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Overcoming Others' Expectations, a Primer to Help You Live Life Honestly

Part 1 of a 2-part Series to help you overcome factors preventing assertiveness.

ex·​pect | \ ik-ˈspekt \ | transitive verb

adjective: expected

  • to consider probable or certain.

  • to consider reasonable, due, or necessary.

  • to consider bound in duty or obligated.

ex·pec·ta·tion | /ˌekspekˈtāSH(ə)n/ | noun

plural noun: expectations

  • a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

People-pleasing is deceit of self and others that rejects ownership of your gift of life (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Saying no to others can be challenging. Perhaps the challenge comes from a combination of not knowing when to say no or how. Or maybe, the difficulty lies in their relationship with you. Ultimately, people give in to others' expectations due to a lack of knowledge.

Regardless of the contributing factors, consistently agreeing to others' expectations against your interests signals a need for change. Therefore, a change or increase in knowledge of self and relational patterns is vital. Know that it is possible to challenge your and others’ expectations of you so that you can live every day with wellness.

Why do I have a hard time saying no to other people's expectations?

Assertive communication is one goal of healthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships begin and persist due to unclear and unexpressed expectations maintained by passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive communication. Low self-awareness also contributes to the beginning and maintenance of dysfunctional relationships. This applies to the relationship with yourself and the relationships with your partner, friends, coworkers, and employer.

Understanding your values, strengths, and interests is a great place to start to live better by the beliefs you have about your life and future. Low awareness of relational patterns is another factor contributing to the beginning and maintenance of ineffective communication in relationships. Have you taken time to reflect on your life lately? Doing so can reveal what you do and do not want to continue to happen based on observations of unhealthy patterns.

You may ask “Is it wrong to help people?”. To want to support others in their time of need? No. That’s not at all the point here. The problem is when supporting others is prioritized at the expense of supporting yourself. You may have heard by now that ‘no’ is a complete sentence and boundaries can help with saying no. But what does it mean to say no to the spoken and often unspoken binds of duty compelling you to please others? What is the impact? The impact, among other things, is frustration, disappointment, resentment, guilt, anxiety, depression, and trauma. You deserve better!

Maintaining the Status Quo

How does continuing to live by others’ expectations serve you? What exactly do you gain from consistently being the person to ensure everyone is happy? Self-reflection may be challenging, but it’s necessary to stop and understand this dynamic. You pleasing others at the expense of disowning your own needs only persists because there is some benefit to you. Now is a good time to consider the benefit and make a change or accept that things will continue as they always have.

Final Thoughts

Assertive communication is a major goal of healthy relationships. Deceiving yourself and others through excessive unwanted people-pleasing prevents this from happening. Challenging the status quo may be daunting but necessary if you want to feel reciprocated in your relationships. It’s not your responsibility to preemptively medicate someone’s response to your expectations. Your responsibility is to create the life you want, which starts with knowing who you are at a deeper level. Giving your support to others is not necessarily harmful. It is, however, if you consistently feel frustration and disappointment due to others’ inaccurate considerations of your future duty to them. Give yourself support first. Take time to reflect on your values, strengths, and interests. Be honest and kind with yourself so you can be honest and kind with others and live life honestly.

What did you learn from this article? Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


I can't deal with pressure and expectations! - MHA Screening. MHA Screening. (2020). Retrieved 21 September 2022, from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Deceit. In dictionary. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from

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