From the time we are young children, we are pushed with ideas of what a perfect family, perfect marriage, or perfect life looks like. Movies, books, childhood fantasies, and the relationships in our own lives; all create the underlying expectations being set within one’s subconscious. Some, if not most, of these expectations come from a place of deception and are setting our future selves up for failure.
If you do a quick study on the psychological development of children you will see that the interactions and life experience’s from the time we are born and through-out our life are what form our inner thoughts, expectations, and plays a large role in our decision making process.
When we are just infants, new to the world, we know nothing about anything including; who we are or how life works. As we grow our life experiences and personal knowledge begins to form our thoughts, our belief system, our passions, our expectations, and our worldview.
As most of you know, not all of these experiences and relationships are positive and/or healthy examples of the type of people we want to be or should be, but regardless of their toxicity, they still subconsciously take on a life of their own and create unhealthy expectations within our life.
These harmful expectations can seep in to all areas of our life; effecting us emotionally, mentally, and physically. This in return has a direct effect on things like; our marriage, our family, our self-image, and even our relationship with God.
For us to create healthy expectations for ourselves and others; we must first identify the areas in which we struggle with unhealthy ones. We have to be more self-aware and less of the finger pointing type.
When we begin to notice a pattern in a specific area of our life that is continually proving to be a problem, instead of getting angry or disappointed that we feel like someone or something has not met our expectations; we should instead ask ourselves if our expectations are truly reasonable and where this expectation originates from.
Regardless if we think the expectation(s) are for our own good or not, we must evaluate where we adapted them from. Do these expectations come from a healthy, truthful, and realistic place or are they coming from a place of hurt, anger, disappointment, or even what we believe to be a place of protection?
Having unhealthy, unrealistic expectations such as expecting our spouse to make us happy, expecting to feel ‘in love’ all the time, expecting your family to never argue, expecting that you will always succeed, expecting to never feel hurt or disappointed, expecting for change to occur instantaneously, and the list could go on.
The fact is having unrealistic or unhealthy expectations is common. However, choosing to recognize them and make adjustments is not so common.
“Why?” you might be thinking.
Well, one reason is that it comes from another unhealthy expectation created by a misguided thought pattern that says you are perfect just the way you are, be you and don’t let anyone tell you differently, everything is the ‘oppressor’ besides the actual oppressor of sin and our sinful choices.
This causes us to subconsciously or consciously hold on to the idea that it is not us that needs to change but someone else who needs to change or adjust to meet our expectations.
Lies! It is all lies!
I ‘bought in’ to so many of the lies and I am daily discovering new areas of unhealthy expectations I have on not only myself, but my husband, my children, and in other area’s in my life.
I share this with you because until I completed a bible study that used a wife’s unhealthy expectation of her husband and her overreaction to his inability to meet the expectation as an example, I never once considered the idea that my expectations could be unhealthy.
I have known there is plenty of room for me to grow, learn, and change; I am always working on that; but my expectations were never on the radar.
Now they most certainly are and I can tell you that looking within and trying to understand what my expectations are and why I have them has truly opened up many doors for growth and healing.
As you face each expectation problem area, seek guidance from God to help you replace these expectations with healthy ones. Read scripture in the Bible that pertains to the area in which you are struggling.
The Bible is the ultimate fact checker. It holds so much wisdom, knowledge, instruction, and warnings among many other things. The Word of God should be the foundation on which we build each expectation for our life, knowing that we are building upon the rock of Jesus Christ and allowing His powerful Word to lead us, guide us, change us, heal us, and help us set healthy expectations built upon the truth.