use outside tools, your supervisor may evaluate their effectiveness and whether there’s a comparable internal tool that may provide a similar use.
  19. Work product
    Work product is the quantity and quality of the work you produce over a timeframe. This can include a review of any documentation of your process for developing a final product. For example, if you complete a project, you may have feedback on the time it took you to complete the project and the quality of the final product.

[ Indeed Editorial Team ]


“6 Tips on Setting Expectations for Employees”

By Brian O’Connell
December 8, 2020
6 Tips on Setting Expectations for Employees
Companies that are allowing their workforces to work remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues need to ensure that they can effectively manage employee engagement. One way to reduce workers’ stress and keep them connected is to establish more-transparent and engaging expectations.

“Setting expectations for your employees is vitally important,” said Luanne Tierney, chief marketing officer at Betterworks, a workplace empowerment and performance company located in Redwood City, Calif. “Without set expectations, employees may be left to wonder where their impact lies and therefore fall behind.”

When the manager and employee agree on clearly defined expectations, there is less confusion, more empowerment in their positions and a road map for the employee to succeed, Tierney noted.

A Path for Managers to Set Expectations

If you’re a manager, understand that your staffers actually want you to set expectations. That process starts with mastering a few key steps that should lead to better results.

  1. Emphasize objectives.

Clearly defined objectives and key results are great tools for setting clear employee expectations.

“By setting quarterly objectives or goals with your employees and then writing actionable key results that will allow the employee to achieve those objectives, there is a clear understanding of what to do to move forward,” Tierney said. “This eliminates the need for micromanagement and allows the employee to have autonomy over their own responsibilities.”

It’s not enough to simply define an objective. Decide on measurable key results so that employees have mileposts to guide them to the goal.

“This is why [objectives] work so well: The steps to achieve are well-defined. Review your objectives each quarter, and make notes on what worked and what didn’t. By having these open conversations, you can set even better objectives for the next quarter,” Tierney explained.

  1. Set expectations early.

Jeff Smith, director of the Best-Self Academy at 15Five, a software company in San Francisco that helps firms manage remote workers, sets expectations with employees from their first day on the job.

15Five mandates a meeting between new hires and managers called the Best-Self Kick-Off as part of its employee onboarding process. The discussion centers on expectations, workplace culture, goal setting and results planning. The job description plays a starring role in the meeting.

“Having an accurate job description can act as the foundation for a great relationship between a manager and a direct report,” Smith said. “Many job descriptions list dozens of responsibilities and required skills instead of focusing on what the role will actually entail.

“At 15Five, once someone joins the company, their job description includes actionable details around what’s expected during their first 30, 60, 90 and 365 days. Another simple technique is describing a typical week or month in the role. Job descriptions should always include the outcomes that someone is responsible for, why the outcomes are important to your company and your company’s values.”

When prospective employees can see how their values align with the company, they’ll feel more supported and connected even before working for a new employer.

“Values also help employees have a clear understanding of what they should be focusing on and how it contributes to the company’s overall strategy—helping open the door for more transparent communication and motivation for success,” Smith said.

  1. Make employees accountable.

While managers need to set realistic goals, team leaders also should ensure that staffers recognize they are accountable for those goals.

“Do this by following up, establishing shared goals and setting milestones to allow the team to gauge progress,” said Tammy Perkins, chief people officer at PMI Worldwide in Seattle. “By following up, managers ensure that a team recognizes that they are accountable for the deliverable.

“Remember, company leaders position their team for success by making priorities clear at every stage,” she added. “Make that process easier by keeping a list of critical goals, especially during the pandemic, when workplaces are in an environment of significant change.”

  1. Give meaningful feedback.

Keep in mind that employees internalize and implement management feedback when it’s relevant. “Consequently, develop a key message supported by examples,” Perkins said.

One way to do that is with storytelling. “It’s powerful when leaders share real stories about themselves and employees,” Perkins added. “The more specific, personal and memorable the story, the better. Storytelling is a great way to create the opportunity to learn.”

  1. Leverage motivation.

“Put yourself in your employees’ shoes, and think what would motivate them,” said Chris Brenchley, chief executive officer at Surehand, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that connects skilled professionals with industrial employers. “Is it a prospect of better pay, promotion, validation? Find out what’s in it for them.”

To gain insight into what motivates employees, Brenchley advises, managers could invite workers into their office for an informal chat. “Ask them where they want to be two or three years from now,” he said. “This will give you clear insight about what they’re planning and how the goals you set will be able to take them where they want to go.”

  1. Make it measurable.

“If you set a vague goal, you’ll get vague results,” Brenchley said. “Therefore, the goal should be measurable.

“This also means setting a deadline so the employee knows exactly what is expected of them and when,” he added. “One tip that managers can leverage is to use goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.”

Brian O’Connell is a freelance writer based in Bucks County, Pa. A former Wall Street trader, he is the author of the books CNBC Creating Wealth and The Career Survival Guide.

[ Brian O’Connell ]


“6 Steps to Setting Clear Expectations”

chandelier-1187743The most important thing you can do as a leader is to establish expectations for your employees. After all, if you don’t show your employees what success looks like, they may never figure out what it takes to succeed within your organization and team.

Follow these six steps to set crystal-clear expectations for your staff:

Make them clear for yourself. It is impossible to build mutually clear expectations with others if you haven’t defined your expectations. If you can’t clearly articulate them verbally or on paper, you aren’t ready to share them with employees. “I’ll know it when I see it” isn’t a clear expectation.

Decide where you need to set expectations. Think about where the gaps exist on your team. Is the work output less than ideal? Do you communicate effectively? What are the expectations imposed by the organizational culture? Figure out where you are falling short, and define exactly what needs to change.
Understand why. Providing others with the context and justification for expectations will increase employees’ accountability for meeting those expectations. Help people understand the bigger picture and you will gain their support.

Meet with employees to discuss the new standards. Sit down with employees, either individually or as a group given the circumstances, to discuss your expectations. Remember, completing the first three steps is critical before you meet with employees. If you fail to follow the process, you likely won’t be able to express your expectations clearly and thoroughly. To encourage a productive two-way conversation, provide employees with an agenda and list of goals for the meeting, and ask them to come prepared to offer their own feedback.
Write your expectations down. We aren’t talking a legal document here. However, when you write down your goals and expectations, you gain more clarity and document your plan of action. That way there will be no confusion later about the terms to which you and the employees agreed.

Gain agreement and commitment. Once you have documented your expectations, both you and employees should read them, ensure that you are on the same page and commit to the new expectations. We recommend that you and employees sign off on the document should you need to revisit the issue later.
The lack of clearly understood expectations is the source of much strife in relationships, the cause of most conflicts, and the beginning of poor organizational performance. As leaders, we must strive to build clear expectations throughout our organizations, and it must start with us.

Want more? Watch this video “Getting Clear Expectations” with Kevin Eikenberry!

Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/chandelier-1187743

FILED UNDER: MANAGEMENT, PRODUCTIVITY
TAGGED WITH: COMMUNICATING WITH EMPLOYEES, COMMUNICATION, DELEGATION

[ Kevin Eikenberry ]


“When Do High Expectations Decrease Performance?”

On February 27, 2019
By I-O AT WORK

Topic(s): engagement, leadership, motivation, performance
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Quitting when the going gets tough: A downside of high performance expectations
Authors: H. Dai, B.J. Dietvorst, B. Tuckfield, K.L. Milkman, M.E. Schweitzer
Reviewed by: William Hasek

When others expect you to do great work, persistence is often key to success. Persistence is partly a matter of individual qualities such as motivation and leadership, but it is also a matter of social environment. The added pressure of high external expectations often causes people to expect more of themselves and to push forward when they encounter failure. Previous research verifies that high expectations lead to increased effort and achievement. But sometimes high expectations can raise concerns about professional reputation. Fearing that failure could damage their standing, employees may feel embarrassed, make excuses, and withdraw their efforts.

WHEN HIGH EXPECTATIONS BACKFIRE
To examine the potential negative effects of high expectations, the researchers (Dai, et al., 2018) conducted two studies. The first study examined archival data from men’s tennis matches. Tennis is a competitive sport and favored players are established on the basis of commentary and world rankings. These favored players face high expectations for their performance. Statistical analysis showed that if a player was favored to win a match and he performed poorly in the initial part of the game, he was significantly more likely to quit and claim he was injured.

In the second study, students were brought into a lab and asked to compete in a trivia challenge. They were told they would receive money for correctly answering questions and their performance would be publically ranked. All students were asked the same questions, but one group was told that the questions were easy, which caused them to face higher expectations for their performance. After the first 20 questions, the students could choose to switch trivia topics, which would cause them to lose money but improve their public rankings. At various points in the study, the students rated their emotions and level of confidence. The results showed that students who faced high external expectations were more likely to feel embarrassed and to switch topics during the game.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS AT WORK
This research demonstrated that when people face high external expectations and they experience failure early on, they are more likely to feel embarrassed and to choose not to persist. Furthermore, the research showed that people will make this decision even when it has financial costs. In organizations, the decision not to persist could take many forms, such as stepping down from a position or focusing attention on other projects. This is more likely to happen in highly competitive environments, such as finance. Managers can help employees face early setbacks, find ways to help them save face, and develop strategies to manage their feelings of embarrassment, such as coaching them toward a growth mindset. The research also suggests that companies should be cautious when using ranking systems, as this may heighten pressure on employees and decrease their persistence when they face challenges early on in a project.

Dai, H., Dietvorst, B. J., Tuckfield, B., Milkman, K. L., & Maurice, S. E. (2018). Quitting when the going gets tough: A downside of high performance expectations. Academy of Management Journal, 61(5), 1667-1691.


“The Why and How of Setting Employee Expectations”

Effectively setting employee expectations is a critical part of successfully leading and managing a team, as well as developing a culture of accountability. Ideally, all managers within the company should be setting expectations within two to four weeks of an employee being hired. However, if that has not occurred, it’s perfectly acceptable to establish expectations at any point during employment.

It is recommended that a manager schedule 30 minutes to an hour to have a “setting expectations” conversation with the employee. The process should include a discussion of expectations about the job description, job performance, appropriate and inappropriate behavior in the workplace, and an opportunity for the employee to ask for clarification and share with the manager how they would like to be supported in their role.

The benefits of setting expectations with employees are that doing so:

Provides clarity for both the employee and manager and gets everyone on the same page
Establishes a baseline of measurement for future performance
Enhances communication
Empowers employees to act more freely because they have operating guidelines and structure
Creates a reference point when expectations are not met
Provides a way to hold employees accountable
The impact and result of not setting expectations is that you create a culture that lacks clarity and accountability.

What’s the best way to handle the conversation?

Plan, in advance, for what you intend to communicate to the employee. Employees cannot read your mind and you need to communicate expectations clearly. This small step of carving out time to discuss expectations with employees typically leads to increased performance by each person in the organization and ultimately drives significantly improved top and bottom line results.

Start with the big picture. This can be your business direction or your vision for the future.
Clarify roles through a job description and the conversation. Job descriptions give an overview of the job while the conversation gives the manager an opportunity to drill deeper to be sure there is a clear understanding of expectations.
Be sure that the goals are the right goals. Goals should cascade from the top so that everyone’s goals are in alignment with each other. Goals help people understand the priorities and how their role supports the overall organizational goals. All goals should be specific, measurable, and timed.
Frequent feedback is important. If an employee is performing well or not performing well, it should not come as a surprise to them. Feedback should go both ways – give the employee feedback and seek to learn from them how you can better support them in achieving the best results possible.

[ Susan Katz ]


“Why do we perform better when someone has high expectations of us?”
The Pygmalion effect

What is the Pygmalion effect?
The Pygmalion effect describes situations where someone’s high expectations improves our behavior and therefore our performance in a given area. It suggests that we do better when more is expected of us.

