A topic that has popped up a lot during my time with clients, friends, and family is living in a life of expectations.

Our society teaches from a very young age that we must put expectations on to others in order to receive the respect, love, and desires we want.

Boundaries in relationship

People even go as far as putting the same definition for expectations and boundaries.

I am here to let you know that they are very different. 

Let us first start with expectations. Expectations, according to Dictionary.com,

is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

Expectations are the passions, desires, and wants that we have in our lives. Often times I find expectations to be the things we put on others to fill the voids that have never been met. According to the book Boundaries, boundaries are the property lines for our emotions and mental health that distinguishes between your feelings and someone else’s. When we place expectations on others we are telling ourselves plus the other person, this must happen.

The issue many do not see is that the other person may not feel as passionate about your expectation, which in turn is why expectations so often get unmet.

Another reason our expectations get unmet is because we do not voice them. We look at our partner and expect them to know when we are sad, angry, or hurt. We expect others to know our emotional limitations. I know your probably thinking well my boundaries aren’t always important to the other people. If you are thinking that you are absolutely correct.

The difference is boundaries keep us safe, much like physical boundaries. Expectations give no property line to another person. They simply voice unmet desires. 

The next question I often get is, “O.k. Amanda if I don’t live with expectations then what do I do instead?” The answer is to change our perspective from expectations to expectancy. This still allows for our desires to be expressed to another person, however they do not place as much pain upon us when the desire isn’t met. The definition of expectancy according to dictionary.com

is the state of thinking or hoping that something will happen.

Expectations are a demand. Which is why I encourage you to move to a place of expectancy. When we change our mind to place our desires in expectancy we allow for hope. Hope allows for patience and love to the people in our lives and less of a blow when things aren’t always done the way we want. In this time where we are forced to be with our loved ones more than ever I hope this helps ease the tension that may sometimes be felt.