Are These Unrealistic Expectations Leading To Frustration?

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 year ago

Dr John Demartini explains how to address the 15 unrealistic expectations that may be the cause of your emotional reactions, feelings of depression and unfulfillment.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 year ago

After working with hundreds of thousands of attendees and clients at the seminars I present or in the consulting I do around the world, I have found a series of common unrealistic expectations that undermine an individual’s overall level of fulfillment.

These unrealistic expectations consistently lead to what I have initially observed and later coined the A B C D E F G H I's of Negativity:

  • Anger | Aggression
  • Blame | Betrayal
  • Criticism | Challenge
  • Despair | Depression
  • Exit | Escape
  • Frustration | Futility
  • Grouchiness | Grief
  • Hatred | Hurt
  • Irritability | Irrationality

Any time you have an unrealistic expectation of yourself or others, your psychology and physiology will let you know by providing emotional or physiological feedback. In other words, your unrealistic expectations will result in your feelings/actions from this alphabet toward yourself or others.

15 Unrealistic Expectations

Here are 15 unrealistic expectations that may result in feelings of negativity, unfulfillment, frustration, and depression:

1. Expecting another individual to be one-sided

Expecting others to be one-sided is unrealistic because a one-sided individual does not exist.

Think of it this way. If I was to come up to you and said:

"You're always nice, never mean; always kind, never cruel; always generous, never stingy; always giving, never taking; always considerate, never inconsiderate; always peaceful, never wrathful; always positive, never negative," your ‘internal psychostat’, or intuition would let you know this was untrue and that you have another complementary opposite side to you immediately.

In the same way, if I said:

"You're always mean, never nice; always cruel, never kind; always negative, never positive; always wrathful, never peaceful; always stingy, never generous; always taking, never giving; always inconsiderate, never considerate," your same intuition would once again remind you of your other side immediately.

For example, I'm not a nice individual, and I'm not a mean individual. I'm a human being with a set of values that can be as nice as a pussycat if I perceive you to be supportive of what’s most important to me or what I also refer to as my most important or highest values. If I perceive you to be challenging my highest values, I can be as mean as a tiger.

Suppose you begin a relationship with someone you expect to be always nice, kind, and positive. That unrealistic expectation can't be met. As a result, when they inevitably reveal their other side to you, you may then experience anger and aggression towards them, perhaps even blaming them and feeling betrayed.

You may criticize them and feel challenged, depressed, and despaired because they're not living up to your fantasy or expectation, your delusion

Anytime you expect someone to be one-sided, you have a delusion. 

You may end up wanting to escape them or exit the relationship.

You may be frustrated and feel that the relationship is futile, perhaps even grouchy or grieving the loss of the fantasy individual you've made them out to be.

You may hate them and want to hurt them, maybe even feel irritable and irrational.

These are all the A B C D E F G H I's of negativity, which are compensation for an unrealistic expectation of someone to be one-sided.

They're not going to be. No human being will be consistently one-sided. Neither will you.

Anyone that portrays that they are one-sided is usually covering up and repressing the other side.

Eventually, their other side will surface. Whatever is suppressed will end up being expressed to the same degree as it was repressed.




2. Expecting another individual to live in your values instead of living in their own values or having an unrealistic expectation for them to live outside their values

Every individual has a set of priorities, a set of values, things that are most to least important in their life that are unique to them.

Anytime you expect someone to live outside their hierarchy of values and possibly in yours or someone else's, you have an unrealistic expectation that's guaranteed to create the A B C D F G H I's of negativity.

If you know what their highest values are, that's where the highest probability of their behavior is. They are reliable, dedicated, and trustworthy only in their highest values.

For example, my highest value is teaching, and my second highest value is researching, so you will most likely find me spending most of my day teaching and researching.

However, if you expect me to cook or drive a car, I will let you down because those are way lower values that I have delegated or just don't do.

So, anytime you expect me to live in your values, which are different than mine, I'm most likely to let you down. Betrayal is not what others do to you. Betrayal is what you set yourself up for when you expect others to live outside their highest values or live in your values.

Because I know my values, I won't promise something that's not in my values. And if I know your values, I won't likely expect something that's not in your values.

For this reason, it's wise to identify both your own highest values and those of others you care about which you can do by completing my online Value Determination Process.

