top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Robert V. Gerard

Pros and Cons of Expectation

Expectations serve as a powerful emotional driving force for humankind. An individual can generate hundreds of subliminal expectations a day. However, the notion and use of expectations generally lead to harmful situations unless we cognitively understand what we ask for. So, let's analyze the pros and cons of using expectations. First, there is a structural acceptance of the word expectation commonly used in work, religion, education, and parental interactions with children. 

Within this group, the use of expectation relates to authority and power. If a supervisor asks an employee to present the results of a project, the supervisor expects that to be done. This expectation is normal, reflecting good management behavior. Expectations, in a sense, are a vital part of goal setting, meeting objectives, and arriving at a quality situation. 

Religiously speaking, the authority behind the clergy expects you to obey the religious laws and rules, as it is expected of you. Parents must guide their children, and their children's expectations or demands are crucial in setting boundaries, moral issues, and social behavior. So, in a nutshell, our everyday usage of expectations is commonly accepted.

The second use of the notion of expectation is relatively abstract. We often create our future due to our ability to expect some outcome or circumstance. On a personal level, we hope to achieve specific desires, goals, and ambitions. We project into the future what we want, and whatever that may be requires us to place a lot of emotional energy into obtaining that expectation. For example, you expect to read three books by the end of the month. Though suggested, it will not necessarily get done. Another example is planning a detailed diet for yourself. Each of these examples becomes an obligation and locks you into the future until it is achieved, which could turn into a burden for you.

Do understand that expectations are the demands you have placed upon yourself, others, or by others. The keyword here is "demands," which fundamentally notes authority. And with authority comes consequences if not achieved. Turning to the personal side, we can quickly see how much burden we put on ourselves daily to achieve something. Once in a while, that would be OK. Still, our children, students, and newly married couples put so much emphasis on expectations that the result could be catastrophic to our emotional state should we not achieve our expectations. That produces stress. It also reduces confidence, increases anxiety, and, if over-emphasized, can cause depression.

Please permit me to put a good word in about fishermen. These folks spent hours preparing for a fishing trip, a long drive up to the lake, getting the gear ready, and can wait for hours before they even get a bite on their line. And if they don't catch a fish, they go home and say, "… maybe the next time." On the other hand, if you go to a football game or some sports event with the sole desire to see your team win, any expectation that they're losing can easily stress you out or make your day miserable. 

The psychological link between an expectation and your emotional state of being is the form of attachment. Attachment, in a sense, is ownership. And with the ownership comes obligations. When you are attached to an expectation, it is like having a rope between your neck and the potential result of that expectation. So, expectations, in a sense, are a burden to your movement and freedom. It could be said that the more you expect of yourself or from others, the more your freedom becomes strangled. You may feel incomplete and express chaotic behavior should you hold many expectations. 

There are several alternatives to expectations. One is to detach yourself from each expectation as best as possible. Eliminate the rope of attachment. Eliminating can be done by reconsidering the purpose and value of the expectation. Does it serve my Highest Good? Ask if it is justifiable. Is the intent behind the expectation reasonable? Or, perform an energy break, which you can imagine as cutting the emotional chord or ties between you and the expectation.

Another viewpoint is to be more objective to your wants and desires. Live in the moment. Avoid dramatizing an outcome. All too often, I hear people making a mountain over a molehill. Keep your thoughts simple, not yielding to Hollywood plots of exaggerated things. A more pleasant method would be to instill hope more often, and that is called anticipation. Anticipation has no rope. It's a form of imagination and rhythm. With anticipation, you can instill excitement without commitment. Though "expectation" and "anticipation" are neighbors, anticipation points to placing hope in your actions, while expectation locks you into a future event.

We can debate about the realms' expectations vs anticipation, but it is best to experiment with the differences yourself for immediate relief. A discussion among trustworthy friends would be a good social experiment. See what others may offer. 

If you enjoy music, singing, or karaoke, then realize that subconsciously you are in an anticipation mode. You hope to blend with the rhythm, lyrics, and melody each moment. As you race to stay in tune, hoping to feel great, it's anticipating. The same is true when you dance—you anticipate each step and sail with the rhythm.

As your journey to emotional freedom progresses, a simultaneous cleansing also occurs wherein your past doubts and fears diminish. This growth opens the doorway to being more creative and constructing a better life and future.

To follow is an excellent quote to nourish. Practicing its message can work wonders for you as it is highly effective and rewarding:

"The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence."

— Jiddu Krishnamurti


Dr. Robert V. Gerard

Copyright © 2023 Robert V Gerard

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page