Where this bias occurs
DEBIAS YOUR ORGANIZATION
Most of us work & live in environments that aren’t optimized for solid decision-making. We work with organizations of all kinds to identify sources of cognitive bias & develop tailored solutions.

LEARN ABOUT OUR WORK
Imagine you are beginning a new project at work. Your boss comes to see you and tells you that he’s really excited to see the final product because he knows you’re going to do well.

Since your boss has high expectations for your performance, he might give you more support during the project. Additionally, because you want to meet his expectations, you may change your behavior as well. You might spend more hours on the project, working overtime, and double-check the quality of your work. Because both your boss and you changed your behavior, the project may end up being more successful than it would originally have been if your boss hadn’t told you he believed in you. Your boss’ expectation made you work harder which led to improved performance and therefore a better outcome.

When positive expectations positively impact our behavior and our performance, it is known as the Pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion effect is most often associated with school or work performance, since teachers or bosses often voice their expectations to their students or employees.

Individual effects
Although the Pygmalion effect occurs mostly subconsciously, it shows that others’ expectations can greatly influence our performance. When someone thinks highly of us, we work hard to maintain those expectations.

If someone we respect or want to impress, such as a teacher or employer, believes we will succeed, they can influence our own impression of ourselves. Positive expectations allow us to take the necessary steps to meet those high expectations. We are likely to push ourselves harder because we believe that we can achieve success.

The Pygmalion effect acts like a prophecy because pre-existing beliefs lead to more effort being put in both by the person with the expectations, and the person who is being expected from, increasing the likelihood that success will ensue.

Systemic effects
Although the Pygmalion effect has a positive influence on performance, it is dependent on positive expectations. That means that individuals who don’t believe that others have high expectations of themselves may suffer as a result. The Pygmalion effect demonstrates that stereotypes may be more damaging than they seem.

Someone’s high expectations for our performance don’t only impact how we act, but also impacts how they act. For example, if a teacher believes one of their students is really intelligent and will be successful, they may pay them more attention, give them more detailed feedback, and continue to challenge them. They may not treat other students the same, and the unequal treatment causes some students to fall behind while others thrive.

Since our expectations impact how we treat others, the Pygmalion effect only positively impacts those that we already expect a lot from. It can be especially damaging for young children who are malleable and still building their self-concept based on other people’s opinions.1 People in positions of influence therefore need to be careful of managing and mediating their expectations.

Why it happens
The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon that describes how expectations can modify behavior. It provides evidence for the self-fulfilling prophecy, which is based on the idea that others’ beliefs about us become true because their belief impacts how we behave.2 The Pygmalion effect specifically describes situations in which superior’s positive opinions on performance will lead to better performance actually occurring.

The Pygmalion effect occurs because other’s expectations impact both their own behavior and our behavior. If someone believes we are likely to succeed, they will treat us differently to help us achieve those goals. In turn, when someone expects us to succeed, we try our best to meet those expectations.

Robert Rosenthal, a behavioral psychologist who first examined the Pygmalion effect in 1968, later proposed a four-factor theory as to why it occurs in 1973. Rosenthal identified climate, input, output and feedback were the four factors that led to teacher’s expectation of their students impacting those students’ behavior.2

Climate referred to the fact that if a teacher has high expectations for their students, they may create a warm socio-economic environment. They feel positively towards their students and the classroom would reflect this attitude. Input suggested that teachers will give students they believe are intelligent more and better-quality materials. Output meant that teachers will give those students more opportunities to respond and engage in the classroom. The last factor was feedback, that referred to the likelihood that better performing students may receive more detailed feedback from their teachers on how to improve.2

Why it is important
It is important for us to understand how expectations impact our behavior and our subsequent outcomes so that we can properly mediate those expectations for the best possible outcomes.

For one, the Pygmalion effect suggests that impressions matter. Having a good reputation with your boss or superior means that they will come to expect a lot of you, and this may cause them to give you greater support so that you can best achieve your goals. For example, Rosenthal found that teachers paid the students who had been labelled as bloomers more attention and offered them more encouragement.3

If we are the ones whose expectations may influence others, we should try to maintain and express positive expectations in order to motivate people to meet those expectations. However, we also need to ensure that we don’t let our expectations of particular individuals overshadow other people that may have as much to offer.

The Pygmalion effect can lead to differential treatment that may not be fair. We should ensure that we are careful not to favor just one or two students or employees because while it may help them succeed, it can leave others feeling unmotivated and discouraged.

How to activate it
The Pygmalion effect is not something we can activate by ourselves, because it relies on other people’s expectations of us as a motive to succeed. However, awareness of the Pygmalion effect can ensure that we put our best foot forward when we first meet our superiors.

In doing so, we can create high expectations from the start of a school year, project or job, that make it more likely that our superiors will better support us, challenge us, and ensure that we succeed.

However, alternatively, if we don’t feel as though our superiors have high expectations of us, we may feel discouraged, which will negatively impact our behavior. We may want to look to other people in our life that do have high expectations of us, like our friends and family, and use their beliefs as motivators to prove our employers or teachers wrong.

How it all started
The Pygmalion effect got its name from the Greek myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman that he later fell in love with. He wished that he could find a woman as beautiful as his sculpture to marry. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, granted his wish and turned his sculpture into a woman. Pygmalion’s fixation on the sculpture allowed it to come to life, just as our focus on an expectation can impact the outcome in a given situation.3

The Pygmalion effect is also often called the Rosenthal effect, after one of the researchers that first demonstrated the psychological phenomenon in a study in 1968. Robert Rosenthal, a pioneer of behavioral science, along with Lenore Jacobson, a principal of an elementary school, wanted to examine whether teacher’s expectations of their students impacted their scholastic performance. They held the belief that students would internalize a teacher’s positive expectations and hold onto the belief so much so that they would actually do better in school.4

Rosenthal and Jacobson gave students at Jacobson’s elementary school an IQ test at the beginning of the school year. The teachers of these students were told that the test was being administered to predict which students would intellectually bloom over the year. Rosenthal and Jacobson then actually chose students at random and told their teachers that they had performed exceptionally well on the test, despite their actual results giving no indication that they would be intellectual bloomers.5

At the end of the study, students were given the same IQ test. While all students performed better the second time, Rosenthal and Jacobson found that those students who had been labelled intellectual bloomers had improved to a greater degree than the other students. This was especially true for first and second grade children. From these results, they concluded that a teacher expecting enhanced performance from students can actually lead to enhanced performance, especially for young children.5

Example 1 – Whole groups impact
While Rosenthal and Jacobson demonstrated a difference in performance between students who had been labelled as intellectual bloomers and a control group of students that were not, the Pygmalion effect could have occurred not because teachers thought positively about the intellectual bloomers, but because they thought negatively about the control group.2

Dr. Dov Eden, an organizational psychologist, wanted to ensure that it was in fact the positive expectations that led to improved performance. He therefore conducted a study in which a control group was completely separate from the group with high expectations.6

Eden conducted his study using platoons in the Israel Defense Force, because each platoon has its own platoon leader. The trainees were tested in four different areas: theoretical specialty, practical specialty, physical fitness, and target shooting. The former two areas are areas taught by platoon leaders, and Eden predicted these areas would be most impacted by the Pygmalion effect.

Some platoon leaders were told that their entire group showed test scores higher than the average, and that they could expect unusual achievements from their trainees. The leaders for the control group platoons were told nothing positive or negative about the potential of the trainees in their group. Every other week, the examiners had follow-up sessions with platoon leaders. For those leaders who had been told to expect high potential, examiners asked them how the potential was manifesting itself, in order to refresh expectancy induction. Tests were again conducted at the end of ten weeks.6

The results indicated that trainees in the high-expectation groups on average performed better as a group than the control groups. The difference was most significant for performance in theoretical and practical specialty, which are areas taught by platoon leaders.

From these results, Eden concluded that the Pygmalion effect can impact whole groups, not just individuals, and that it is in fact positive expectations that lead to a difference in performance.6 Additionally, because the areas that trainees showed the most improvement were ones that leaders were in charge of, and individual trainees were never told about their test scores, Eden’s study demonstrates that the Pygmalion effect will still occur even if individuals don’t know what their superior’s expectations are. This suggests that a leader changing their behavior is enough for improved performance.

Example 2 – Addiction treatment impact
Most examples and studies about the Pygmalion effect focus on its role in work and school situations. However, Dr. Hakan Jenner, a professor of pedagogy with a focus on youth substance abuse, believed it also could impact treatment, as therapists can also have expectations about their patients’ success.7

As Jenner notes, therapists often have to label and categorize their clients. They may have to indicate whether their patients are motivated or whether the treatment program is a good fit for them. Drawing from a literature review, Jenner demonstrates that the Pygmalion effect is likely to influence treatment because therapists often see motivation or willpower as the main agent that determines whether patients will succeed in treatment.7

Through his previous work, Jenner found that prior commitment to enrollment in an alcohol addiction program had little impact on whether a patient decided to continue in the program. Jenner therefore concluded that treatment factors are a more influential factor in treatment success. Jenner suggested that climate, one of Rosenthal’s four factors, was the main propagator for the Pygmalion effect in treatment. If treatment staff are positive and they cooperate with their patients because they believe they will succeed, patients are in fact more likely to succeed.

From his research, Jenner concluded that for the best possible outcomes to ensue, therapist expectation and motivation must be high, because these will lead to the Pygmalion effect.7

Summary
What it is
The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon that describes how other’s positive expectations of us can become a prophecy, as they lead to improved performance.

Why it happens
The Pygmalion effect happens because as social creatures, we are influenced by our own and other’s expectations. If we expect success from an individual, we are likely to give them greater support in order to help them achieve that success. Similarly, if we believe someone has high expectations of us, we will work harder to meet those expectations. Expectations act as a prophecy because they become motivators for hard work.

Example 1 – The Pygmalion effect occurs for entire groups
Often, when studying the Pygmalion effect, researchers create high expectations in employers and teachers for particular individuals, without isolating them from the control group. However, it has been found that the Pygmalion effect still occurs if a leader believes an entire group has higher than average potential for success, diminishing the influence of individual differences.

Example 2 – The Pygmalion effect is important for therapists
While most research surrounding the Pygmalion effect is based on school and work environments, therapists are also leaders with expectations of their patients. If a therapist believes their patient will succeed in addiction treatment, they are more likely to create a positive and supportive atmosphere, which in turn helps the patient succeed. Since the Pygmalion effect occurs in treatment, therapists need to ensure to maintain high expectations of their patients for success to ensue.

How to activate it
The Pygmalion effect leads to desirable outcomes for those individuals which are labelled as having high potential. If we are in a leadership position, like teachers, bosses, and therapists are, we should always maintain and express positive expectations because these expectations will actually impact how we treat those that we are supporting, as well as how those individuals behave.

Related articles
High-Potential Employee Programs Can Be Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. Here Are Three Ways Firms Can Avoid This Problem
In this article, Natasha Ouslis and Zad El-Makkaoui, two of our writers who both work in behavioral consulting, examine the Pygmalion effect in relation to high potential employee programs. Ouslis and El-Makkaoui discuss that while such programs are usually built with good intentions, employers have to be careful not to ignore some employees because they don’t fit into their preconceived notions of what success looks like.

Sources
HIDE
You Are Mom. (2020, May 1). Negative consequences of the Pygmalion effect on children. https://youaremom.com/children/what-should-you-know/childhood-behavior/pygmalion-effect-2/
Kierein, N. M., & Gold, M. A. (2000). Pygmalion in work organizations: A meta-analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21(8), 913-928.
Farnam Street. (2019, October 22). The Pygmalion effect: Proving them right. https://fs.blog/2018/05/pygmalion-effect/
Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Chang, J. (2011). A case study of the “Pygmalion effect”: Teacher expectations and student achievement. International Education Studies, 4(1), 198-201. https://doi.org/10.5539/ies.v4n1p198
Eden, D. (1990). Pygmalion without interpersonal contrast effects: Whole groups gain from raising manager expectations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75(4), 394-398. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.75.4.394
Jenner, H. (1990). The Pygmalion effect:. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 7(2), 127-133. https://doi.org/10.1300/j020v07n02_09

[ The Decision Lab ]


“Seven Steps for Creating Behaviour and Performance Expectations that Drive Employee Engagement”

This is the fifth in our series of articles that looks at Building a High Performance Work Environment. The full series will be available for download as a white paper once it is completed.