When you can see how what they're dedicated to is helping you fulfill what you're dedicated to, you're more likely to have realistic expectations and not expect them to live in your values but in their own.


3. A combination of unrealistic expectations #1 and #2

These two unrealistic expectations bring about a compound feedback response.

Others will not live long-term in a one-sided manner or live according to your highest values.

Having this unrealistic expectation is most likely to result in the A B C D E F G H I's of anger and aggression, blame and betrayal, criticism and challenge, despair and depression, exit and escape, frustration and futility, grouchiness and grief, hatred and hurt, irritability and insanity, or irritability and irrationality.

All of those are symptoms or feedback that you have unrealistic expectations.

Others will not be one-sided or live in your values because they're not designed to.

They want to be loved and appreciated for who they are, and who they are revolves around what they value most, their highest values.

So, if you know what those are, you know what to expect from them realistically.


4. An unrealistic expectation of yourself to be one-sided

I spent two solid years of research on my own life to see if I could stay positive, be nice and kind all of the time.

I kept track four times a day, every single day for two years, and found that I could not live in a purely one-sided manner.

I discovered that I have a homeostat or psychostat that kept me in equilibrium, in a balance between the two sides. So, I wasn't positive all the time, nor negative all the time.

Instead, I was sometimes positive and sometimes negative; kind and sometimes cruel; supportive and sometimes challenging; peaceful and sometimes wrathful; cooperative and sometimes competitive. And all the other possible pairs of complementary opposite behaviors known.

It was incredibly liberating when I finally realized that I'm all the above and don't need to get rid of half of myself to love myself.

However, suppose you have an unrealistic expectation of yourself to be only positive, which some positive self-help programs or gurus are trying to get you to do. In that case, you're most likely to frustrate yourself because that will not be real, obtainable or sustainable.

It's an unrealistic expectation, but it sells. Anything that sells dopamine that makes individuals feel that there's going to be a high with more pleasure than pain, they'll tend to buy. It doesn't mean that it's true; it's just the opium of the masses.

Again, when you perceive that your highest values are being supported, it will bring out one side of you (your so called ‘nice’ side).

When you perceive your highest values are being challenged or threatened, it will bring out the other side of you (your so called ‘mean’ side).




5. An unrealistic expectation of yourself to live outside your highest values and inside others' highest values

Emerson stated, envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide.

Anytime you expect yourself to live outside your own hierarchy of values and in somebody else's values, you're going to beat yourself up because that's what you're designed to do to bring you back to your authentic self.

Albert Einstein put it so well when he said that if you're a cat expecting to swim like a fish, you'll beat yourself up.

If you're a fish expecting to climb a tree like a cat, you will beat yourself up.

But if you honor that you're a cat, you'll climb a tree like a master.

I'd rather have the whole world against me than my own soul. I have no desire to be someone other than myself. I hope you give yourself permission to be you too.


6. A combination of unrealistic expectations #4 and #5

This is when you have an unrealistic expectation of yourself to be one-sided; and to live outside your highest values and inside someone else's values.

Now you’re compounding the A B C D E F G H I’s of Negativity.


7. A combination of numbers #1 through #6 - an unrealistic expectation of yourself and others to be one-sided, and yourself and others to live outside of your or their values

You now have even more reasons to be angry and aggressive and experience blame and betrayal because you're angry with them or yourself. You may feel that they betrayed you or that you betrayed yourself.

These A B C D E F G H I's of Negativity result from unrealistic expectations.

The more you accumulate these unrealistic expectations, the more depressed your life is because depression is a comparison of your current life to a fantasy, an unrealistic expectation you're holding on to.

I've worked with hundreds of clinical cases of depression, and I have not seen a clinical depression case that is purely the result of biochemical imbalances. Biochemical imbalances may be correlative but not causal.

Instead, it's most often the result of subconsciously stored unrealistic expectations and wounds of the past, and trying to escape them, disassociate, and set up the fantasy of a one-sided world. These unrealistic expectations alter neural chemistry.

The most depressed individuals I know are the individuals looking for a one-sided world of happiness.

Combining unrealistic expectations #1 through #6 can lead to depression.


