Conversations over Coffee

Conversations with Expectation

It is something that hovers above my head almost all day. It has for quite some time, if not for always. Today I define it as expectation. Other days it is duty or obligation. As I stood in the shower, idled at the traffic lights or sat in the sun waiting for the school bell to ring, each time thinking about this post I have tried to point the finger of blame. To find the person or the reason that I feel my life and what I do with it is under constant expectation.

For a moment there I thought it was my parents. They left their country when I was very little to come and live a better life here, for both my sister and I. Surely, it was them that expected I do so much and achieve so much in the shadow of their sacrifice. Then I thought it was my ethnicity, a cultural background that demands I have a career, while I effortlessly juggle a house full of babies. I even managed to blame an entire generation, surely expectation is simply a fall out from the race we all seem to be running, to have the perfect life with the perfect balance.


But the resounding honesty is that it is not any of these. The only person I can justly point to, the only person who places so much expectation on my life – is me. It is just me. I am the person setting the toughest and at times most unrealistic expectations on my life. Slowly, but surely, one achievement and one failure at a time, I have become my own worst critic and with it I have continued to raise the stakes of what I expect from my life.

Perhaps expectation is not always a bad thing. At times this expectation has been the drive I have needed to work a little harder and chase a dream. But there have also been times when I have felt that I have fallen short of meeting these expectations and my self esteem has taken a battering when that happens. I know it is all about balance right? Striking that harmony where I can manage expectation so that it is not overwhelming. But what if it is more than that? Is it possible to eliminate expectation all together? To replace the once discontinuous cycle of expectation, duty and obligation – with contentment instead.


Freedom from expectation, is such a thing even possible? I think the possibility of it is more real than expectation itself. Expectations are only thoughts in our head, nothing more and nothing less. With all thoughts, we have the power to change them. We can allow them to live within our mind and dictate our lives. Or to eliminate them from the space that they occupy and free ourselves from the binds and shackles that they constrain us with.

Perhaps the best expectation to have is to have no expectations at all. To fill the space of crippling expectation, with appreciation and gratitude instead.


 What expectations do you have of yourself? Do you have the same expectations for others? Can we live without expectation?

The next Conversations over Coffee link will open on
Thursday April 24, 2014

Having a bit of fun with next months theme ~ Conversations with Superpowers ~ everyone is welcome x

  • LydiaCLee

    I don’t know if we can live without expectation, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the learning not to make them taint your experience in a negative way that’s the tricky part…

    • I think that is exactly it, learning to not let them taint our perception of life and ourselves – and no problem about next month! have fun while you are away xx

  • LydiaCLee

    Also I will be away next month, so will miss the Superpowers…(just in case you miss me and wonder why!)

  • Loree

    I agree that I, too, am my own worst critic and I’ve known to drive myself to the brink of insanity with expectations that I will never achieve. I think it is inherent in my nature but I also know that it’s time to be kinder to myself.

    • Loree I think that is something we all should learn to do – be kinder to ourselves, first and foremost xx

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    I think we are kindred spirits, Josefa. I am my own worst enemy with expectations also. We just need to try to find the right balance and forgive ourselves for being human. Beautifully written as always x

    • Renee, I think forgiveness is something so lacking, in our world, our lives, our society – I really think that perhaps things could be a little easier and a little less burdensome if there was more forgiveness. I loved your post today lovely xx

  • I think we really can be our own worst enemy when it comes to expectations. I often feel the weight of what I perceive to be others expectations of me, and need to remind myself I can only do the best I can each day. Today I’ve written about a time when I did let go of the expectations of being a mum for a short time, and the wonderful experience that it gave me. I just love your post Josefa, thank you for having me xx

    • I think so many of us struggle with what we perceive others expect of us – I know I do and it is perhaps one of my biggest downfalls. I really felt humbled by the moment you shared today on your post – brought tears to my eyes xx

  • I am also my own worst critic. But I think it makes me strive to be better, so not all expectations are burdens. (Except mother guilt. Nice segue, Em.)

    Superpowers sounds like fun! Thanks for hosting #convocoffee. x

    • Yes, I think I need to see expectation as a good thing at times and not always cumbersome – superpowers should be fun! Can’t wait to read what people come up with xx

  • I put great expectations on myself. Over time though I have learnt not to expect too much of others, be happily surprised when they exceed them instead of disappointed when they don’t even meet them.

  • Kathy

    I really like this post Josefa and will be sharing. I agree that we can lose expectations, and as much as we try to use the excuses of family duty, societal/generational pressures etc they are only the circumstances in which we create our own expectations – as you say, pure and simple, our own pattern of thoughts. Really like that Michael J Fox quote too. I might link up later, as I have something in mind to write on this topic but haven’t had the chance. X

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    Yep, it’s all about the gratitude.
    Conflict occurs when expectations fail to meet … with more gratitude, there’s definitely less conflict.
    Great post Josefa
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  • Fabulous post Josefa. Expectation is the root of all heartache is such a true statement. I used to put a lot of expectation on myself particularly to be all things to all people. Now I don’t and I am a much happier person for it. x

  • Bec | Mumma Tells

    An expectation that is unmanaged serves no benefit. And you are right in that this causes conflict. I too am learning how to balance them, as I do see their value. I’ve enjoyed reading so many perspectives on this through your conversations series. A great focus, Josefa.

  • This is so true. We are our own worst enemies sometimes with what we expect from ourselves (and sometimes others). Thanks for a lovely and thoughtful post

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    I totally agree with you. It’s amazing the weight of the expectations that we place on ourselves. I think we need expectations as something to strive for and guide ourselves, but its so important not to let them take over too! xxx

  • Mark Downey, Fullhalfglass

    Are expectations the same as goal setting?

    Either way, when all things are said and done I think this sums it up best “If it is to be it is up to me”

    Can it be this simple?

  • Denise Mooney

    It’s so true, we always expect more of ourselves than we do of others. I’m guilty of beating myself up when I don’t feel I’ve achieved all that I should. Thank you for the lovely post x

  • Maybe when we try to live really in the moment with mindfulness that can release us from expectations, which are more forward focussed. I really try to stay in the now, a wholesome mental health approach I think!

  • love this and love your quotes and the images 🙂

  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    I expect everything I do to be perfect and beat myself up when it isn’t. Rationally I KNOW it is stupid but I guess it is ingrained now.

© 2021 always josefa - designed by adelphimou