In the previous article we discussed the four core areas of leadership focus in high performance environments. This article will look at the seven steps that are needed to create behaviour and performance expectations that are necessary in a high performance environment.

There is very little difference between most companies that compete in the same industry. In your strategy to achieve the highest percentage of the market you need to create differentiating factors that your competitors cannot match.

While most companies focus on tangible differentiators such as price, speed, delivery, and convenience, these are all things that your competitors can match. As an effective leader, you need to create an intangible differentiator that cannot be matched by your competition — and that is your people and your culture

A high level of employee engagement (see 8 Emotional Drivers of Employee Engagement) and achieving desired behaviours is something that companies often fail to achieve. These failures lead to a lower level of performance by your team — and missed performance milestones have an impact on your company’s ability to deliver what you have promised to your customers — creating a situation where customer experience will suffer as well.

Your ability to engage people will help you meet your corporate goals. And, you will be in a stronger position to exceed what you have promised and communicated to your customers.

7 Steps for creating a high performance work environment

As a leader you are responsible to develop the company culture and work environment. Here are 7 steps you can follow to increase performance in your organization:

Identify values that guide your business: What are the core values that you want your business to be guided by? Is it collaboration? Openness? A team approach? Respect? Understand your values and communicate them to your team to set the tone for individual behaviour.

Set clear and concise expectations: You need to set the bar high if you expect high performance. Make it clear, through regular communication, what is expected and how you expect things to get done. The clearer you are on what is expected, the easier it will be for people to follow through and execute.

Expect accountability: Accountability is vital. What are the repercussions for missed performance targets? Holding people accountable for their actions will help ensure that the team performs at the level established for them.

Build a culture of trust: People need to trust that their leaders and colleagues will do as they say. When people demonstrate trust they need to be rewarded with more responsibility and autonomy in order for them to grow within the company. Conversely, your team needs to believe that when they prove they are trustworthy they will be rewarded accordingly.

Manage the Conversation: Be consistently positive and define exactly what the desired experience/culture you want to achieve is for your organization. This is accomplished through regular discussion and conversations — not special meetings. Leaders need to build ongoing dialogues with their team about culture. For this to work it cannot be a specific initiative, but rather part of daily conversations that builds over time.

Monitor outcomes: If you want to achieve a high level of performance then you need to measure it. This could be in the form of sales targets, customer satisfaction, new customers, or anything that makes sense for your business. Think about what you need your team to accomplish to achieve desired results and then measure what will drive your business.

Establish an intentional process to review/revise/reward behaviours: Create an internal process for how you will provide ongoing input with your team. How do you plan to review their performance? How are adjustments made? How are you going to reward desired behaviour? There needs to be both formal and informal process in place. A yearly review is seldom effective, especially when attempting to engage and shape behaviour internally.

These steps will help you to better frame a high performance environment for your company and determine actions that you can take to achieve a high standard for performance.

[ Bill Hogg ]


“What does the Bible say about expectations?”

Expectations can be high or low, reasonable or unreasonable, good or bad. The Bible speaks of expectations of redemption (Romans 8:19), expectations of judgment (Hebrews 10:27), delayed expectations (Proverbs 13:12a), realized expectations (Proverbs 13:12b), and unrealized expectations (Proverbs 11:7). Jesus told us to expect His return—although the timing of His return is beyond our knowing: “Be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12:40).

Simply put, expectations are beliefs that come from a person’s thought process when examining evidence. We see the eastern sky grow pink, for example, and so we expect to soon see the sun. Our expectations are not always correct because of flaws in our logic and the bias of hope and desire. Sometimes, we “get our hopes up” based on a false premise or a misreading of the evidence. Often, we form expectations automatically, without conscious effort. When expectations are not met, pain ensues, and we often place blame on something or someone who did not live up to our expectations—even if our expectations were unreasonable.

Expectations based on human assumptions can cause trouble. For example, when a man and a woman get married, they both carry expectations into the marriage. The man may see evidence that his wife is a caring, kind, and patient person. He may form expectations about what she will be like as a mother. Or perhaps his own mother was a great cook, and he expects his wife to possess the same culinary skills. If she does not turn out to be a patient mother or a particularly good cook, he may feel hurt and let down. The woman going into the marriage may see evidence that her husband has a good job and is well-liked by others. She forms an expectation that they will not likely have money troubles. Then, if he loses his job or changes careers and they begin to struggle financially, she may resent him based on her expectation. This couple is now dealing with hurt feelings and resentment based entirely on what they had hoped would happen. There was no promise made in either case, but they both still feel as if they’ve been deceived. Faulty expectations can create a lot of trouble in any relationship, be it parent/child, boss/employee, friends, ministry partners, or members of a sports team. Any time there is mutual dependency, expectations exist, and, if those expectations are not met, conflict can be the result.

Many times, expectations come from what we’re used to, our family growing up, or our own personalities. If you grew up in a family where shouting and open conflict was the normal way to resolve an issue, you will expect others to shout and be pugnacious if they have a problem with you. A person who prefers to hide emotion and talk issues out rationally may find it impossible to convince you that she’s been hurt—she’s not shouting yet, so it can’t be that serious—and you therefore continue to repeat the behavior that irritates her.

There are some people who the Bible says should not expect much. The wicked, Proverbs 11:7 says, should not expect to retain their ill-gotten gains: “When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, / and the expectation of wealth perishes too” (ESV; cf. Proverbs 10:28). Crime doesn’t pay, in other words. And the double-minded, faithless man should not expect answers to prayer: “That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7).

On the other hand, the Bible encourages those who trust in the Lord to expect good things from Him. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5, KJV). Those who live in the fear of the Lord have this promise in Proverbs 23:18: “There is surely a future hope for you, / and your hope will not be cut off.” The godly are justified in having great expectations.

The Bible lays out some principles that help us form expectations and deal with the expectations of others:

Communicate: Openness and honesty with ourselves and with others is the first key. We all fail ourselves and others in many ways (James 3:2), and we should be able to admit when we are wrong. We should not base our expectations on mere assumption (see Proverbs 18:13) but on verifiable truth, if at all possible. We should discuss with our loved ones what our expectations are and what theirs are.

Forgive: The people in Jesus’ day were expecting the Messiah (Luke 3:15), but, when He came, they had some unrealistic expectations of what He’d do. They wanted the Messiah to free them from Rome, and they wrongly expected Jesus to establish His kingdom then and there (Luke 19:11). When He did not fulfill their expectations, they were frustrated and angry enough to kill. But Jesus forgave (Luke 23:34). If Jesus could forgive the men who called out “Crucify Him!” we can forgive our loved ones and friends who harbor wrong expectations of us.

Love: Love is patient and kind, and it does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). We need to remember that all people are different. If we have formed expectations for friends or loved ones that they cannot live up to, it is not their fault. We have the power to change our expectations, and, if we find that our expectations of others are unreasonable, we should be flexible.

In everything, we should look to God and trust Him (Proverbs 3:5–6). His promises are absolutely sound, and our expectation that He will fulfill His Word is called faith. We can expect God to do exactly what He says He will do (2 Corinthians 1:20; Joshua 21:45; Psalm 77:8; 2 Peter 1:4). When based on God’s Word, our expectations will never fail to be met. “The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy” (Psalm 19:7).

[ Got Questions ]


“What Does the Bible Say About Unmet Expectations?”

Keeping Your Heart Alive

What does the Bible say about unmet expectations
1 Kings 8:17-19

Expectations and desires are such a beautiful and yet dangerous part of life. To have a dream, let alone seeing it fulfilled, creates a feeling in your heart that is essential for a meaningful life. To have desires is to have a heart that is alive. If you feel nothing, hope for nothing, never have a dream, it probably means you have lost your heart and passion for life. But how do we maintain joy when we have unmet expectations, for as the Bible says in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

The Bible Says We Must Keep Our Hearts Alive, Even With Unmet Expectations

Everyone who dares to be honest knows deep down there are strong desires in their hearts. Some may want to invent the next cure to a disease, be a mom, be a husband, or to simply make more money to provide for their family. It doesn’t take a counselor to know that if these good desires go unmet for too long, it’s totally understandable for someone to begin to lose heart, for hope deferred make the heart sick.

Although it is understandable, God does not make it excusable. He instructs through his word, “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). So we have these facts we must make sense of: It’s good to have desires, desires unmet will make the heart sick, in life there will be many desires that go unmet, and God expects us to guard our hearts so they don’t get sick. It seems these facts are on an unavoidable collision course causing us to fail and lose heart.

The Bible Says God Must Reign Over All Our Desires, Including Our Unmet Expectations

So many think the only solution to avoiding a broken heart is to put an impenetrable wall around our desires. We think to guard our hearts means to starve our hearts of dreams. But God does not instruct us to guard our hearts of all desires; he instructs us to guard our hearts so our desires are placed in the correct place – ultimately in him. 1 John 5:21 (NLT) states, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”

If David’s ultimate desire was to build God a temple, he would have been crushed when God said “no.” But God did not condemn David for this desire. He actually said that although David was not the one to build God the temple, it was good of David to have this desire. David’s desire was unmet but his heart did not grow sick. Why? Because although he desired to build a temple, this was not his main desire. His main desire was to please the Lord. God said it was good of David to have the desire to build the temple even though it would never happen because at the root of this desire was to please God.

David was acting like Jesus when he stated his desire was to not go to the cross but then followed it up with, “yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not lose his heart when his desire to avoid the cross was rejected because his truest desire was to please his Abba. Jesus brought every desire under the authority of his ultimate desire, which was to glorify his Father.

If Pleasing God Is Our Ultimate Hope, We Don’t Have to Be Crushed by Lesser Unmet Expectations

Even though every desire we have will not be met, God is happy with every desire we have that is rooted in pleasing him. Every Christian has had moments where an idea for ministry came to them and they thought it was certainly from God. But then the ministry never happened, so they think either it wasn’t from God or he is just cruel for not fulfilling it. Clarity comes to our lives when we simplify our desires down to one desire – to please God. So whether the specific dream takes place or not, we can be happy in the root desire to please him no matter how life turns out.

When pleasing God is our greatest hope, then even when the surface details don’t pan out our foundation will still remain unshaken. When David was dying and he was preparing for his son Solomon to build God the temple, David was overcome with joy. He was not sick at heart even though he would never see one of his desires fulfilled because his greatest desire was being fulfilled – God’s will being done. Notice David’s prayer for the people just before he dies:

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.” (1 Chronicles 29:17, 18)

As an old man at this point who had spent his whole life walking with God, David shared with us the secret to keeping our hearts alive even when certain desires go unmet. Unmet expectations are difficult to deal with, but when our hearts are loyal to God above every other desire, the one desire that matters the most will always be realized – pleasing God.

[ Mark Ballenger ]


“Our Expectations of Others”

At this time, you may have begun to process how your expectations of God can influence your relationship with Him. Now this may not always be negative, but when we allow our unmet expectations of God to influence our willingness to surrender our lives to Him, we can run into a serious problem.

Like we do with God, we can also place unrealistic expectations on those around us—family, friends, significant others, co-workers, the church, and so on.

So what happens when those people don’t meet our expectations? Again, how do we react?

