With high expectation comes great disappointment.

I came across variations of this quote today and it sent me down a long and winding memory late.

I feel rattled.

But why? I’m struggling to understand…

On the one hand, I want to believe it. If I adjust my expectations then I either won’t feel disappointed, or the disappointment won’t affect me negatively.

On the other hand, I pride myself in feeling great emotions, giving my all to people who matter to me, put my best effort into activities I’m assigned to do or choose to follow. Sometimes, the end result is disappointment. Sometimes, it’s not.

So which is better? Should we go through life expecting very little, especially under circumstances which we cannot control in the name of protecting ourselves from the hurtful emotions disappointment brings?

Or should we continue to hurl our authentic, open-hearted truth into the world no matter the outcome? How many times can one do this and not become a cynical cynic?

I don’t know what to think so I came here to find out what wisdom you can share.

Might lead to a follow-up post.

See you in the comments.

35 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. I’m wrestling with this expectations word, too. (It’s what I just posted about.) I think my biggest problems come when I think people have expectations of me that I find impossible to live up to. Sometimes, they do actually have those expectations. Often, I just project it unto them. I’m wondering if naming our expectations can be a way of coping…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. expectations vs reality has been something we all struggle with. We don’t like it when we come up short of a goal. I think I feel disappointment because all our lives we’ve been told hard work gets it done but that’s really not the reality. I don’t have high expectations anymore, I’ve achieved what I want to achieve and anything else from here on out is just a nice surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My old boss, who was actually too young to be so cynical, used to say, “the secret to happiness is having low expectations.” I found that depressing, especially in a young person. If the secret to happiness is to have someone to love, something to do and something to hope for, then the last one is key for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s all about realistic expectations. If you expect to have a really nice car, you have to precede it with the work that goes into having the money, learning how to drive, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good evening. IMHO in line with several of the thoughtful comments above, separating our expectations (desires) into two categories serves our interest best. 1) Expectations that are firmly in our control in which we are the principal player, and 2) those expectations we place (project) on others to fulfill. I prefer to be pissed at myself and be happily surprised when others step up. I set my expectations sky-high for myself and fight like hell to get there. Read my post: Wildest Dreams for 2022. I like to get out on the ragged edge of expectations, but I only emotionally invest in those items I can control effort. When people fail me, I can smile. I manage a high level of happiness because I can meet my own expectations, most days. Not all. I hope I helped in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So there is the recipe I’ve been looking for. 😀

      A few people are expecting (ha!) a follow-up post so I will ponder your statement and incorporate this in the coming days. Thank you kindly for stopping by!

      I saw you on Birdie’s blog and decided to follow you. Looking forward to poking around your words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Should we go through life expecting very little, especially under circumstances which we cannot control in the name of protecting ourselves from the hurtful emotions disappointment brings?” Unfortunately, this has been my default position for decades. I’ve been trying to change it over the last few years as I launched my midlife journey to an authentic life at 60. It’s a process for sure, and some days I’m better at it than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, it seems almost like my last decade ‘prepared me’ to expect little. It made me reevaluate what I thought was needed (less emphasis on what I can’t control, more what I can) and which launched me into the If Not Now When movement.

      Perhaps we need a follow-up post here, lots of people have some great input. Thank you for stopping by!


    1. How to stay true and authentic to oneself is very difficult when we exert expectations on others (like marriages, relationships).

      Nothing about living in a house came even close to my expectations (as a kid who grew up in an apartment) for a variety of reasons and the ongoing disappointment left me feeling dull and, well, disappointment.

      I think I need to ponder this in a sequel. Thanks for chiming in!


  7. Hmmm… that’s a difficult one. I try not to have ANY expectations… good or bad, high or low… I mostly try to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and Happy Dance when good things happen, or deal with whatever drama happens.

    I guess my expectations are low cuz I don’t get really jazzed or excited about future events. I can get really excited during an event, but the future is so variable🤷🏼‍♀️

    You gotta do what feels right to YOU. Forget what anyone else says. Only you know yourself inside out.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a kid living in an apartment in Switzerland I heard a lot of ‘calm down’ and ‘be quiet’ so as not to disturb the neighbours. It made me ‘hold in’ happy noises… and train me to not expect happy because to show happy was noisy and noisy was bad…

      I’m not sure how to connect my thoughts to this topic, so consider these my draft notes. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  8. No one wants to be emotionally stressed or find themselves in turmoil, but at the same time how much of life do we miss out on by closing ourselves off to avoid possible disappointment? There’s potential for just about anything/everything to disappoint in some way so do we just stop doing all together? That doesn’t seem like living, just attempting to exist in a very sad way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this too although simultaneously when we experience a lot of disappointment, we sometimes feel like our hearts are hardened, or we put up proverbial walls to protect us from more disappointment…

      There’s a whole chapter about heartbreak that comes to mind as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I understand this! I recently went down this rabbit hole because I had a morning that was just me and my two-year-old and I thought we’d have alone time since his sister was at school and he spent the whole time asking for his sister. I was like WTH and felt very disappointed.

    So, I looked up in Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart and gained some insight. First there are conscious expectations and these feel to me like the ones I’m okay experiencing disappointment about – because I’m aware that I can fail.

    But there are also unconscious ones. Like we head off on vacation with our family and pack 3 books to read and then never get to read any because it was a family vacation and not a personal one and then we feel disappointed about the vacation. It seems like those ones to me feel like the biggest joy bombs.

    I think of Ashley C. Ford’s statement, “I tried to live a disappointing life so that I wouldn’t be disappointed.” I think somewhere in the spectrum of what disappointments we are willing to undertake is the wisdom of trying…

    And when you figure it out, I can’t wait to read it so I can borrow that wisdom! Sending my best!

    Liked by 1 person

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