How to ignore the expectations of others and find your own way

Expectations life purpose happiness

You give life a purpose yourself,

and you can redefine it every day anew.


- Ludovico de Rogatis -





Often in life you are controlled by others and the decisions you make are not always your own. But why is that? After all, we are not always aware of it. We just do what we do because that's the way it has always been done or because others expect it from us. I will show you how to awaken, how to break the chains and go your own way.







Other people's expectations


One of the first and most important things to do, to deal with a problem, is to first become aware of what the problem actually is. As I have often noticed in conversations, and as you probably have, many people think they have to do this or that. They MUST and they have no other choice. But this is not true at all.


There's only one thing we all must do, and that's dying. We do everything else because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Of course it doesn't have to be anything bad, but we should understand that we don't have to meet the expectations of others. And others always have expectations. Parents in particular want a lot from their children, even if it doesn't meet their own wishes. 


Society also constantly urges us to act in a particular way. For example, people look at you funny if you don't have an Instagram profile these days, or the latest smartphone, wearing the clothes that everyone wears, etc. You should do the things that are important to you and not the things that everybody does. "Everybody else is doing it too" - is a phrase you should delete. You don't have to be a rebel, just decide for yourself what you like and what you don't like.


Don't force yourself into a position where you're just doing everything you can to get some attention. If you listen to your heart and go your own way with confidence, you will find like-minded people. You don't have to be "cool" or "hip" just because your friends expect it. Do not put yourself down! As a teenager, such behavior is still appropriate, because  the validation of your environment is very important and this is fine in that case. But as soon as you are an adult, you should get rid of such behavior patterns.


You bend for friends and partners because they might be offended if you don't do things the way they want you to. It's not because everyone is evil and only looking out for their own good. Of course not! There are many people who are insightful, emphatic and loving, but not everyone. And you should start to make your own decisions independently of other people.


So step 1 is to realize the fact:


You don't have to do anything. You do whatever YOU think is necessary.


Clearly, this is not possible in every area in a simple way. If you need money for food and you don't go to work because you don't feel like it, then food will become tight. It is important to distinguish here. It's about not letting yourself be pushed into a life just because that is what is expected of you. That's very often seen with young people. They go to school because their parents want them to, then they choose a course of study or education that their parents think is best and finally you do a job that you never really wanted to do.


Listen to your positive inner voice and ask yourself more often:


Am I doing this because I really want to or because it's expected of me?








The inner critic



The expectations of others often manifest themselves in our minds, as a kind of voice. Let us call it the inner voice. It exists in a good form in which it speaks well to us or simply verbalizes our thoughts. But there is also an evil, nasty and annoying version. Let us call it the Inner Critic. This critic will criticize us, discourage us and condemn us.



Examples can be:

  • You are not enough
  • You are lazy
  • You'll never make it.
  • You have no talent
  • Others are ashamed of you...


First of all: The critic is wrong! Always! Even if you're lazy, he has no right to talk to you that way. Or since it is your own inner voice, you should take care not to talk to yourself like that. Nobody should!


The problem is quite easy to solve. It's about realizing first of all that this inner critic exists and that he is NOT your friend. This is often the problem, that you don't even realize that this voice is there. Everyone knows it in some way, but have you ever perceived it as such.  Now you know that it is there and you know its attitude. Give it a name. Something ridiculous would be good: "Ulfbert" or "The annoying Henriette" (At this point I'd like to apologize to all Ulfberts and Henriettes. Please do not take it personally :-P)


So ignore the inner critic or counter him by saying, "You may be right this time, but I will do better next time! Now shut up, Ulfbert!" If you're shy, lazy, fat, clumsy or whatever. That's the way it is. You can change it if it seems important to you, but it doesn't help a bit if someone makes you feel guilty on top of it all and judges you. Ignore him, please!











You can and should do whatever you want. Realize, as described in the first paragraph, that many of your actions, consciously and unconsciously, are guided by the expectations of others. When you have achieved this, detach yourself from your inner critic, or train yourself that he has no more power over you. We would hardly consider people who aren't nice to us as friends, or further take any advice from them. So let the critic just grumble. He's a typical Ulfbert!


It helps immensely to find your own path in life and to follow it. That's why I have linked the appropriate article at the end "How to find the meaning and purpose of your life". If you find your purpose in life it's an amazing thing, but remember one thing:




Your path in life is meant for you.

It's your life and only you can be happy,

through the things that give you pleasure.




That means that you should just do what you feel like doing more often. And you shouldn't care what other people think about it. You don't have to give everyone the finger, but everyone should have the respect and decency to let you do what you want. You're not a child anymore, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article, but a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm instead. (Although I must admit that I still read them)


A happy life almost always fails because of fear. The fear of disappointing others, the fear of not succeeding, the fear of not becoming a millionaire and and and and... And here's my advice to you:


You don't have to!


Find your passion and enjoy it. You don't have to paint to become the new Picasso. You don't have to play guitar to become the new Hendrix. And you don't have to sell books just because you like to write some funny stories. You don't have to be an entrepreneur, actor, bestselling author or anything else. You just have to do what fulfills you in your life.  


You often read that the only paths to success are the following: 

  • get up at 5 am
  • Training
  • Meditate
  • Read
  • Create ToDo list
  • 8 hours of work


Sure this may help if you have a certain goal and it can be recommended, but it is not the universal solution. And you can also become successful if you do not follow this plan. Many multimillionaires have never visited a gym and never meditated. They have made the right decisions at the right time and possibly met the right people. There is no general recipe for life.


What there is though, is the advice that you do what you want to do. So pick your goal. If it's a big one, like building a giant business, then you should actually copy some of the characteristics of successful business people. But is that what you really want deep inside???

It's your life, so live it your way.








Concluding words:



It's important to first understand that not everything is done "voluntarily". Often you have been pushed into situations, jobs, partnerships etc. And in many cases you are not aware of it. It's certainly not all bad, what the society / parents / partners expect from you, but start to listen to your inner voice as well. And that means the POSITIVE one! The voice of your heart, which gives you strength and helps you to find your passions. Not the voice of the inner critic. He just wants to annoy you! Give him little attention.


So remember that you can decide for yourself and that you should do so again and again everyday. Your own needs should not remain in the dark. Bring them to the surface and understand their importance. You should just do what makes you happy. Even if it's only for a moment. Live a successful life, but always listen to your needs. You can put aside all restrictions. You are never too old, too stupid, too clumsy or anything else. Maybe you just need a little more practice or it's just not your thing. How many things do you think I'm not talented in? That's just the way it is. No need to be sad. Keep going your own way, because only you can make it. Others may help you or not, but you yourself should make everything as colorful as possible. 




I hope the article was helpful for you. If so, please share it, so others like you can benefit from it. I wish you the best.







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