High Expectations Can Affect Mental Health

High Expectations Can Affect Mental Health

Vanesa Garcia Vasquez

We tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and sometimes other people set high expectations for us. When we set expectations for ourselves, we see them as goals and achievements we want to accomplish in life, but when others set expectations for us, we tend to see a demand rather than a goal. In a HarleyTherapy article, they state how forcing an unrealistic outcome from things can often lead to disappointment. We may expect something to go a certain way, but when that doesn’t turn out how we expected, we tend to be disappointed in ourselves. In this article, they mentioned how having certain expectations of others can blind you to what they can actually offer you. This can result in troubled relationships, intimacy issues, and loneliness. They also mentioned that high expectations can change our response to little things. For example, if you set your mindset to have everything go your way and for everything to be easy for you, then it can result in being upset when something goes wrong.


HarleyTherapy shared some psychological issues that connect with high expectations. These issues are perfectionism, low self-esteem, negative core beliefs, fear of intimacy, and fear of failure and change. When you are used to setting high expectations, it’s a learned habit from growing up with a parent who expects nothing but the best from you. WebMD stated how most of the expectations we have, we don’t even know about because they are modeled after parents, authority figures, and different life experiences. When an expectation is unrealistic it can create friction, misunderstandings, and frustration rather than realistic expectations where you can be encouraged to overcome obstacles and chase your dreams. They also mentioned that failing to set realistic expectations can lead to frustration, self-judgment, and depression.


BusinessChicks shared a quote saying “Expectations influence how we think and behave, and how others behave towards us- all of which determine what happens in our lives.” Expectations can influence how other people treat us and how we treat others. Thoughts can influence outcomes which can encourage self-blaming, which is linked to unrealistic expectations. The APA said that parental expectations and criticism can connect with perfectionism within students which can result in damaged mental health. Lead researcher Thomas Curran says “Perfectionism contributes to many psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, self-harm, and eating disorders.” These types of expectations can lead to disorders later in life.


It is important to set goals to later accomplish in life. However, it is also important to keep your mental health in check. Make sure that these achievements aren’t too much for yourself and that you can handle the stress that comes with being successful. Don’t feel like just because you failed at one thing you can’t accomplish anything. If you’re someone who tends to set high expectations for others, make sure to not put pressure on them as this may affect them and cause stress, leading them in risk of increasing mental disorders later in life.