Teresa Brooks Life Coaching

Live your best life …


  • Expectations can be motivating or can lead us into disappointment and pain. When expectations motivate us to study to get a better job; to change our diet to achieve optimum health; to save our money to achieve a particular goal they are serving us well. However, expectations also find their way into our emotional lives and here they are problematic. If you have ever been disappointed by someone, you have experienced a unfulfilled  expectation; an expectation you have of them. How do we learn to have expectations of others?

At the basis of expectation is the need to control our world, to have it the way we want it to be. Expectation is also home to the fears we have about our worthiness and the protective behaviours we employ to shield ourselves from these aspects. Expectation and need go hand in glove. Need may be described as something we require of another which we believe we cannot supply for ourselves.

We would agree that the need to be loved and to belong is a basic human instinct to guaratee survival. We maximise our survival when the people around us meet our needs. This state of dependence is meant to be a transitional step to emotional independence but rarely, it seems to  be the case. Instead, as we grow, we fortify ourselves with expectations of the people around us especially of the people we love.

We tread on thin ice when we have expectations of  others. When we expect family members, friends or work colleagues to behave in a particular way; a way that pleases or benefits us; helps us feel loved, validated or secure; we are heading for dangerous territory. What we are saying is, I will only be okay if you do what pleases me; if you show me that you love me; if you support me with your validation. If you don’t do that I will feel insecure and my worst fears about myself will be realised.” Gary Zukav tells us that, “…the deepest pain of every human is needing to be loved and feeling unloveable; longing to be loved and feeling incapable of loving; wanting to belong and feeling unworthy.”

Our insecurity about our self worth impels us on a search for partners/friends who would fill this need (make us feel good). As a result, we invest in pleasing people, saying ‘yes’ when we want to say ‘no’ as a means of guaranteeing a  certain behaviour which would give us that degree of comfort and security we seek. We become attached to a particular result. The sad fact is that no one else can truly do this for us. Unfortunately, need is never satisfied permanently. It always demands more. What we must recognise, is the true nature of need.  “Need requires a return on investment whether that investment is time, money or ‘love’.” (Garry Zukav) Needs/expectations have strings attached.

Expectations  also apply to the various roles we play in life. For example, parents often feel insecure about aspects of their parenting. In order to feel more comfortable, they may rely on certain behaviour  from their children. They may expect regular phone calls, messages answered promptly and special consideration. When these behaviours are displayed, the parents are temporarily satisfied and the nagging doubts about their worthiness as parents are kept at bay. As soon as a son/daughter deviates from this expected standard, the nagging doubts return. Fearful parents are hurt, disappointed and angry; go into blaming or delve into other destructive emotions. These are all protective behaviours designed to draw attention away from the pain of feeling unworthy. Unfortunately, no amount of special treatment from their children is going to change those insecure aspects  but at the time, it sure feels like it.  Those insecure aspects need attention from the parents themselves. They require welcoming and appreciation for a chance to be accepted and healed. When aspects are hidden and feared no change is  possible.

What to do?

Allow yourself the thought that when the world is not the way you want it to be, it might be an opportunity to consider the situation from another perspective.

Allow yourself some time and space to ask some of the following questions:

  • What is the truth of this situation? Can I look at this in another way and see the value here  instead of relying on the story I usually tell myself?
  • Underneath all this emotional upheaval what  aspect of myself am I protecting? And underneath that, what else is frightening me?
  • Maybe, what I want is not necessarily the best for me and it is time to explore another option ?
  • How can trusting the truth about this situation help me see more clearly?

When we strip away expectations, we see what is really there. We see with eyes that are not twisted by the need to protect ourselves from the aspects that we deem unworthy; something most of us have done habitually all our lives. When we stand in love and truth, we are in a non judgemental space; we can allow the situation to be what it is – no more, no less. We have a chance to let go of fear and that can be transformative.

I want to finish by quoting some lines from  Whitney Houston’s song, Greatest Love Of All.

I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs

A lonely place to be

And so I learned to depend on me

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

This is our solid ground. When we come from THIS place we are able to encompass ALL aspects of ourselves with compassion. This is our life’s work…..to become who we truly are, wonderfully worthy beings!

Be kind to yourselves

Related blog: THE POWER OF OUR WORTHINESS August 2015

Source of quote: SPIRITUAL PARTNERSHIP, the journey to authentic power, Gary Zukav



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