How to Lift Your Expectations and Rescue Your Relationships

Jun 07, 2016



Remember the last time you burned your hand in the kitchen?

You thought you were about the grab the cool, dark handle of your favorite cast iron skillet sitting on the stove. However, much to your surprise, the stove was on and preparing this skillet to burn everything it came in contact with.

You expected a quick and easy, pain-free experience.

…But you got something else.

What went wrong?

Answer: Your expectation set you up for pain.

How often does this happen in other dimensions of our lives? How often do we expect one thing and get something else? How often does it lead to pain?

Answer: All the time.

And where do these expectations hurt us the most?

Answer: In our relationships.

They hurt you. They hurt the ones you love. And unlike your burnt hand, they don’t always heal.



Expectations are rigid. They’re limited in possibilities.

This is what we like about them.

We choose one outcome and wait for it to come true. We like this outcome. We think it is in our best interest. We think it is in others’ best interest. In the mind, it is THE perfect outcome.

Only…it doesn’t happen.

Something goes wrong and it’s easy for us to figure out who’s to blame.

The “who” is the silent killer of all of your relationships, including the most important relationship- the one with yourself.

And then what happens?

Answer: Anger.

We get angry at ourselves. We get angry at others. We carry this anger around until we get the outcome that we had decided was best in the beginning- the one we expected.

What do we do to ensure a more “successful” outcome for the next round?

Answer: We manipulate.

We use whatever silent and loud resources to manipulate the environment, situation, and all parties concerned.

And where does that leave us?

Answer: We are unhappy, unsatisfied, angry, manipulators.

Who would want to be around this person? Who would want to work with this person? Who would want to build a life with this person?

So what can we do to not become this person?

Answer: We will remove all expectations of ourselves and of others…or at least as many as we can.


The How-To

In order to release our current expectations, we need to catalog them.

Get out a sheet of paper and pen, or if you prefer to type, prepare a word processing document.

List the most important people and activities in your life. You may list family members, friends, job, hobbies, personal development practices, etc.

Then, below each item, list all of the expectations you have of this person or activity. List obvious ones, and ones that are unique to you and your situation.

In order to maximize the utility of this exercise, you MUST be honest.

It doesn’t matter of these expectations are “realistic” or “unrealistic”- this is not the space to judge your expectations, only to list them.

After you have listed all of your expectations, spend some time with this list. Observe it. Read through it a few times. Notice the number of words that are on this page. Notice which items have more expectations. Notice which items have fewer expectations.

This will be quite the learning experience for you. Never have you been face to face with all that you expect from life.

Once you have developed this list and spent time with it, you now know exactly what NOT to do. You now know NOT to expect 1, 2, and 3 from X, Y, and Z.


In Conclusion

As you begin to lift these expectations, you will free up an incredible amount of time in your day-to-day.

Before your time was tied up in thinking about the future (where expectations live), now it is liberated and you are free to connect with and enjoy the aliveness of the present moment.

You and your loved ones deserve this freedom.


If you have any questions about this article, please ask by leaving a comment below. Also, we would love to start a conversation here. Tell us…what is your most dangerous expectation?


P.S. Quick reads like this are incredibly powerful and serve well to remind us, get us back on track, and to help us learn new skills. However, for those of you out there who are interested in even bigger gains towards personal freedom, removing blocks, deepening relationships, and connecting to Source, consider Coaching. It is truly the most transformative experience you will ever have. If this is you, sign up for a free Coaching Strategy Session and learn what Coaching can do for you (serious applicants only).


  1. Frances says:

    My expection is to be treated with the same love and respect that I am always willing to give to my friends and people in general. I don’t think that is dangerous. I think that is reasonable. I didn’t understand this article at all. I mean, I know that sometimes things don’t work out as we expect and it is important to leave room for the possibility that things can go another way. But, I think that people have a right to expect certain things from relationships, especially if they are willing to put in the effort and do their part.

    • AllTooSimple says:

      Frances, thank you for your feedback. Have you ever felt pain from an unmet expectation? Has someone “let you down” in this regard?

  2. Stacey says:

    I’m not so sure yet if this actually frees up time. So far in my experience releasing expectations has given the feeling of freedom, helps eliminate judgement, releases tension, though has not saved me a heap of time.
    Maybe I’m still missing a link.
    Thanks for sharing this exercise ????

    • AllTooSimple says:

      Stacey! Glad to hear you’re working with releasing expectations! “Saving time” comes from not investing thoughts (which requires time) into the future. As in, “I expect him to take out the garbage. If he doesn’t then I’ll…”. The other way time is saved is by not investing in the emotional dimension of when that expectations isn’t met. As in, “He didn’t take out the garbage! I feel so… And I remember the last time he didn’t and I… Why doesn’t he listen to me…”, etc. If you’re interested in learning more about how releasing expectations saves you time, observe your friends/colleagues’ conversations and watch for where they pin down their expectations. When they create these expectations, observe how that time is spent.

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