A word means something to me. Call me old fashioned, but when I make a promise – thus raising certain expectations – I will go out of my way to keep it or I simply do not make it in the first place.

When you promise or even just suggest something to someone, you create certain expectations in that person, even if it is something as banal as promising to call or text at a certain time. When you don’t deliver – especially repeatedly – there will be pain, disappointment, and possibly anger as a result.

“When you create Hope in people, you create expectations. When you do not fulfill those expectations, when the change becomes more of the same old, same old, the Hope that was created can only turn to anger, frustration and bitter disappointment.” — Vermin Supreme

When you reach out your hand to someone, offering or even promising to help, you simply do not pull that hand away at the last moment and let that person fall into the abyss – I believe that is just common decency.

It’s a bit like in politics. Before an election, big promises are made, changes are announced and no matter what party you gave your vote to, your expectations will most certainly not be met. I don’t know about you but I am fed up to my teeth with people talking the talk and not walking the walk. This has nothing to do with exaggerated expectations but simply with people doing as they say, letting actions follow their words and if they can’t, at least have the courtesy to explain why not and apologise. It really isn’t that difficult.

But Angela Merkel publicly made it very clear:

“You cannot rely on what is said before the elections to be true after the elections. And we have to expect that this can be repeated in different ways.” — Angela Merkel (2008)

This may have been taken slightly out of context and yet this attitude now seems to be “normal” and almost a part of accepted and even expected behaviour.

And to avoid misunderstandings, I am not talking about the unreasonable expectations you put into people but about the ones that are actually raised by these – a huge difference. Do you know those people that always make big speeches and even bigger promises? And when you follow up or want to hold them accountable they either pretend to have no idea what you are talking about (pulling an Olaf Scholz on you with their sudden lapses of memory) or they put you off endlessly and stall you in the hope that you will give up and forget eventually.

There is an intention behind this kind of behavior and it is rather simple – even if we often need some time to see through it, depending on how skilled the person you are dealing with is or how kind-hearted you are. It is to manipulate you into desired behavior. Sometimes it is done by flattering you, telling you what you want to hear, and sometimes by inducing fear and even threatening you. Again, the past three years are a great and sad example of how manipulation with false expectations works.

Inducing fear is the easiest way to achieve results – as we have seen – and then follow the promises that if you are good and do what you are told you can go back to restaurants and you can even travel again. Millions fell for that manipulation and I know that many regret this or will regret it.

But what about the expectations we have of ourselves? Now that is a completely different story as that is something we can actively influence.

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” — Marilu Henner

Especially in our highly competitive world, we are often raised to be great, the best, and better than others in every sense. We often take this with us into our adult life and of course we also take those high expectations that were put into us with us.

This can result in never feeling good enough, having constant self-doubt, and possibly even low self-esteem when we do not deliver as we expected of ourselves. I know quite a few people that are caught in this trap and beat themselves up about the slightest failure. This negative spiral can be devastating.

“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.” — Sonia Sotomayor

I believe it helps to fact-check once in a while and especially stop comparing to others that are possibly better – which very often they aren’t, they are just better at selling themselves.

And on the other hand, there are also many parents that tell their children that they can be anything they want to be. Boosting their self-worth very unrealistically as they often forget to mention that their children can be anything that they want to be that realistically fit their abilities. The result is often that people start feeling entitled for no apparent reason, expecting only the best without any effort whatsoever.

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” — Confucius

Often people say that we should never expect anything and we will never be disappointed. Sounds great in theory but that is simply not how we are wired. Just one very simple example. Every time we go shopping, and see the advertised products, they raise expectations in us to make us healthier, prettier, slimmer, richer, and whatever else. Marketing and Advertisement live off our expectations. So don’t let anyone tell you to not have expectations, but you can of course always try and lower them, simply manage them, or prioritise the right ones.

“Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to.” — Greg Anderson

At the end of the day you cannot control anyone else’s actions – no matter how many expectations you put on them.

🎶My Song of the Week

A great version of Jack Johnson’s song Gone Going with the Black Eyed Peas

It’s also here on the Spotify playlist

📚My Poem of the Week

Is by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Fire And Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


An evening view from my balcony

To begin any kind of transformation, you have to know what your story is before you can navigate to something better and write a new story, becoming the best possible version of yourself. This is what the Enneagram and I can do for you. I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here go to my website or simply hit reply and get in touch with me directly.

We all need things we can rely on, and people we can trust. Personally, I don’t want to live life mistrusting everyone around me, especially the people I allow into my inner circle. It’s as much a question of trust as it is one of respect. Sometimes it can be helpful to trade expectations for appreciation.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a ❤️ and a comment! I wish you an amazing weekend and look very much forward to hearing from you.


Tanja 🤗

2 thoughts on “EXPECTATIONS

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