No one is perfect. We seem to forget this. When I say that, what I mean is we judge others when they don’t meet our standards, our expectations. Now if you are reading this and thinking, “I paid to receive high-level service, damn right I should have an expectation”, bear with me a minute and see if I can show you another possible perspective.

And for the record – I do agree if you paid for something, then the need should be met, absolutely. Now a need met is very different to an expectation.

An expectation is having someone meet the standard you’ve set. What if you are a chef and you go to a cafe, do you think it’s fair the cafe to be critiqued at restaurant standard?

Some of you may agree. But really think about it. Who wins from that situation? The chef probably doesn’t win, as most of the time he will be disappointed when eating out, to the point he may never eat out. And then that isolates him from socialising and enjoying himself.

Does the cafe win? Most of the time probably not, no. They feel terrible that they let a customer down. And yes, there will be times both will win. But most of the time I would be inclined to say no.

I bet you’re thinking where is Dr Phil in this. Is she teasing? Hold onto your knickers – it’s coming!

And here it is!

An example for me was when I first met Dr Phil. I expected off-camera he would be the same as on camera but he wasn’t. He’s a reserved and quiet man. In fact, he said very little but as soon as the lights were on, he came to life. Had I not have had an expectation of him that first time, perhaps I could have enjoyed the moments of sitting observing and soaking up the presence of a man whose wealth of knowledge and experience has led him to be one of the most famous psychologists in the world.

  • Who do you have an expectation of?
  • Could it be challenging for them to meet it?
  • Do you have an impossible expectation of or for yourself?
  • Or do you expect nothing from yourself or others?

Unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves create emotional and, in some cases, physical pain. If you want to know what is creating your life to be more difficult and challenging, I’ve attached a self-assessment to help you. I know that it can be hard to see your own blind spots and that is why we end up in suffering. And this assessment will show you them. But know you must take action and if you aren’t willing to, then do not take this assessment.

If you are ready, take time out now and complete this assessment. It could save you a lot of time, suffering and money in the long run. P.S. for those of you reading this and thinking I have no expectations of anyone or anything, please ask yourself these questions. Is this way of thinking serving you? If yes, great! However, if a slight inkling of you is saying no, then ask yourself, am I happy or miserable? If you are miserable, it’s most likely you have shut yourself off from the world to protect yourself. Please go and see your GP, as a good counsellor can help you through this.

Take the Self Assessment here.