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7 Ways to Overcome Unrealistic Expectations: Self-Care Practice

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“Not everything will go as you expect in your life. This is why you need to drop your expectations and go with the flow of life.” Leon Brown

How do we overcome these unrealistic expectations many of us suffer from?

If you are anything like me it is a daily battle and I find myself constantly recovering from unrealistic expectations. It seems the more I fight expectations, the more they persist.

My Unrealistic Expectations

It happens daily, from my expectations that my house must be a certain way to how I live my life. And when things don’t measure up, I feel I have failed once again.

When my children have a dose of creativity and out come the paper, scissors, glue, and thousands of pieces of scrap paper—or whatever the day brings—the destruction overcomes me. This is when I flip out in rage because what I want in my mind and the reality is not measuring up.

My children, the little people who aren’t so little anymore, are these mess makers. I realize this opinion stems from my feeling out of control. A messy house to me equals a messy mind. Yet I envy how present they are in what they are doing. My expectations are getting in the way.

7 Ways to Overcome Unrealistic Expectations

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1. Notice

Notice when the unrealistic expectation arises, with or without judgment (preferably without judgment which can hold great challenges.) As we first notice the expectation arising we can be open to moving through it.

2. Accept

Accept this is what is happening. I have this expectation and it is not realistic. Even if it is saying a mantra to yourself I accept this, I accept this, I accept this. As you are noticing and being open to accepting this expectation, pause and notice this is not realistic in this moment. Ask yourself is this expectation even mine? Pause here, inhale and exhale.

3. Hold Space

Here is where resistance, anger, judgment, guilt, blame, and all of those low vibe emotions bubble up. Notice with an open accepting heart, it’s time to hold space for whatever is swirling around inside of your body and mind and sit or stand or move with it.

4. Investigate

Investigate where is this coming from? Am I feeling out of control? Is this my expectation or is this something I have been taught to do? Or am I triggered and I don’t even realize it?

With noticing on your side, and an openness to accepting these unrealistic expectations, hold space for what is happening inside of your body—do some searching. This can be a looking around and investigating, or a looking within, going inside and soul searching.

With our current need to label specific expectations on most things, make sure you are aware this can slip into this practice as well. Here is an opportunity to investigate and move through this expectation.

5. Compassion

Give yourself compassion, you are only human. With a hand on your heart, move from the need to be hard on yourself to giving yourself compassion. Turn compassion around on yourself. It’s time to give yourself the same compassion you give to your closest friends and family. You can do it, even if it’s hard.

6. Choose Again

Choose again, the choice to let go of this unrealistic expectation and the hold it has on you is in your power. We can deeply exhale, let go and then choose again. We can accomplish this by lightening our expectation load.

Whatever it may be, if the house is messy, flip your expectations. Help yourself out by delegating duties to each member who lives in the house. Or make a daily to-do list, and if you don’t check everything on the list, here is another chance to notice, accept, hold space, investigate, give yourself compassion and choose again.

You are only one person and you can’t expect yourself to do it all.

7. You Can Do Hard Things!

You can do hard things, and part of moving through these unrealistic expectations is moving into the hard moments.

We can do hard things by noticing, accepting this is happening, investigating where it is coming from, giving ourselves compassion, and finally choosing again.

Let Unrealistc Expectations Go

You will find most expectations are not realistic. And they will arise every day. Yet with the help of these seven ways we can move through unrealistic expectations. We can do this.

I believe in you because together we can do hard things!!!

Self-Care Practice Hold Space

Holding space for yourself can have great challenges, and even bigger rewards. The biggest part is to get out of your head and into your body.

Move with the breath, by focusing on the inhale and exhale without changing the pace or speed. Feel into your body. If focusing on breath brings frustration, tune into the beat of your heart or return to a mantra (repeating a new thought). Like I am holding space for myself, I am holding space for myself, I am holding space for myself.

You can hold space by starting at the top of the head and spiraling down into the body. This is not a thinking practice it’s a feeling practice.

For example, begin at the top of the head, and let your awareness move into the face and the back of the scalp. Flowing from there into the neck, and into the shoulders, spiraling into the biceps and triceps (the top and bottoms of arms) moving into the hands and into each individual finger.

Spiral down into the heart, feel into whatever your body is communicating with you. Follow the spiral into the torso, and down into the stomach, then into the hips and sit bones and flowing down into the legs, the ankles, feet, and toes. Here is another chance to notice without judgment and just feel into your body.

You did it! It is hard work doing what you did. This is part of waking up to your life. I love you and I am here holding space for you.


Shelly Bond

Read and Grow!



A Step by Step Guide to Let Go of Expectation

Photo Credit

Photo by nappy on

Photo by Matheus Natan on

Water color by Shelly Bond


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