Now I’m not saying that everyone should receive a get out of jail free card. Sometimes there are hurts that run deep. Sometimes relationships can’t be fully mended and go back to the way they were. But, that doesn’t mean that we can harbor anger, resentment, and hatefulness. As Christians, we are called to a different standard.

romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Everyone.

Now take a minute to reflect on the scripture above.

Was there a person, or a group of people, that came to your mind?

Sometimes our relationships suffer because of unmet expectations. Sometimes it’s because we don’t meet expectations that others have placed on us. Regardless of the situation, we are called to do everything within our human capabilities to live at peace with every single person.

This week, I urge you to consider a person, or a group of people, who have hurt you. Also, consider those that you personally may have hurt in the past.

Have you taken steps to mend your relationship? If not, ask God for the first step. Maybe this will entail praying on the situation, asking the person to meet, and so on.

However, if you have done everything within your power to reconcile the relationship, perhaps God is calling you away from it. If this is the case, ask God to heal your heart from feelings of spite, anger, and resentment.

Unmet expectations from those around us can be disheartening. But by letting them go, we leave room for God’s love and grace to be shown through us.

We allow others to grow into the people God has created them to be, rather than who we expect them to be.

Over the next few weeks, you can find reflections here at vineyardrichmond.com. Use them to prompt yourself to focus on your faith in a fresh way. Each week we will consider a different theme as we build up to the resurrection event. On Mondays, we will draw your attention to a biblical focus on a character in the gospel accounts. On Wednesdays, we will reflect personally on how that theme affects our spiritual lives. On Fridays, we will focus outwardly as we consider how God is inviting us to engage the world around us for his kingdom. If what you are learning is meaningful to you, click one of the share buttons at the top of these posts to share it with your friends. Let this be a time of personal reflection and careful examination of our own hearts and minds.

[ Jenna Taylor ]


“What’s Holding You Back? Unrealistic Expectations”

I believe the Bible is the most realistically positive book in existence. What I mean is, it’s not full of empty, fluffy sayings that don’t hold water in real life. Instead, the Bible is honest with us about sin and about limitations, but offers us the hope of a reconciled life, a reborn life, a redeemed life.

Anyone who believes in Jesus absolutely can do anything God calls or commands them to do. And our future is definitely bright. While the universe slowly winds down like a clock, we look forward to the renovation and refreshing of all of creation and an eternity in the presence of an ever-loving God.

The Bible tells us that we who are in Christ are more than conquerors. We are overcomers. We are winners.

Having said all of that, the Bible gives us this hopeful optimism in perfect balance with the reality that life will be hard, too. The economy will have its ups and downs. The culture will not maintain consistent values over time. The world changes. Nations and powers rise and fall. Disease and death are a part of life.

So life is hard. God is good. We win in the end.

And it’s when we forget that life can be hard that we set ourselves up for spiritual disappointment. Personally, I’m concerned with the number of accounts on social media designed to just issue a constant stream of blindly positive messages that sound personal, but really aren’t personal or trustworthy.

Your day is coming – God is already working it out! But what if his plan allows you to grow through more suffering?

Your ship is about to come in – God’s about to make a deposit! But what if you’re about to be downsized so God can birth a new dream through the discomfort?

God has a soul mate out there for you, perfectly fitted to be your one! But what if God desires that you remain single for his purposes?

I believe it’s important to believe God for his very best and to keep our faith strong, press onward, and claim all of his promises that are intended for us. But I also believe in the necessity of realistic expectations. So words of knowledge and prophecy should be tested, checked, and offered with the belief that in the end, God will do what is best for his own glory.

Jesus told his disciples,

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.

~ John 16:33 MSG

And his words ring true today. You can trust him. And when you do, you will be unshakable, even when you walk through hard, hard days. Why? Because even though you walk through temporary disappointments and setbacks, Jesus Christ has already overcome the greatest obstacles and enemies you’ll ever face.

The best thing you can do is keep following him even when the unexpected happens. He will carry you through those hard days to victory!

[ Brandon A. Cox ]


“The Case For Christianity, Unrealistic Expectations And Evidential Modesty”

223I had the great pleasure of speaking at the Reasons to Believe AMP Conference. The theme of this year’s conference was”Wisdom in Evangelism,” so I used my plenary session to talk about the nature of evidence as it is presented in criminal trials and the lessons we can apply as we make the case for Christianity. When impaneling juries, we try to identify jurors who have realistic expectations related to evidence. If you’re someone who needs a surveillance video from the crime scene before you can be certain about what happened at the time of the murder, you’re not going to be selected for any of my cases. None of the murders I work were recorded on video. If your someone who thinks that CSI technology should provide us with DNA from every available surface at the crime scene, even years after the murder occurred, you’re not going to be selected as a juror either. There’s a vast difference between the CSI technology portrayed on television shows and the CSI technology available in real life homicide investigations. In short, if your evidential expectations are too high, prosecutors are going to excuse you from jury service. Unrealistic expectations can keep you from discovering the truth. If you can’t get comfortable with the investigative, scientific and evidential limits that are part of every criminal case, you’ll never have evidential certainty about anything. All cases involve unanswered questions; each of us needs to deal with this reality unless we are prepared to be paralyzed by doubt at every turn.

If your evidential expectations are too high, prosecutors are going to excuse you from jury service. Unrealistic expectations can keep you from discovering the truth.CLICK TO TWEET

I’ve seen unreasonable expectations impact the way people view the New Testament. Bart Ehrman clearly held a view of Biblical inerrancy that crippled his opinion of the Gospels once he discovered the presence of textual variants. As an atheist coming to the text for the very first time, I reacted very differently to the alleged “contradictions” I saw in the Gospel accounts and to the discovery of scribal insertions and variants. I had already been working criminal investigations for many years and understood the nature of eyewitness accounts. I knew that witnesses seldom agreed on details of the same crime, that witnesses could be wrong about a particular detail yet still considered reliable by a jury or a judge, and that juries could arrive at proper conclusions with less than complete information. In other words, my initial evidential expectations were appropriately modest. I didn’t expect perfection and I didn’t require it. Instead, I was concerned about reliability and I understood that dependability was not reliant on perfection.

There are dangerous presuppositions that hinder investigations. My personal, dangerous presupposition was philosophical naturalism. It prevented me from exploring any reasonable explanation that might include a supernatural cause. But there’s another dangerous presupposition that many of us take for granted, and it’s just a debilitating as philosophical naturalism. We have to be careful to avoid “evidential perfectionism”. No worldview can answer every important question; no worldview is evidentially perfect. As an atheist, I could not account for the beginning of space, time and matter or the appearance of life from inanimate materials, yet I was comfortable in spite of these unanswered questions and absence of evidence. Now, as a Christian Case Maker, I recognize that it’s important to help people understand more than the nature of the evidence for the Christian Worldview. We have to first help people understand the rules that govern this evidence. It’s not about what to think, it’s about how to think. That’s why it’s important for us to help people understand that they cannot expect evidential perfection in the cases we make for theism or Christianity.

We can be certain about our conclusions, even though we have less than a perfect collection of evidence. We simply have to begin by reigning in our perfectionist presuppositions.CLICK TO TWEET

This year’s AMP Conference was the perfect place to examine both the nature of evidence and the body of evidence available to make the case for God’s existence and the truth of Christianity. I actually learned a lot from the Reasons to Believe speakers. But I also realize I’ve got to do more than collect evidence from the experts; I have to retain a reasonable expectation about what this evidence can demonstrate. There’s a reason why the standard of proof (the SOP) in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt” and not “beyond a possible doubt”. We can be certain about our conclusions, even though we have less than a perfect collection of evidence. We simply have to begin by reigning in our perfectionist presuppositions.

For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

[ J. Warner Wallace ]


“Eliminating Unrealistic Expectations”

Psalm 102:17–18
Sometimes we all feel as if our prayers lack the power to penetrate our ceilings. It seems as though our petitions fall on deaf ears and God remains unmoved or unconcerned about our passionate pleading. Why do these feelings haunt us?

There are several reasons why we are sometimes frustrated in prayer. One is that our expectations are unrealistic. This, perhaps more than any other factor, leads to a frustration in prayer. We make the common mistake of taking statements of Jesus in isolation from other biblical aspects of teaching in prayer, and we blow these few statements out of proportion.

We hear Jesus say that if two Christians agree on anything and ask, it shall be given to them. Jesus made that statement to men who had been deeply trained in the art of prayer, men who already knew the qualifications of this generalization. Yet in a simplistic way we interpret the statement absolutely. We assume the promise covers every conceivable petition without reservation or qualification. Think of it. Would it be difficult to find two Christians who would agree that to end all wars and human conflict would be a good idea? Obviously not. Yet if two Christians agreed to pray for the cessation of war and conflict, would God grant their petition? Not unless He planned to revise the New Testament and its teaching about the future of human conflict.

Prayer is not magic. God is not a celestial bellhop at our beck and call to satisfy our every whim. In some cases, our prayers must involve the travail of the soul and agony of heart, such as Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sometimes young Christians have been bitterly disappointed in “unanswered” prayers, not because God failed to keep His promises, but because well-meaning Christians made promises “for” God that God never authorized.

Coram Deo
Do you have unrealistic expectations that account for seemingly unanswered prayers? Are you treating God like a celestial bellhop?

[ R.C. Sproul ]


“The Unrealistic Expectations of Faith”
1 John 3:1-6

Last year in early August, our family was in central Florida for a few days at the start of our summer vacation. We had been there several times before but never at that exact time of the year. What immediately got our attention was just how bad the humidity is in that part of Florida at that particular time of the year. As soon as you walk outside at almost any time of day there is a heaviness that permeates the air. It is a beautiful place to be and we had a wonderful time but despite all of the good, the humidity made you feel as though you were being weighted down by something that you couldn’t see, touch or get your arms around but that was obviously there surrounding you at all times and in all places.

Sometimes, deep down, I believe that we feel a similar heaviness as Christians. What I mean by that rather odd statement is that as much as we love knowing and being known by God as well as experiencing the grace, love, forgiveness, peace and support that comes with the Family of God, there is a weightiness at times that we feel when it comes to trying to be good followers of God. Sometimes it is hard to verbalize or fully explain but there are moments when we sense that the expectations of scripture, the call of Jesus and the standards of the life of a believer that we are encouraged to live up to feel almost impossible. In such moments, we find ourselves wondering how anyone can truly exemplify the ideas of faith that the scripture at times seems to suggest. It certainly can feel like an incredibly heavy burden to bear.

I John 3 verse 6 provides a good example of this heaviness that we are talking about. It is here that John, this great writer of a good portion of the New Testament, suggests something that feels impossible to achieve. It is here that John says this, “no one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” Did you feel the weight of those words? John says in black and white for all to see – “believers don’t keep sinning…those who do continue to sin really don’t know God”. Who can live up to such lofty expectations?

Thankfully, what we sense on the surface here is not what is really below the surface once we begin to dig into this passage a little further as we learn what is really behind these words. With a little digging, we discover a couple of things very quickly. First, we discover that at several other points already in 1 John this letter has been clear that we will indeed do sin even as believers. That is a given. Likewise, at early points, 1 John has also been clear that when we do sin, God stands ready to forgive us, love us and help get us back on track.

Second, we also discover as we look beneath the surface that the Greek words being translated here do not imply a one time or singular behavior but rather an ongoing behavior. In other words, what John is saying is that God’s expectations are not related to our need to reach a point in our journey of faith where we no longer sin at all. But, rather, God’s expectation is that as believers that we will reach a point where we no longer continue to commit the same sins over and over again without any regard for their seriousness and with no desire to change. Simply put, God is not looking for perfect people. Rather, God is looking for people fully aware of their imperfections who are trying to do better and who are working hard to live changed lives.

