Expectations and Mental Health

POSTED ON 17/03/2023 IN Therapy Research & Funding

You are born into a world where you don’t know your future. You are looked after until a certain age of adulthood and then you go off to figure it out for yourself. Some people are strong enough to push through the tough obstacles of life, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. For others, it’s a fight of wanting to give up.

You may develop expectations as you’re growing up from people around you who you look up to. This eventually though can become very overwhelming and cause you to overthink and live a life to please other people. To make them proud. It is not only emotionally draining but can lead to disappointment and pressure, leaving you in a puddle of hopelessness and anxiety. You can’t control your environment, but you can control your reaction. Reframing the negative thinking to help you control your emotions.

Expectation disorders

There are expectation disorders such as anxiety disorders, phobias and panic disorders where people expect consequences when exposed to a certain stimuli or situation e.g., heart palpitations when experiencing a phobia. In obsessive-compulsive disorder, the patient expects dreadful consequences if compulsive behaviours are prohibited. Exposure therapy can help create positive outcome expectations. 


The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – principles to live by. 

One of the most powerful books I have read is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, who writes about the principles he lives by. 

The first lesson: Our environment domesticates us from childhood, and it leads us to live an unreflected life. Meaning, we don’t pick what attitude, values, and morals our parents instil in us nor our first language or religious beliefs. As a child you have no power over this, and we are conditioned to be rewarded for the good we do and punished when we step out of line. This creates a fear of rejection and a life of chasing praise from others

The second lesson: Nothing people say or do to you is personal, but you need to know who you are to be okay with that. Meaning, if we are dealing with our own personal problems, we take our frustration out on others. It is hard to follow this, and it takes a lot of self-awareness. Believe in yourself, who you are and your truth to stop seeking validation acceptance from others. 

The third lesson: You can use three ways to break old agreements, free yourself and come up with your own. Meaning, start noticing the beliefs you have, which are based on fear and make you unhappy. Learn to forgive the people who hurt you, most of all yourself. Remember that each day could be your last to stay in the present.



Be kind towards yourself

It is easy to be harsh on yourself but think of it this way, what would you say to a loved one in the same situation. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you were taking care of. Be compassionate towards yourself and appreciate where you are in life, be grateful for all the good moments and every emotion you experience.

Written by Maryam Fazalzadeha