Robbed Of Happiness? Stuck Between Reality And Expectations?

  • 14 months ago
5 minute read.
Robbed Of Happiness? Stuck Between Reality And Expectations?

Expectations are what we believe will happen, whereas reality is what really occurs. Truth can be difficult to accept, even if it’s something you’ve wanted to hear for a long time. People easily get entangled in the reality v/s expectation trap.

Ratan Tata beautifully explained Reality vs. Expectations in the following ways:

  • "How strange it is: We wish to wear high brands but we feel most comfortable in pajamas."
  • "We wish to sit in Taj and Marriot with Elite people but we enjoy roadside tea with friends and with people we love."

If you want to be truly happy in life, you need to realize that expectations will never match reality, no matter how hard you try to make them align with one another.

It’s an illusion that so many people are enmeshed these days, and it can rob you of your happiness if you aren’t careful. In today’s era of information overload, it can be not easy to separate reality from expectations.

Too Many Things On The Mind Need Too Much Attention

We have so many different sources of information competing for our attention that it’s hard to filter out the things that don’t matter so we can focus on the things that do. As such, many people end up stressed and overwhelmed because they cannot manage their stressors effectively, which ends up robbing them of their happiness and success.

Reality Vs. Expectations

We all have different expectations for our lives, jobs, relationships, etc. But it can be stressful when reality hits and these things don’t play out as we hope they do. And when expectations are put on us by others rather than ourselves, they can cause even more stress.

According to a study, people are often more stressed because they’re upset with how things turned out than how they expected them to. In other words, when we expect something (say, a promotion) and it doesn’t happen (we didn’t get it), we experience disappointment.

We may not realize that our expectations are too high or unrealistic, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling bummed about it. This is called disappointment stress,” and while it’s ordinary in moderation, long-term chronic stress caused by reality v/s expectations is harmful to our health.

So, let’s take a look at what causes these unrealistic expectations and how we can manage them, so we don’t fall into despair. What stress-busting tools do you use to keep stress under control in your life?

Signs You Are Expecting Too Much

  • Hoping for a specific outcome
  • Having a mental picture of how things are going to turn out
  • Having a preconceived notion of what you want or require from a circumstance

The Cons Of Expecting Illogically

  • You invite disappointment by expecting too much.
  • Expectations might diminish gratitude.
  • It takes a toll on your love life or relationships with others.
  • It also hampers productivity at work.

Ways To Manage Your Expectations

High expectations may be contagious for your mental health, whether at work or in your personal relationships. These are the few methods for stress management – if used regularly, these can change your personality and thoughts towards lifestyle!!

  1. Set expectations, not expectations for others, but for yourself.
  2. Don’t overcommit and spread yourself too thin. Learn how to prioritize by scheduling time for everything that needs to be done, including time for family and friends.
  3. Keep track of what you have accomplished and give yourself credit for a job well done!
  4. Recognize when you feel stressed and use stress management techniques like yoga or meditation to calm down and relax.
  5. Allow extra time for events in life, such as doctor’s appointments, holiday travel, or visiting out-of-town family members—everyone works on their schedule, so try to maintain flexibility with yours as well!
  6. Change your perspective! When things don’t go exactly as planned, do your best to adapt and roll with whatever punches come your way. Focus on looking at issues from another angle; sometimes, we miss opportunities because we expect something different from reality.
  7. Be flexible! You never know where life will take you or who it will bring into it. If you plan every step from beginning to end, not only will things never work out that way, they may never happen at all!!
  8. Try new things, see new places, and meet new people! Step outside of your comfort zone and experience new activities. Not only does it make each day exciting, but it also adds a little variety to an otherwise cookie-cutter lifestyle.
  9. Give back to those less fortunate than yourself (directly or indirectly). Giving back is one of life’s greatest joys, no matter how small or large the act you perform for others. The rewards far outweigh any effort expended making a difference in someone else’s life.
  10. Follow your heart, believe in yourself, and allow yourself to live authentically and honestly without worrying about what others think of you or your decisions!

If people fail to stand up to the pre-set expectations or things do not turn out as they wished, they might just get discouraged, dissatisfied, and even outraged.

You might want to consider getting some emotional counseling to help you manage the vicious cycle of harmful beliefs causing unpleasant behaviors and feelings.

Emotional Counseling

How To Get Rid Of The Reality Vs. Expectations Trap

One of our most significant sources of stress is comparing our real lives to an idealized view we have in our heads. In most cases, these expectations are unrealistic and come with unnecessary pressure and stress.

If you want to start making more realistic decisions and enjoying life more without feeling like you’re failing, try these tips for getting rid of that reality v/s expectations mentality:

1) Go through everything you’ve listed as a must-have; what do they all add up to? Have they added anything meaningful to your life over time, or has it just created stress? Now make a note of what you need versus what would be nice but unnecessary. This can help narrow down options.

2) Choose something easy and fun on your nice-to-have list, then put aside the rest. Figure out what you think will give you a sense of progress toward achieving your goal—and take action!

3) Repeat steps one and two until there’s no more ample room on your nice to have the list, which means things from step one were either essential or achievable/attainable (or both!). Finally, celebrate!

Also check: Ways to bust a bad mood

Everything else that’s left off should never have been there in the first place. The key to making healthy decisions about reality v/s expectations lies largely in understanding where those expectations came from, how they affect your stress levels and overall happiness, how you could better set realistic goals in the future —and ultimately re-prioritizing your resources, so only worthwhile goals remain.


Be honest with yourself and ensure that what you are getting from life matches your expectations. Stress management is critical to reducing stress levels and trying meditation or yoga. Even better, make things happen for yourself.

Take a vacation, see friends or family, volunteer, or run errands on weekends (instead of watching T.V.). Life is what we make it, so don’t be deceived by a false reality. If something doesn’t make you happy, change it. Good luck!

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