I love watching any show on television involving the hunt for a lost treasure, fortune or historical object. I know that most of these programs are contrived, based on shaky assumptions and often have little basis in real historical truth. But, I can’t help myself, I love them anyway. There is a new series of this type that just finished its five episode run on the History Channel called The Curse of Civil War Gold. I doubt any of you are willing to admit that you watched it even if you did.

The show is built around a theory related to the end of the Civil War when Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, fled through South Georgia trying to escape Union Soldiers. According to the theory, as Davis tried to escape, he did so with a fortune in gold bars and silver coins from the Confederate treasury. According to the same theory, when Davis was caught and arrested by Union soldiers from Michigan, they took some of the gold and silver for themselves and ultimately carried the money back with them to their home state. At a later time, some of those same gold and silver pieces were said to have been lost overboard in the waters of Lake Michigan. Thus, a large portion of the show The Hunt for Civil War Gold focuses not only on the theory of this lost treasure but also on the treasure hunters and their search of the deep waters of Lake Michigan for the lost gold and silver.

Well, I hate to spoil the show for you, but, unfortunately after five episodes, they never have found any gold. Now, I know this catches you by surprise but they didn’t even find one silver coin or one bar of gold, not one – though in the last five minutes of the last episode there was a fuzzy image on the camera that they decided might just may be a gold bar after all. I certainly feel a season two on the horizon. Yet, even without the gold, the show proved a very valuable point. What appears to be a possibility on the surface and what is really lurking below the surface can be two totally different things. What we think is there and then what we find to truly be there after taking the time to investigate don’t always line up with each other.

We must never, ever forget this point as Christians.

Think about our initial reaction to John saying that Christian’s don’t sin and how troubling, concerning and impossible that feels. But then consider what is actually lying below the surface as we read I John fully or carefully understand the best way to translate these words. When we look below the surface, we find that the real idea here is not striving for a life without sin but rather for a life that is consciously aware of and serious about sin while being committed to rising about it as we seek, through God’s help, to change, grow and do better.

As I see it, there are some important things for us to remember and to live in light of through this encounter with I John 3. For one, we must always be wary of those moments when we develop an impression of the life of faith or someone gives us an idea that makes the life of faith sound impossible. Is faith challenging? Yes. Is following Jesus easy? Never. Does living for God require diligence, hard word and everything we have to give to it? Without question, it always does. But, is the life of faith an impossible way of living? No, it is not. God’s help, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the support and example of those who have gone before us and beside us make the Christian life a challenging but very achievable way to live. There are always those ready to throw up their hands and walk way from faith because they have concluded that it just isn’t realistic or possible. You may be one of those folks. If you are, don’t give up so easily, talk to someone about your struggles. Chances are that you have come to some conclusions or others have led you to some conclusions that may not be 100% accurate.

Second, I John 3 reminds us that at its very core, following Jesus is a grace based life. Again, living the life of faith is not easy . But thankfully, embedded in this journey is the God sanctioned recognition that we are imperfect and human. When we fail, not if we fail, but, when we fail, God will be there to pick us up, forgive us and help us start all over. God is not looking for perfect people. God is looking for human people, willing to do their best and willing to be acceptors of God’s grace and forgiveness when we are not at our best.

Finally, I John 3 is an excellent reminder that God is not after people who have arrived at a place of perfection but rather God is calling those to join him who are simply trying to get better each and every day. Here I think is a strong word from I John 3. These statements do imply that calling ourselves Christians and then not to caring about how we behave, how we live or how we treat others is a huge problem. We cannot say that we love Jesus and then live however we want with reckless disregard. Yet, having said that, the goal is to be growing into something more than we are not to be someone who has already arrived there. The Christian journey is a journey toward being more than we are. But, it is a grace filled, love filled, realistic journey for flawed humans like you and like me.

I had to ask someone’s forgiveness this week. Truth be told, I have to ask forgiveness on a regular basis just like you do. As I asked forgiveness, I said to the person I was speaking with, “you know, I am just a normal person like you despite what I happen to do for a living”. He laughed, agreed and said it was okay.

We are Christians. But, we are human. Please don’t forget either one of these true statements about your life or about the life of the person sitting beside you in the pew this morning. God is not calling us to no longer sin. That is a burden too heavy. God is calling us to taking sin seriously, to try to do better and to work at not making the same mistakes over and over again. This is God’s call while we lean on grace and give thanks for forgiveness every step of the way. Amen.

[ First Baptist Church Laurens ]


“The Unrealistic Expectations of God”

A popular argument against sexual purity is that human beings simply cannot control themselves sexually. “Experts” assure us with authority that because people are waiting longer than ever to get married, it is simply unrealistic to expect men and women to wait for marriage. This argument is gaining ground in Christian circles as well. A recent study reported high percentages of Christians engaging in fornication, and the Church largely just throws up its hands and admits defeat. After all, people today are postponing marriage like never before. How can we expect them to wait? There are two huge problems with this line of reasoning. First, the Holy Scriptures speak to all times, not just ancient agrarian societies, but all times, even right now. Just because we live in a much different world than when the Bible was written does not mean that God’s Word does not or cannot speak to our modern lives. The world of 2011 was anticipated by God, and modern men are still human beings created in His image who desperately need his instruction on how to live joyful lives. If the way we live makes it difficult to follow God’s law, then we should change the way we live, not abandon God’s Word. Second, I’m not so convinced that people are, in fact, getting married later than ever before. Yes, folks are getting married later than 50 years ago, but that’s a pretty myopic view of history. Human experience is much greater than just 50 years ago. My area of concentration in graduate school was Victorian England. I remember being struck right away at how old men were when they got married. Women married young, but men generally were established in their careers and owned homes before they got married. It wasn’t uncommon at all for a man to be in his thirties before marrying. Is that really so different than what we see right now? And going back another century, to the 1700s, we see the same thing. John Adams as a young man was given the common advice of the day: don’t marry young. Instead he worked hard to establish himself professionally before settling down. He was 29 before he married. Given the life expectancy of the time, waiting 29 years to marry, was waiting a very long time. But, the scientists would interject, it’s different now. We have hormones in our food that make us develop physically sooner. We are bombarded with images that make chastity impossible. Tell John Adams that it was easy for him to be chaste. His journal is filled with his struggle with women. He can’t stop looking at them, flirting with them, thinking about them, dreaming about them. He rebuked himself often for his weakness with women. It doesn’t sound like it was so easy for him. And yet, he did remain chaste. The truth is, it has always been difficult to obey God’s commands, and on this side of the Resurrection it always will be. We can’t let ourselves excuse our sin by thinking that we live in some special unique circumstances where God’s Word does not apply. Sexual chastity is not unrealistic, but it does require self-control—a word almost never uttered these days.

[ Angelina Stanford ]


“HOW CAN I COME TO TERMS WITH UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS?”

I would say that it starts with being honest, and it’s getting honest with the Lord first because, you know, I didn’t even know how deep my struggles were. I kind of thought they were normal, you know, you have the biggies that you’re dealing with in your life but then there are all these entanglements with vanity and money and desire for recognition, things you don’t even really see about yourself. So I had to get before the Lord and get honest with him and get honest with myself, and then I feel like the second step of that is getting honest with other people. Because I have found such accountability and encouragement in numbers, where women are like “oh my gosh, me too!” and you’re not so alone. But then you also see how it’s such an entanglement and so you don’t underestimate you’re own junk anymore, and you really go: okay this is deep, these are heavy chains. And then the Lord goes about fixing it.

So honesty, honestly, and talking to the Lord and to other people. I mean it’s technically the only answer there is to any struggle, and that is the Word. The Word, the Word of God. Because it’s been amazing to me that verses I’ve read my entire life that I thought were very specific in application are now applying to the way that I watch TV and how I respond to movies and how I respond to the girl in line at the grocery store. So, Scripture is what frees us and it’s, for me, the only way out.

[ Crosswalk ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8OPzweAdok


“Psalm 27: Realistic Expectations”

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling…” (v.5)

It’s a problem as people face marriage. It’s a problem as people think about the workplace. It’s a problem as couples anticipate the birth of their first child. It’s a problem as we think about our friendships. It’s a problem as people think about their life in the church. What is the problem that I’m talking about? It’s the problem of unrealistic expectations. Why do we have unrealistic expectations for all of these inescapable dimensions of human life? We have them because we don’t take seriously what the Bible has to say about the condition of the world in which we live. Here it is; sin has cast this world into trouble.

There’s no escaping it, this world isn’t functioning as it was designed to function. The Bible warns us that we’re living in a world that’s literally groaning, waiting for redemption. We live in a world where disease and death exist, neither one of which was part of the initial plan. We live in a world of deceit and disappointment, neither one a part of God’s original intention. We live in a world of rebellion and sin, neither a part of the “good” that God created. We live in a world of suffering and loss, both so far from God’s plan. We live in a world of violence and war, surely not the handiwork of the Prince of Peace. We live in a world where lust and greed motivate hearts, not what God intended the heart to do. We live in a world where all of these things touch all of our lives. No relationship is free of disappointment. No institution is totally free of corruption. No location is free of difficulty. No moment in our lives exists untouched by the fall.

Why is this so important to acknowledge? First, much of the disappointment we face is that we’ve carried unrealistic expectations into the situations and relationships of our daily lives and we do that because we’ve not taken seriously what the Bible says about the fallen world in which we all live. Here’s an example I’ve seen again and again as I’ve worked with struggling husbands and wives. Couples enter marriage not taking seriously the fact that they’re both flawed people, living in a fallen world. Because of this they don’t prepare well, as individuals or as a couple, for the difficulties of building a healthy, God-honoring relationship. Consequently, they’re caught short and unprepared as sin within and difficulty without rear their ugly heads in their marriage. Their unrealistic expectations lead to a lack of preparation, which cause them to react rather than act carefully. In the end they’re not only suffering the troubles of life in this fallen world, but also they’re suffering the fact that they’ve troubled their own trouble. All of this creates the tendency for a husband and wife to play to one another’s weaknesses instead of their strengths, instead of preparing themselves with the wisdom principles of God’s Word and seeking the enabling power of God’s grace. God’s Word is very, very honest about how broken the world we live in actually is. This honesty is God lovingly helping us to be aware and prepared as we live with one another and wait for the ultimate restoration of everything that is.

But there’s something else. Unrealistic expectations cause each of us to live more independently and self-sufficiently than we ever should. In reality, we’re all in need of daily rescuing, forgiving, and empowering grace. We need that grace because none of us is free from the presence and power of sin. This means that, moment by moment, we need to be rescued from us! We also need the grace of God so that we’ll be able to love the weak and failing people that we’re always in relationships with. But there’s something else here. The Word of God is intended to be a “lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway.” We’ll only live properly in this broken world when we’re being guided and protected by the light of its wisdom in the situations and relationships we live in every day. When I live unaware of how profound my need is and how broken my world is, I don’t hunger for the brilliant wisdom of God’s Word and I’m left to my own foolishness. And in my foolishness, I respond to things in a way that only deepens and complicates the troubles that I’m already struggling with.

You can be sure of this; your day of trouble will come. Yet, in your trouble God hasn’t left you alone. What is it that he gives you in your trouble? He gives you himself! He is what will keep you safe. He is near and he comes to you armed with transforming grace and liberating wisdom. But its vital that you live with eyes and heart open to what Scripture says to you about you and the world in which you live. If you do, you’ll live in a way that’s humble and needy, seeking the grace and wisdom that you so desperately need and that God so willingly and lovingly gives. Be realistic. Remember, there’s amazing grace for every realistic thing you’ll be called to face.

[ Paul Tripp ]


“Realistic Expectations”

“No one stood with me, but all forsook me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.”

2 Timothy 4:16-17

One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve grown older is not to expect too much from people. It’s possible to pour a good deal of energy and love into a friend or family member and see no growth or receive no gratitude for our efforts. It’s even possible that others may receive credit for the work we’ve done.

