Our expectations have so much to do with how we feel at any moment in time. Negative emotions and crappy feelings almost always show up when people around us don’t say or do what we expect, when situations don’t turn out the way we planned, or when we don’t meet our own expectations for ourselves. Mary and Erin explore the relationship between our expectations and our happiness. They reveal how to set and manage expectations that bring peace and joy to our lives.

Episode Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • Expectations are the crux and at the core of the negative emotions and crappy feelings that cause us to suffer.
  • It’s a good trick to have expectations and also walk through life with a healthy and light grip on those expectations so we can let them go as need be.
  • Society is a web work of expectations. That’s what social is. That’s what society’s doing. We are training our kids with social expectations. We train our dogs. We go to work. We have job descriptions. Job descriptions are a delineation of expectations.
  • Expectations are related to our relative happiness or peace of mind.
  • Expectations can help us. Expectations can cause us trouble.
  • Friction in our personal relationships with siblings, parents, our kids, neighbors and others we interact with a lot usually have to do with our expectations of these people that they aren’t living up to. Expectations of their capacities or their way of being.
  • Our expectations come from our conditioning and come from our values and how we were raised. They come from what we think is “normal.” Unfortunately, we’re not all raised the same.
  • Sometimes people really mean the best, but they just can’t do it. There are people all around who are immature. People who are not skilled or not even sane. People with personality disorders who aren’t able to think about anyone besides themselves.
  • “Expectation is the root of all heartbreak.” – William Shakespeare
  • It’s been said that expectations are premeditated resentments.
  • We all have expectations. We need to have reasonable expectations. It’s normal. They create a structure or system for working together collaboratively and in harmony.
  • Stress or unhappiness is the gap between our expectation and reality.
  • We need to have expectations. We can’t not have expectations in order to avoid disappointment. We do need to hold expectations around what we will tolerate and what we won’t.
  • We want to have our positive healthy expectations met. We want to be treated with respect. We have certain standards and understandings of how to do this or that, but it can be tricky. Sometimes, in certain situations, we need to release expectations in order to release stress and avoid getting a headache, but not if the expectations are important for our dignity and important for our ability to stay in a relationship or in an institution or in a structure. It can be very difficult to decide whether we should stay or go.
  • We’re all going to find ourselves at times in situations that we don’t prefer. Relationships or marriages or jobs or neighborhoods or families that really are not what we expected, but where we really need to be right now because the time isn’t right to make a change. We can find peace by releasing expectations and closing the gap between our expectations and the reality of the relationship or situation at the moment and loving it for what it is. Sometimes we have the power and it’s the right time to change situations and people in our lives. We can say, “I’m outta here. This is not okay. Goodbye. Boom. I’m done.” But, we can’t say that to our 15 1/2 year old son. We can’t. It’s hard, but that’s where we are. We do have the power to get realistic about what this situation is and isn’t. What this person can or can’t do, will or won’t do and to release those expectations that are keeping that gap there between the things that should be and what really is. We always have that power.
  • Releasing or adjusting our expectations is different than releasing our values. We can still have our values. We can still say this or that is wrong.
  • We can’t make people do what’s right or “normal” to us. We can’t make them have integrity the way we think they should have integrity. We’re only in charge of our own integrity.
  • If you find yourself in the position again and again and again of having to release your expectations over and over, you might want to ask yourself if you need to make a change. Should you be where you are. Is this just not fitting me?


  1. Susan Hardman on April 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Good to reconnect with you and Mary
    Expectations! We all deal with them and
    I like the idea of holding them loosely.
    My journey with my husband and
    Parkinson’s reminds me of that every
    Day. I have a expectation of seeing the
    Documentary “Risking Light” on Tuesday
    17th. Will see if that pans out.
    Susan Hardman