8. An unrealistic expectation of the universe, the collective society, and the world, in general, to be one-sided

You may have a fantasy about how society is supposed to be. Yet, if you research the global peace index, you'll discover that:

  • Peace and war have been balanced since the inception of this index many decades ago.
  • There's the law of eristic escalation making sure that whatever group of individuals is promoting something, another group of an opposite nature is promoting the opposite.
  • There's a spectrum of value systems in society. For everything you stand for, there'll be someone that stands against it: pro-life, pro-abortion, pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, pro-democrats, pro-republicans, and so on.

So, if you expect the world to be one-sided, that will be a delusion.

You need both support and challenge, agreement and disagreement to keep you growing.

Maximum growth and development occur at the border of those two, not one side.

That's why trying to get rid of half of yourself and half of your loved ones and getting rid of half the world is futile.

You're not here to get rid of anything.

You're here to learn how to love and appreciate both sides because they keep you stable.

If someone only supported you and never challenged you, you would become juvenilely dependent upon them.

If somebody only challenged you and never supported you, you become precociously independent.

But if you put the two together simultaneously, you become a perfect growth process.



That's why maximum growth and development occur at the border of those two.

In the same way, if you have prey without predator, you'd be glutinous and fat instead of fit. As such, you'd be the perfect target for a predator attack.

If you had a predator without prey, you would be emaciated and starving.

You need both prey and predator, support and challenge, nice and mean, positive and negative, and all pairs of opposites in your life to grow maximally.


9. An unrealistic expectation on society, the collective, to live in your values

Expecting the entire society around you to live in your highest values is delusional.

With everyone having a unique set of values, expecting others to live according to your highest value is certainly unrealistic.

There's a spectrum of individuals with complete opposite sets of values, and their belief is just as valid as yours. They're both needed.

Others can only make decisions according to their own highest values and not yours.


10. A combination of unrealistic expectations # 8 and #9

Here you’re assuming that the world is supposed to be one-sided, and that world is supposed to live in your values.

11. A combination of expectations #1 - #10

These 11 unrealistic expectations are likely to lead to feelings of depression.

If you take someone who is depressed, you're most likely to find that these patterns of unrealistic expectation underline their reality.

They may perceive that the world should support their fantasies and unrealistic expectations. While there may be a biochemical imbalance, I believe it is correlated instead of causal.

For example, should a tiger leap into the room and try to eat you, your cortisol levels would escalate dramatically. Not because you have an imbalance but because your body responds to your perception.

When you clear and dissolve subconsciously stored perceptions in your past that affect your neurochemistry, you begin to master and stabilize your mind and your life.


12. Unrealistic expectations of mechanical objects to be one-sided

You may expect your laptop to support you and never challenge you - the same with your banking app or garage remote.

To expect your mechanical devices to support you without challenging you would also be unrealistic.

Phones can set you free and, at the same time, can constrain you to your office.

Cars provide free mobility but add to traffic jams that limit your mobility.

13. Unrealistic expectation of mechanical objects to live inside your highest values

Expecting current machines to align with your highest values is unrealistic.


14. The next unrealistic expectation is those two together

Expecting current machines to read your mind and only do what aligns with your highest values is unrealistic.

15. A combination of unrealistic expectations #1 through #14

Suppose you have any of these 15 unrealistic expectations or multitudes of them. In that case, you will likely have a frustrating and somewhat depressing life.

When your life or reality doesn’t match your fantasy, you'll tend to want life to change instead of your perceptions and expectations to change.


To sum up:


  • There are 15 key unrealistic expectations that lead to the A B C D E F G H I's of negativity:
    • Anger | Aggression
    • Blame | Betrayal
    • Criticism | Challenge
    • Despair | Depression
    • Exit | Escape
    • Frustration | Futility
    • Grouchiness | Grief
    • Hatred | Hurt
    • Irritability | Insanity or Irritability | Irrationality
  • In my signature two-day program, the Breakthrough Experience, I teach individuals how to uncover any unrealistic expectations and how to dissolve them. As long as you have unrealistic expectations, are not living by your highest values, and are not setting objectives that are balanced and true, you'll likely experience many of the A B C D E F G H I's of negativity, which may lead to depression.
  • The next time you feel unfulfilled, review the above list and see which one or more of them may be underlying your current feelings of dissatisfaction. Setting realistic, objective expectations can set you free from unnecessary feelings and allow you to fulfill what you truly value most.


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