If we expect everyone to recognize and appreciate what we have done for them, we will certainly be deeply hurt. We’ll start asking ourselves: “Is this all the thanks I get?”

It’s good in those times of disappointment to look at our motives. Do we have an unholy sense of entitlement, or a passion to be seen and applauded for our efforts? Can we give freely and allow others to take responsibility for their own responses? The apostle Paul went through times in his service for the Lord when everyone forsook him. Yet his focus was on the strength that God gave him “so that the message might be preached fully” through him (2 Timothy 4:16-17).

We should never expect to gain from others what only Jesus can give. To do so is to be utterly unrealistic. Our task is simply to give and leave the results to our Master, knowing that in time we will receive His reward: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

“The service that we do for God
May go unpraised by men;
But when we stand before the Lord,
He will reward us then.” — Sper

Work done well for Christ will receive a “well done” from Christ.

[ David H. Roper ]


“Realistic Expectations Series”

Scripture: Mark 10:13-31

Denomination: Christian/Church Of Christ

Summary: The RYR approached Jesus with some expectations. Jesus also had expectations of him. The application for us is that we have expectations from God (some realistic and some unrealistic) and He has expectations of us which he will not alter.

  1. Obsession
    There was a preacher who was an avid golfer. Every chance he got, he could be found on the golf course swinging away. It was his obsession. One Sunday was a picture-perfect day for golf. The preacher was in a quandary as to what to do. The urge to play golf overcame him. He called his assistant minister and told him that he was sick and could not attend church. Then he packed up the car, and drove three hours to a golf course where no one would recognize him. Happily, he began to play the course.

An angel up above was watching the preacher and was quite perturbed. He went to God and said, “Look at that preacher. He should be punished for what he’s doing.” God nodded in agreement.

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The preacher teed up on the first hole. He swung, and the ball sailed through the air and landed right in the cup three hundred and fifty yards away; perfect hole-in-one! The preacher was amazed and excited. The angel was a little shocked. He turned to God and said, “Begging Your pardon, but I thought you were going to punish him.” God smiled. “Who’s he going to tell?”

  1. Last week we talked about our Nature and the battle within. This week we see it play out in our Expectations
  2. Mark 10:13-31
    a. Jesus’ Interaction with children – Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

b. Jesus’ Interaction with the “Rich Young Ruler” – Mark 10.17-22

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

c. Notice the RYR’s sense of expectation in his question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

I. Characteristics pf the Rich Young Ruler

A. Positive

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  1. “Wealthy” – He had options and independence
  2. “Ruler” (Luke 18.18) – Influential/Respected
  3. Moral and Trustworthy (kept commandments)
  4. Young (Matthew 19.22) – His whole life ahead of him
  5. Courage – RAN to Jesus in daylight, in public (not like Nicodemus at night)
  6. Humble – Knelt (used to people kneeling before him)

B. Negative

  1. Spiritually Incomplete – “Something is Missing”
  2. Spiritually Immature – Kept commands – What about “no other gods”?
  3. Spiritually Independent

a. “What must I do?” – How the independent fix things;

b. Better: “What Must I be?” Too many try to do what they aren’t being.

II. Unrealistic Expectations of the Rich Young Ruler (He expected an answer to his question)

A. I Get to be an Exception

  1. Jesus loved and challenged the RYR
  2. RYR kept SOME commands – what about “No other gods”?
  3. It’s not wrong to have wealth; it’s wrong to let wealth have you.

B. My Wealth Means God’s Approval

  1. If I’m good en0ough nothing bad will happen – seen in possessions and blessings
  2. What happens when things do go wrong?

C. He will Answer My Prayers My Way

  1. RYR didn’t get the answer he wanted
  2. He turned away

III. The Realistic Expectations for the RYR (and Us)

A. Love of Christ (10.31)

  1. This is the real reason for challenging him/us
  2. We are independent – UNTIL – the bottom falls out, THEN we turn to God
  3. Go & Sell; Come & Follow – We can’t have 2 Masters

B. Reality of Christ

  1. Jesus knew the man’s issue
  2. There is no cover up; no hypocrisy (acting)

C. The Truth of Christ – John 14.6; Galatians 4.16

D. Result in Blessings of What We Need More than What We Want

Summary: The RYR approached Jesus with some expectations. Jesus also had expectations of him. The application for us is that we have expectations from God (some realistic and some unrealistic) and He has expectations of us which he will not alter.

  1. Reactions in the Story:

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a. RYR was GRIEVED (and Jesus let him go)

b. Disciples were ASTONISHED (vv.23-26)

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”

c. Your reaction? Cheer for him? Feel sorry for him? If so, at what point? Shows who you are.

  1. Steps to Fulfilling the Realistic Expectations:

a. Do not Expect Fulfillment in Possessions (v. 25)

b. Expect fulfillment only from Jesus (v. 27)

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

c. Give all to Him and receive more than you imagine (vv. 28-31)

28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

  1. “To receive all God has for you, you must give all you have to God.”
  2. How are you doing with your expectations of God and God’s expectations of you?

[ Perry Greene ]


“Realistic Expectations”

The mission of Church of the Redeemer is to communicate this wonderful news of Jesus Christ. We are a church who believes in the power of God’s Word to change lives. We value the practical application of His Word to make a difference in who we are and what we do.

[ Dale O’Shields ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcmQuOnWKVI


“Understanding Suffering”

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4).

Christian or not, suffering remains an inevitable result of living in this world. Human beings often find themselves asking “why?” any time they encounter a terminal illness, a child with birth defects, unjust imprisonment, or any other such tragedy. Non-Christians have offered several answers to this question, and it is helpful to examine some of them since these replies can influence us. Some non-believers adopt a docetic view of suffering, which denies the reality of pain altogether. Suffering is merely an illusion in this view. The docetic view is held by the Christian Science cult, and it has many affinities with the teachings of Eastern religions. Our culture has embraced the hedonistic view of suffering more than any other. This worldview seeks to reduce pain and acquire pleasure, at any cost. To dull their physical and emotional pain, men and women turn to sexual infidelity, illegal drugs, gluttony, and other sinful behaviors believing that “if it feels nice, don’t think twice.” The stoic view of suffering says that we have no control over what happens to us externally. All we can do is choose how we will respond internally; the goal here is to let nothing bother us. We should do our best “to keep a stiff upper lip” and to “let nothing get us down.” Evangelicals have probably been most affected by the stoic view. Regrettably, we are often prone to minimizing the reality of our grief and will act as if the proper way to face suffering is to pretend nothing of any consequence has happened. But this is not the approach of Jesus; after all, John recorded that He wept (John 11:35). It is not sinful to mourn the loss of a loved one or to admit our pain. Christians ask God “why?” when we suffer, and sometimes we find that it results from the Lord’s discipline (Heb. 12:3–17). However, Job’s life shows us suffering is not always due to our sin. And as with Job, God may not tell us the “why” of our pain in every case. God is not obligated to give us the reason for our suffering. Still, whether He is disciplining us or not, we know He is always with us in our pain (Ps. 23:4) to use our suffering for good, redemptive ends and to bring glory to Himself (Rom. 8:28).

CORAM DEO Living before the face of God

The Lord never tells His people that they will not suffer. This is all the more important to remember in the midst of a culture that wants instant gratification and believes it is a divine right to avoid pain and have a comfortable life. Knowing that suffering will surely come encourages us to look for God’s presence in our troubles. For as we see in today’s passage, we can be assured that He is with us even as we go through the darkest times.

[ Ligonier Ministries ]


“Suffering as a Christian”

When we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ read the Word of God with faith, we are pulling down the very power of heaven to bear on our earthly trials. Because the Word of God is pure and true, we can trust it with our lives: “By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God speaking therein” (Westminster Confession of Faith 14.2). The Word of God calls us to “act differently . . . yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come” (WCF 14.2).

First Peter 4:12–19 is written in the rhetorical style of paraenesis—it offers strong encouragement to press on even when it hurts and to not change course because of intense suffering that we will experience. This strong exhortation pushes believers to grow into mature saints. In this passage, Peter commands us to do things that we cannot do without the Lord’s grace: to face the fiery trial with expectation that we will suffer (v. 12); to rejoice in the midst of suffering (v. 13); to interpret the slander that comes our way because of our strong stance for the Christian faith as a blessing from God Himself and a proof of the Spirit of glory resting upon us (v. 14); to mortify all sin and all potential sin, especially murder, robbery, and meddling (v. 15); to glorify the name of God in our words and our deeds as we suffer for the faith (v. 16); to expect God’s hard and rebuking judgment upon the nation to start with the church (v. 17); to realize that, as John Calvin puts it, we can arrive in heaven only after escaping a thousand deaths on earth (what Peter calls being “scarcely saved”). And if all this isn’t enough, God expects us to continue in doing good works in the midst of this agony (v. 19). Written to suffering Christians who are covenant members of a faithful and visible church, belonging to the church and to one another (vv. 1–11), 1 Peter 4:12–19 raises an important question: Why does a God who loves us as a gracious Father want us to suffer for the name of Christ?

While it seems like a paradox, God’s good purpose for our Christian suffering isn’t found in its lonely agony. God uses our Christian suffering for the building up of believers, for the purifying of the church, and for the spreading of the gospel. Peter warns us that suffering “tries” our faith—but it doesn’t ruin our faith. Trials allow us to partake in the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10, KJV). And trials reveal how union with Christ is central to our faith. John Owen calls union with Christ the logical priority of all other graces. Spiritual, unbreakable, irreplaceable, and eternal, our union with Christ means that Christ redeems our future and heals our past through the trials that are lovingly and providentially handed to us by God Himself, and that through thick and thin, He will never leave us or forsake us.

Believers suffer with eyes glued on Christ.

Peter commands us to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13). We do not rejoice as masochists or as Nietzsche’s Übermensch (whose extraordinary giftedness puts him above the law and enables him to soar over life’s difficulties). Believers suffer with eyes glued on Christ. As we bear our cross of suffering for Christ, we marvel at what Christ endured for us. We ask ourselves, in the words of Thomas Case:

If the chips of the cross are this heavy, what was the cross itself? If my bodily pains are so bitter, what were the agonies the Lord sustained in his soul? If the wrath of man is so piercing, what must the wrath of God be? By our sharing the remainders of his cross, which he has bequeathed to us as a legacy . . . we are able to guess at what we cannot understand.

The believer’s lot is his chosen portion from God (see Ps. 16:5). Christ is our Savior and also our pattern, and our legacy and identity as Christians will reflect the cross.

Reformation always begins in the church, and for this reason, Peter tells us that judgment begins at the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Peter is saying not that only the household of God will face God’s judgment but rather that calamities on whole nations generally begin with God’s own people (Isa. 10:12; Jer. 25:29; Ezek. 4:6). The privilege of being a follower of Christ comes with responsibility. Judgment begins with the household of faith, but it ends when God pours out His wrath on the wicked. Calvin reminds us that we do not want to be like calves fattened for the slaughter, enjoying the comfort of today that secretly carries with it the judgment of tomorrow. Because intense suffering prompts sin, repentance unto life prepares our spirits to bear trials.

Therefore, “those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19). Peter paints the contrast starkly: the ungodly can trust only in riches, strength, and princes. The Puritan David Clarkson says, “Riches are uncertain, unsatisfying, insufficient, limited, and deceitful.” In contrast: “God is unchangeable, satisfying, all sufficient, and faithful. Strength is vain. God is omnipotent. Princes are trembling, broken reeds. God is the rock of ages.” God and God alone will faithfully keep us and protect us through all our trials. Matthew Henry reminds us, “It is not the suffering, but the cause that makes the martyr.”

Peter’s checklist style asks us to look closely at our own lives: Are we covenant members of a faithful church? Are we pressing on in the midst of suffering, enduring slander or worse for the cause of Christ? This strong medicine for our weak and wandering faith will prepare us faithfully for the days ahead.

