ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

6 Steps to Achieve Positive Expectations

Updated on February 22, 2016

Balance is the secret to apositive life


The Beginning

No matter what you expect out of life, no matter what you believe what is stopping you from achieving what you want, what difficulties you might be facing in your life or problem circumstances you have, everything comes back to expectations.

If you want to fulfill expectations you carry and overcome an obstacle, you must start with your knowing your expectations up close and personal.

How To Guide Yourself to Achieving Balance

To start you need to know what an expectation is.

What is an expectation? For the purpose of addressing this topic, expectation will be defined as accomplishments, behaviors, personal beliefs, loyalties, performance (success, fear of failure) and personal beliefs that are future projections taught or place upon a person by others who him or her have an emotional attachment too. The emotional attachment can be negative or positive causing expectations to be projected wants, demands or wishes.

Ask yourself.

Are the expectations you're carrying be the downfall of your striving for success or fulfillment and through you out of balance? The answer to this question is yes. There are multiple elements that effect success or fulfillment in your life. One marker that tells you that you have a barrier or resistance to becoming successful or fulfilled is the extent you focuses on external validation through the need to complete other's expectations of you.

External validation is the act of a person seeking other people’s judgment of them to affirm their own view of self. External validation is the precursor to the incorporation of expectations in a person. External validation is other's opinions, perceptions and prejudices taught to us and we take them as more true or more right than our own. What cause causes us to except other’s validation? It is the emotion the external validation stirs up. Healthy external validation is when you use it for reference not the truth. In order to take in external validation and have it be healthy one has to have a strong and supportive internal validation to begin with.

An intense need for other’s external validation has been a strong indicator that one is living by someone else's expectations. When one is externally validating, their personal authority, beliefs, expectations, goals, philosophy and values are being overlooked and undervalued. If this is occurring then personal trust is lost, doubt sets in, decisions are questioned and judgment of performance toward self is harsh. Also loyalty is shifted off of self to other people. Their mindset shifts to a negative position. The person acts, thinks and feels as dictated by other people wants, wishes and projections.

Excepting validations like the scenario described, the direction of our life becomes out control. We live expectation for ourselves that have been set by another person, authority figure, culture, family unit, family member, favorite teacher, or religious figure. After many years of living by someone else's expectations, those expectations becomes his/her standard, good or bad. We feel like we are not our true self. Reliance on external validation and non-responsiveness to our core beliefs create a pattern that is very hard to break and we suffer in our growth and performance.

An example is where a son grew up attempting to be what their father wanted them to be. He involves himself in sports when it was not his passion. He goes on to law school because his father always wanted him to be a lawyer. He graduates and once in a law practice, he finds himself angry, disappointed and unfulfilled. To compensate, he submerges himself in alcohol and not knowing why.

Other Peoples Expectations can Ruin your Life


Let us look at this subject deeper

In examining and contemplating on this subject of expectations further, all the elements can be placed into a mathematical formula.

Other's Expectations + External Validation + Negative Thinking = Failure

Pondering the formula closer, you can see that even if a person is able to work hard and change negative thinking and redirect validation internal or self, he or she may still experience failure. Why? With the first question at the being of this article "can expectations be the downfall in healing?", and in the equation it appears that expectations play a larger major role in one’s life.

A follow up question would be "are the expectations one lives by theirs or someone else's?" Whether overtly, covertly or assumed, living by someone else’s expectations other than their own appear to hold one third of the power in the formula. The one third seems to keep old unsuccessful behavior patterns strong enough to rule out any successful change in the other two components. So the thought "just tell me what you want me to be and I will", is an external validation mindset and negative against self. Therefore based on living by “others expectations” in the formula would continued to exert its control over becoming healthy or succeeding.

