AS CHILDREN WE all had expectations for ourselves, didn’t we? (Personally, I imagined myself being a doctor or an Avon Lady.) As adults we still have expectations; they’re just (usually) different from those of our childhoods.
Expectations are strong beliefs about the future—what we anticipate will occur. They differ from goals in that a goal is something you strive to achieve, while an expectation is something you predict will take place. If the expected outcome does not transpire, disappointment often results. In my clinical practice I’ve found that rigid expectations can be the essence of unhappiness.
“All I ever wanted to do was be a pilot.”
Steve was sitting in my office, slouched over in a wingback ...