[ Dr. Rosaria Butterfield ]


“A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”

A well-known writer once wrote, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and in earth’ is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

Ask any marathon runner — it’s that seemingly endless run, that tiring stretch in the middle when you either collapse or courage kicks in. And when your second wind surges you forward, you realize afresh that continuing on instead of giving up makes life worth living.

For me, that tiring stretch happened in 2010 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. A mastectomy. A lengthy recovery. A long regimen of chemotherapy that weakened my lungs. For a quadriplegic in her sixties, this felt like too much.

Yet I had not come this far to cave in now. So whenever a health care worker approached my bedside in the hospital — to draw blood, to infuse chemo, to run scans — I would give them a jam book. Or a gospel tract. Or an inspirational pamphlet. Anything to make the most of the opportunity to make Jesus real to others. Every time I shared the good news of Jesus, I felt courage kick in.

Despite this dreaded disease, I had no fear of the future. Psalm 112:1, 6-8 (NLT) was a mainstay: “How joyful are those who fear the LORD . . . Such people will not be overcome by evil . . . They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” I learned to live it out every day in the hospital and the chemo clinic.

I viewed my struggle against cancer through the lens of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph said to his wicked brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Most people gloss over that last part about the saving lives, but not Ken and me. God allows awful things to happen so that our affliction might turn out for “the saving of many lives,” whether the lives of surgeons, oncologists, nurses, lab technicians, or people in the waiting room. This hope made my long marathon with a fearsome disease brim with purpose.

When I finished my last round of chemotherapy, I was again heartened by these lines from Eugene Peterson. He describes Paul as a “scarred veteran . . . [who] has visited the extremes.” Then he adds, “And what he knows is that what God has done within him is far more important and lasting and real than anything that could be done to him from the outside.” Cancer showed me that circumstances do not define your character; they reveal and refine it. Little did I know that my cancer would return in 2018 in a more aggressive form. The hardest part about this new cancer battle was the thirty- three rounds of radiation that damaged the edges of my lungs, making it even more difficult to breathe. I named the massive radiation machine “Jael,” after the heroine in the book of Judges who ruthlessly drove a stake through the head of the commander of the Canaanite armies, saving God’s people. To me, it was a perfect metaphor to describe the rays that obliterated the enemy cancer cells. I know it sounds odd, but it helped to think of the 3D conformal radiation machine as my ally, not my enemy.

Nevertheless, people wrote, “Joni, isn’t God giving you too much? What possible good could outweigh all of this suffering?” This made me think. Countless Scriptures assure us that God will only do good, not harm, to us, including Jeremiah 32:41 and Psalm 84:11. I’m guessing many of you know this famous promise in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah wrote these words to encourage the Judean exiles being dragged off to Babylon as slaves. Their immediate future did not look bright or hopeful.

But the promise revealed God’s ultimate purpose. His people were to remain hopeful that one day all their suffering would end. In the meantime, the children of God would experience the sunshine of his sovereignty through a deepening faith, scarred and seasoned wisdom, profound peace, settledness of soul, and the ironfisted trust honed and hammered out by walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Like the exiles, we are living in a foreign country, and like them, we can showcase to a skeptical and unbelieving world that God is worthy of our supreme trust.

This is the “good” that God is talking about in the Bible. Through His grace, awful things ultimately produce good in our souls. For God is more interested in the advancement of the soul than the body. My long struggle against two cancers showed me that God is more interested in my character than my comfort.

And I love Him for that.

[ Joni Eareckson Tada ]


“Suffering”

The well-known author, speaker, and quadriplegic shares her insight into the role of suffering in our lives.

[ Life Today – Interviews Joni Eareckson Tada ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7EcUdUoPTQ


“Perseverance in Suffering”

“Suffering is intended to make our souls brave.”

It’s a broken world. We all have weaknesses and limitations. Disability. Illness. Loneliness.

[ Joni Eareckson Tada ]

Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZvCE3m4OLM


“Joy Despite Suffering”

A woman rendered a quadriplegic for 55 years shares the truths she has learned through tremendous suffering.

[ Life Today – Interviews Joni Eareckson Tada ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJI0oJuFt-U


“Theology of Suffering”

Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, discusses the theology of suffering. She encourages us by explaining how suffering can be redeemed in a manner that glorifies God.

[ Joni Eareckson Tada ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejbHemlrbU4


“Why does God allow suffering? No arms, no legs- God’s plan!”

This video is for the education and inspiration of RE students. For the Edexcel Philosophy and Ethics you need to consider how Christian’s respond to suffering. Nick Vujicic is possibly the most inspirational Christian alive today. Nick is a Christian evangelist and motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs. He believes that God’s plan was for him to be born with no arms and legs in order to reveal God’s love to people. Nick quotes John Chapter 9: ‘As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ Subscribe to Nick to find out more. Subscribe to Above Inspiration for more great stories

[ Nick Vujicic ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU4QSZgFCjA


“Inspiring man born without arms or legs”

In 2008, reporter Peter Overton met the inspirational Nick Vujicic. Born without arms or legs, this incredible Australian has defied all odds to become a successful motivational speaker. Nick spends his time spreading a message of hope all over the world – it’s a message that 60 Minutes will never forget and we guarantee you won’t either.

[ 60 Minutes Australia – Nick Vujicic ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJnJ_fTYofQ


“Blessed Are Those Who Persevere”

For more information about Life Without Limbs

[ Nick Vujicic ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4OCId7gBmk


“Step Out in Faith”

Step Out in Faith by Nick Vujicic
Morning Service May 19, 2013
CCF Center

[ Nick Vujicic ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ6YJFfjxrM


“Grasping the Truth of Romans 8:28 Will Change Our Perspective on Suffering”

One of the most arresting statements in Scripture is this one: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). Different translations of this passage suggest different nuances: for those who love God, “all things work together for good” (ESV, KJV); “in all things God works for the good” (NIV); “God causes all things to work together for good” (NASB). In each case there’s an omni-inclusiveness in “all things.”

The context of this passage shows that in the midst of a world that groans under suffering and evil, God’s main concern is conforming His children to the image of Christ. And He works through the chal­lenging circumstances of our lives to help develop that Christlikeness in us. We can be assured that whatever difficulty He has allowed in our lives has been Father-filtered, through His fingers of wisdom and love.

Todd DuBord pastors Mt. Lassen Community Church in Chester, California. Todd and his wife Tracy become dear friends of Nanci’s and mine over the years, and in 2019, we did an interview for his church together about suffering. Todd recently did a sermon on how to think about suffering, and shared a clip of me talking about Romans 8:28 and why God allows us to experience suffering:

Perhaps the greatest test of whether we believe Romans 8:28 is to identify the very worst things that have happened to us, and then ask if we believe that, in the end, God will somehow, truly use them for our good. Do I actually believe that’s true of everything, including His decision to not heal Nanci and to not prevent her from dying from cancer? Yes, I actually do. So did Nanci and so does Nanci now, more than ever. My pain in missing her is great, but while our relationship has been interrupted, it absolutely has not ended.

A few mornings ago I read the wonderful interaction between Jesus and Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died. It spoke to my head and heart, and I hope it does to yours:

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha believed it, not understanding all it entailed. I too believe it today, three weeks since Nanci’s life ended in this present world under the Curse and began in a world that cannot be touched by sin and death. I believe it more than I ever have because for four years I had a front row seat in beholding how a faithful and loving God tenderly used my wife’s sufferings, which were sometimes intensely painful for both of us, to deepen her trust in Jesus and to increase her love for Him, and my love for Him and her. I feel like I have just seen a four-year miracle unfold. The pain is still raw, but the joy comes in waves to overwhelm it.

I can relate to the perspectives of Malcolm Muggeridge, who reflecting on his long life, wrote,

Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained.

[ Randy Alcorn ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUKBevv-dgc


“12 Reasons Why YOU Will Be Persecuted”

Wretched TV and Radio are hosted by Todd Friel. On the show, you will see and hear live witnessing encounters, discussions of tough theological issues, and christian commentary on current events. We might even make you laugh.

[ Todd Friel ]

Commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gePkJXzveg

Resource: https://shop.wretched.org/persecution-streaming-2/


<<< SONGS >>>


Expectation

VERSE 1
Whether we come with words of praise and thankfulness
Whether we come with hearts of hurt and heaviness
Jesus always as we enter this place

CHORUS
We come with expectation come with celebration
Come anticipating what You hold in store
And we come with hearts wide open
Come with a holy hope in what You’ll do
As we come through these doors we come with expectation Lord

VERSE 2
Lord we want to be changed by the pow’r of Your Word and the Spirit of truth
Lord don’t let us leave us the same make us more like You
Jesus always find us seeking Your face as we come

BRIDGE
We come with worship and we come with praise
We come believing You will meet us in this place

[ Don Poythress ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ELW35HPqII


Great Expectations

The morning finds me at heavens door
A place I’ve been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases that I know so well

But dare I go where I don’t understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I’ve been invited as a son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations

So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I’m trustin’ in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I’ve been invited with the Son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and
We’ve been invited with the Son
And we’ve been invited to come and

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations

[ Steven Curtis Chapman ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwG2gNFRqTw


Great Expectation

For I know the plans that I have for you saith the Lord
And I know the thoughts that I think towards you declares the Lord
For I know the plans that I have for you saith the Lord
And I know the thoughts that I think towards you declares the Lord

Thoughts of peace, not of evil Plans to prosper, not to harm you
Give u hope and a future Now you can have Great Expectations

Inside of me, I do believe
I have, Great Expectations

[ J.J Hairston ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KIraM31aQg


Expectations

[Verse 1]
Broken hearts and wounded souls
Pickup the pieces and make us whole again
Oh God of mercy
Heal our hearts and heal our souls
Fill us with Your spirit God
We’re tasty for You

[Chorus]
Our hearts are open wide to You we’re here with expectations Your promises never failing fill our mouths with testimonies

[Verse 2]
Burdened hearts cry out to You
Wipe our tears and make us strong again
We’re desperate for You
All our hopes and fairs on You
Embrace us with Your arms of love
Oh God of mercy…

[Bridge]
Your spirit is wolverine over us
Our hearts are filled with joy and peace
Your presence is here let Your kingdom come
We’re songs and daughters by Your grace

[ Emmanuel Yuwel ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=722aoFunSbo


<<< APOLOGETIX SONGS >>>


Doubt Is Not Allowed
(Parody of “Shout It Out Loud” by Kiss)

Well, you might be young — but you want wisdom
If you seek you’re gonna find it (seek you’re gonna find it)
You’ve got to read in James in Chapter 1
And don’t be too double-minded (don’t be too double-minded)
Look up in Matthew what did Jesus say
When they rescued Peter in the boat
We can’t do it when we got no faith
If it’s water that you walk on, bro — whoa-oh-whoa-oh!

Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed

If you don’t feel good — there’s no way you should
‘Cause sin is where your heart is (sin is where your heart is)
Call on His name, read His favorite book
And get your Father’s pardon (get your Father’s pardon)
Don’t let them tell you that’s a human voice
When you know you hear the Son of Man
Through faith is how He saves all girls and boys
From the time of even Abraham — yay-eh-yah-eh and

Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed

Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
Look up in Matthew 14
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
31’s the “doubt verse”
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
And 21 verse 21
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
Oh yeah
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
And we can move a mountain
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
If everybody doesn’t doubt
Doubt is — doubt is — doubt is not allowed
Ohhhhhhh!