Another example of this occurrence was a 38 year old female who had been in therapy for years to combat PTSD and depression resulting from childhood sexual abuse. She had been committed and dedicated to her therapy, and did everything she was asked. No longer did she live by external validation and had achieved internal validation and self communication. With hard work and support she re-programmed her negative thinking, yet her triumphs usually ended in a series of failure and self-sabotaging acts. Until one day her therapist asked her to explore the expectations that she lived by. She discovered that the resistance that kept her from succeeding was that she was two expectations she had held onto unknowingly from her parents and was trying to fulfill. The first one from her father was that she would “never amount to nothing” (never being successful). The second expectation that crippled her recovery came from her first husband. During a short abusive marriage, her husband viciously had told her over and over that she was “worthless”. The combination of these two hidden expectations cancelled out any success she could mount in her life. Once she replaced recognized all her expectations and corrected them with her own expectations, her recovery took off.

How do I get healthy expectations of my own? The assignment below will assist you step by step to in assessing, recognizing the origin and then creating new expectations. You can break the hold old unconscious expectations taught or placed upon you by others. Take out a sheet of paper and begin.

6 Steps to Create Healthy Positive Expectations

Step one – draw a line down the middle of the paper from top to bottom. On the left side of the paper, write a list of all the expectations that you are living by in your life.

Step two – study the list. Once completed, on the right side of the line, write next to each expectation identify the origin. Write who gave you each expectation (examples - abuser, authority figure, cultural figure, family, father, mother, religious leader, self, sibling, teacher, etc.).

Step three – study both columns. Evaluate each expectation and its origin. Determine whether each one is acceptable to you today and do you want to continue to live by it.

Step four – take out a new piece of paper. Now create a new list of expectations from scratch. Make sure you have space between each expectation. Transfer over any expectation you want to keep from the first list and alter it if need be. This time make sure you write next to each expectation how you will measure progress and successful completion of each. Then under each expectation assign a timeline for completion. Be sure that each expectation is reasonable and that you are willing to own as yours.

Step five – study your new expectation list. Draw a circle around three that you can effect change on right away. Study the three you have picked and then rank them 1, 2 and 3. Start with number one and begin working on it right away. (If you try to work on all of them at once and divide your time between them, you will surely be overwhelmed, see no progress, become disappointed, self-sabotage and give up on all. So focus on completing one at a time to assure success)

Step six – is the action step. Pledge your commitment to each one. Be consistency. Work hard, one expectation at a time. Once you have completed the first three, go back the list and pick three more and begin again.

Take away

Living by a new set of self expectations can open you to move toward new directions. So do not wait any longer, create new expectations, regain your authority and own your life.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      donnab 6 years ago

      Although internal validation is essentially necessary, is it wrong to sometimes need external validate to boost your self esteem? Especially after you have already internally validated. What's wrong with say needing to hear your spouse compliment you on doing something well once in a while? I think that as long as you know you have done well prior to the external validation it is still part of a normal relationship to expect external validation on occassions., And in the say context, be disappointed if there are none. That is telling you something else.

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 6 years ago from Southwest Florida

      No you are not wrong if you already have a strong internal sense of self. Some people just rely on only external validation to the abandonment of self. Some demand external validation which sets them up for disappointment. External validation should be a reference of how we are doing rather than the truth.

    • wysley profile image

      wysley 4 years ago

      Excellent explanation of how to change even deeply ingrained patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Although it's not easy and takes commitment and hard work, it is definitely worth the effort! It's like that butterfly finally coming out of the cocoon and flying into their own life. Thank you for providing such helpful information!

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      wysley - Thank you for your comment. Many believe that there is no way to change one's deep thinking. Unfortunately, it is that type of habitual pattern thinking gone bad that keep many stuck and short of happiness or success. It is possible to change old pattern thinking.

      Checkout my blog article to further increase your knowledge:

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 4 years ago from Jamaica

      I find the steps to create healthy positive expectations useful. Thanks

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Purpose Embraced - Thank you for you warm and validating comment. I feel the steps are very useful. Tell and share with others the article and good news.


    • Syeda15 profile image

      Syeda Fizza 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      It was a great help. Thanks

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 2 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Dear Syeda15,

      You are very welcome.

      I hope you follow me and read more of my HUBs and comment on them.

    Click to Rate This Article