It Is Not Appearances That Are Misleading, But Expectations

It is not appearances that are deceptive, but expectations

Great expectations sometimes end in sad disillusionment. This is what happens very often with some people on whom we place a whole series of hopes and desires, so that everything crumbles day after day like a house of cards. This shows us that sometimes it is not appearances that are deceptive, but the expectations that we have.

It is quite possible that many of our readers will tell themselves that having high expectations in life is a necessary thing, a motivation, a risky place where we place our confidence in ourselves and the feeling of deserving something. better thing. In fact, we know that when faced with a specific task,  high expectations generate greater brain activity and widen our range of responses.


“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he will never be disappointed.”

-Alexander Pope-


Good,  but the problem is not in the motivation they create: it is in the allegation we make and in the skill with which we disguise the risk they entail. In fact, whether we believe it or not, a large portion of the population places their level of expectations well above reality. This is a very common practice; we all know someone who is eternally disappointed because others don’t adjust to the unattainable peak of their expectations.

Living in the lonely shallows of the desire for a perfect existence, an ideal romantic relationship, and devoted friends can only lead to sadness. It amounts  to falling into the eternal trap of “I deserve the best”, without knowing that the best is not necessarily perfection  but rather something that we must work on every day, together. , to achieve real, sincere and satisfying happiness.

The trap of expectations, a spider’s web that imprisons us

It is often said that  our idea of ​​ourselves is developed from the concepts that others have of us throughout our life cycle. Our parents, teachers, teachers, friends and co-workers have woven this subtle cloak where the image we have of ourselves is often found. If we add to that the expectations that a person builds about those around them, we will realize the strange spider web on which we walk on a daily basis.

Think for a moment about this strange irony:  we are, in large part, what others expect of us, but when others don’t act the way we would like, we despair. This is the height of sadness.

It is also a reality that is often found in couple relationships, where it is normal to place very high and very rigid hopes in the other person, such as a self-imposed scenario in which we wait for the other person to do, say and offer what we want to reaffirm ourselves.

Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology at Swarthmore University and author of books such as  “Why more is less?” explains to us that when it comes to romantic or friendly relationships,  we should save our expectations or, more than limit them, focus them on ourselves.

This phrase that we often hear, never expect anything from others but only from yourself”  undoubtedly has a very real basis. We should be able to invest in our own personal growth to stop looking for hypothetically perfect and ideal people; we should first give the best version of ourselves.

The Michelangelo effect

Much of personal development books remind us that  “the best is yet to come”, that “what we deserve is just around the corner”. There is no doubt that these types of approaches fill us with illusions and hope, opening us up to better opportunities over and over again. However, we must take these ideas with care, for a very real reason:  Thinking that there can always be something better can plunge us into an eternal and fruitless search,  into an endless wait where we can find something too much. illusory and intangible.


“When a person’s expectations are reduced to zero, they can truly appreciate all they have.”

-Stephen Hawking-


In relation to this idea, it would be good to reflect on what is known as the Michelangelo effect. When Michelangelo, the wonderful painter, architect and sculptor of the Renaissance, saw a block of marble or stone, he could already distinguish in it a sleeping being that he had to wake up. The magic was there, contained, concealed, latent. He had only to take his tools and, step by step, edge by edge, gradually sculpt his magnificent work with delicate patience, genius, originality and care.

Therefore, expectations are always good if they are realistic and act as motivators. However, let’s not forget  that the best relationships are the ones that you work on day in and day out,  because that’s how the perfection of a bond is born. This is how the magic of an ideal relationship is born, with this daily work to file corners, to sculpt common spaces, to create those corners where one can rest and those reliefs that define a unique friendship or a special love.

Because beyond appearances and great expectations, we find the humble beauty of anyone who deserves to be discovered with delicate patience and firm commitment, over time.

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