[ ApologetiX – “Very Vicarious” album ]


Expected to Love
(Parody of “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer)

Your rights are wronged, but your Ride Home
Says, “You’re Mine — you’re not your own”
Your heart frets, your body shakes
You know that this was no mistake

You can’t speak (whoa-oh) through clenched teeth
There’s no doubt — you’ve been grieved
You’re so uptight — you can’t believe
You must forgive your enemies

Whoa-oh-oh
You like to think that you don’t do stupid stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you ain’t good enough
You know, you’re gonna have to face it
You’re expected to love

There’s famous lines that you can read
They start in Matthew 5:43
You want peace in troubled times
Get over this and you’ll be fine
Without that mind you can’t be saved
Forgiving others as God forgave
But there’s something more in Luke
6:29 for you too

Whoa-oh-oh
You like to think that you don’t do stupid stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you ain’t good enough
You know, you’re gonna have to face it
You’re expected to love

He writes in John — the world will know
You’re His — by love you’ve shown
The bar’s set by Jesus Christ
In John 13, verse 35

Ohh oohh
You like to think that you don’t do stupid stuff, oh yeah
Romans 12:14 through 20 and 21
You know, you’re gonna have to face it
You’re expected to love

You might as well face it — you’re expected to love
REPEAT 7X

[ ApologetiX – “From Hair to Eternity” album ]


Killing My Suffering With His Son
(Parody of “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack)

Coming to pay for my failures
Saving my life with His Word
Killing my suffering with His Son
Killing my suffering with His Son
Filling my whole life with His Word
Killing my suffering with His Son

I heard He sent us His Son
I heard but had my doubts
And so I came to see Him as lessons for a child
But there He was, this one voice
That stayed there through my life

CHORUS

I failed to trust in Jesus
Embarrassed, blind, and proud
Until I found His letters and read each one out loud
I prayed that He’d forgive me
And He just kept right on

CHORUS

It seemed as if He knew me
In all my darkness there
And when things looked quite gloomy With Him I wasn’t scared
When we accept our savior
He won’t steer us wrong

CHORUS

Oh oh-oh — oh-oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh
La la la — la la — oh oh-oh whoa oh-oh
La ah ah — ah ahhhhh — la ah-ah ah-ah-ah-ah

CHORUS

He was coming to pay
Yeah, He was saving my life
Killing my suffering with His Son
Killing my suffering with His Son
Filling my whole life with His Word
Killing my suffering with His Son

[ ApologetiX – “Quilt” album ]


Doubter
(Parody of “Daughter” by Pearl Jam)

An old Christian
Gets mislabeled as a doubter, but did you know
He suffered – violence
Went around the world for missions, but
Thomas briefly doubted
Christ was resurrected
Christ forgave his … doubts
His name goes down in history
Tainted, though
Yet he died a martyr, so

Don’t call me doubter – not fair to
The scripture text will remind me
Don’t call me doubter – not fair to
That’s in the past and behind me
Don’t call me

He rose again — they alllllll had doubts
They would – rise above
Woooo oooh

Don’t call me doubter – not fair to
The scripture text will remind me
Don’t call me doubter – not fair to me
That’s in the past and behind me
Don’t call me doubter – not fair to
The scripture text will remind me
Just call me martyr – I dared to preach
To skeptics — that killed me finally
Don’t call me

His name goes down
His name goes down
His name goes … goes
Goes

[ ApologetiX – “Only a Glorified Cover Band” album ]


Suffering’ Just Finished
(Parody of “Suffragette City” by David Bowie)

Haman, oh, he was the one, you know
Haman, who wouldn’t let us alone
I got to say man — that guy would spit in my face
That fellow was sick; he could’ve wiped out our race
Haman, was cruel and insane — Haman, he was kind of vain
Haman, conceived a terrible plan
But Esther was the queen and then she — avenged it

So hang it on Haman cause his plan was surely wicked
I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
That mean, grumpy man was an ancient kind of bigot
But now our sufferin’ just finished — ‘cause genocide — is not right

Haman, oh when he saw Mordecai, he say
“Hey man, I can’t wait till he dies, O.K.”
Haman — said “Jews, they won’t last here”
He thought that Jews were scum, but Esther’s one, so he’s done

So hang it on Haman cause his plan was surely wicked
I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
The queen took a stand ‘cause this ain’t no time for chickens
I’m glad she’s lovely and pretty — and Mordecai — is all right

Oh Esther!

So hang it on Haman cause his plan was surely wicked
I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
That mean, grumpy man was an Agagite and a bigot
But now our sufferin’ just finished
Yeah, the king caught Haman and his end was sorta sickenin’
He had to punish him quickly
The queen took a stand ‘cause this ain’t no time for chickens
I’m glad she’s lovely and pretty — ‘cause genecide — ho,it’s not right
Our sufferin’ just finished, our sufferin’ just finished
I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished, I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
Woo! I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
Woo! I’m glad our sufferin’ just finished
Hoo ha! I’m glad our glad our sufferin’ just finished! Hoo ha!
Don’t forget!

Ahhhh … wham bam, hang Haman!
Our sufferin’ just finished — our sufferin’ just finished — I’m all right
Our sufferin’ just finished — cool fine — our sufferin’ just finished
Ow! Our sufferin’ just finished — Ow! Our sufferin’ just finished
Ow! Our sufferin’ just finished — Ah, don’t forget
Don’t forget!

[ ApologetiX – “Rare, Not Well Done” album ]


Not Named Job
(Parody of “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger)

Just take that old Bible off the shelf
I’m sick of feelin’ sorry for myself
Today’s problems might be bad but even so
I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job

Job was righteous man with lots of wealth
He had a family and perfect health
But circumstances got beyond his control
I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job

I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job
That kind of sufferin’ would kill my soul
When I start gettin’ down and feelin’ low
I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job

He lost his family, he lost his sheep
He lost his animals, his friends were creeps
He lost his temper, man, but not his control
I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job

CHORUS

Call it a fable, but I know it’s true
Say I’m old-fashioned but I’ll say this to you
I’m just so awful glad it happened long ago
I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job

CHORUS

CHORUS

I thank the Lord that I’m not named Job
That kind of sufferin’ would kill my soul
When I start gettin’ down and feelin’ low
I thank the Lord that my name is Job — not!

[ ApologetiX – “Rare, Not Well Done” album ]


Get Serious

J. Jackson talks about ApologetiX’s mission: “To reach the lost and teach the rest,” and that they take the Bible VERY SERIOUSLY!

(Video is audio only)


<<< DEEP THOUGHTS >>>


“Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.”
[ Tony Robbins ]

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
[ Bruce Lee ]

“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”
[ JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE ]

“The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations”
[ Eli Khamarov ]

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
[ Paulo Coelho ]

“I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.”
[ Fritz Perls ]

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportions to my expectations.”
[ Michael J. Fox ]

“Expectation is the root of all heartache”
[ William Shakespeare ]

“Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
[ Anonymous ]

“The key in letting go is practice. Each time we let go, we disentangle ourselves from our expectations and begin to experience things as they are.”
[ Sharon Salzberg ]

“Peace begins when the expectation ends.”
[ Buddha ]

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

“People know themselves much better than you do, That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.”
[ Maya Angelou ]

“Set the standard! Stop expecting others to show you love, acceptance, commitment, & respect when you don’t even show that to yourself.”
[ Steve Maraboli ]

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportions to my expectations.”
[ Anonymous ]


RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

EXPECTATIONS

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 10:28
The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Proverbs 23:18
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Psalm 62:5
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Acts 3:5
And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.

Philippians 1:20
As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Proverbs 24:14
Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Joshua 1:7-16 ESV / 148 helpful votes
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’” …

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Ephesians 3:20
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Job 22:28
You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Mark 11:23
Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Ezekiel 37:1-28
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. …

Proverbs 11:23
The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

Mark 9:23
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Romans 8:19
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

1 Corinthians 13:3
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Matthew 24:1-51
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. …

Luke 12:48
But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Proverbs 11:7
When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

Hebrews 10:26
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

Isaiah 30:21
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Luke 3:15
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Acts 3:1-7
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. …

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 1:12
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

1 Corinthians 11:1-34
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. …

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Acts 3:1
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Psalm 9:18
For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; …

Titus 2:13
Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Luke 12:40
You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Acts 17:10-11
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Matthew 24:3
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”

1 Corinthians 13:13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Luke 21:26
People fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Matthew 24:2
But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Isaiah 20:5
Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Matthew 24:44
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Revelation 1:1-20
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood …

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Hebrews 10:27
But a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Acts 3:2
And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.

Matthew 24:50
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know

Jeremiah 31:1-40
“At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. …

Genesis 12:3
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Ezekiel 36:1-38
“And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy said of you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The ancient heights have become our possession,’ therefore prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God: Precisely because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around, therefore thus says the Lord God: Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey. …

Isaiah 20:6
And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

Revelation 1:1
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Zechariah 9:5
Ashkelon shall see it, and be afraid; Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish; Ekron also, because its hopes are confounded. The king shall perish from Gaza; Ashkelon shall be uninhabited;

Lamentations 3:18
So I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”

Psalm 5:3
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Job 41:9
Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him.

Mark 15:43 s
Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Matthew 24:21
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

Acts 12:11
When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Acts 3:4
And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”

John 14:16
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

Acts 3:7
And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

Luke 1:37
For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Mark 16:1-20
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. …

Matthew 24:6
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Matthew 24:24
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:4
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.

Genesis 2:24
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

1 Peter 1:8-12
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 24:22
And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 1:1-31
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. …

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

James 5:14-15
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Psalm 40:6
In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Peter 3:1-22
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, …

1 John 1:8
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Romans 6:4
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Ephesians 4:13
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

SUFFERING

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Romans 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Romans 5:3-4
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Philippians 1:29
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

2 Corinthians 4:17
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

1 Peter 4:1
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

Romans 8:35
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Peter 3:14
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

Isaiah 53:4
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. …

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

2 Corinthians 1:5
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

1 Peter 2:21
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Matthew 10:38
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

1 Corinthians 13:3
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:28-29
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Matthew 5:10-12
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Deuteronomy 8:3
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Matthew 10:39
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 27:28-29
And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Romans 5:3
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

Job 1:20-21
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 119:71
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:67
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.

2 Corinthians 12:7
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

1 Peter 2:19-21
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Psalm 22:1-31
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. …

1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

Psalm 23:1-6
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …

Psalm 119:50
This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.

Acts 26:22-23
To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Job 5:17
“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

Acts 5:41
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

1 Peter 2:19
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

John 9:1-3
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Hebrews 12:11
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Romans 8:17-18
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Acts 14:22
Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Luke 16:23-24
And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

Romans 8:3
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

John 18:11
So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Revelation 2:10
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

2 Timothy 1:8
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:17
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Hebrews 9:26
For then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Matthew 10:22
And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

John 15:19
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

1 Peter 3:17
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

1 Peter 4:16
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

2 Timothy 2:3
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Psalm 34:20
He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

Mark 13:13
And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Matthew 26:39
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Romans 16:20
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. …

Acts 17:10-11
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Matthew 16:21-23
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Revelation 1:1-20
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood …

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Job 36:15
He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.

Matthew 4:24
So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

John 9:2-3
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Hebrews 4:14-15
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.


A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and receive ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]


Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing. I would like to give credit where credit is due!


<<< FOCUS VERSES >>>


“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
[ Psalm 5:3 ]

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in You.”
[ Isaiah 26:3 ]

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
[ Isaiah 40:28b-31 ]

“a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
[ Isaiah 61:3 ]

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
[ Matthew 7:7 ].

“Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
[ Matthew 11:3 ]

And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
[ Matthew 11:6 ]

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
[ Matthew 11:28 ]

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
[ Matthew 22:37-40 ]

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
[ Mark 11:24 ]

“If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.”
[ Luke 6:34-35b ]

“’What must we do to do the works God requires?,” He answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
[ John 6:28-29 ]

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
[ John 14:14 ]

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
[ John 15:18 ]

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.”
[ John 16:33 ]

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
[ Romans 8:28 ]

“We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
[ 1 Timothy 6:7-8 ]

“Knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
[ 1 Peter 5:9 ]


If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes and inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

Mark

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