Are you in the expectation gap?

Before you read this, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:

“Is my life/current situation in life what I expected it to be 3 or 5 years ago?”

“Am I struggling to have good relationships with others because they do not meet my expectation of them?”

The expectation gap can be defined as ‘the difference between where you are now and where you’d like to be.’

Expectations can have a profound effect on how we see our lives and how we see and treat others. I believe that there are two major components to the expectation gap; imagination and comparison.


This tends to be looking at life from a “what could have been” angle. So instead of appreciating what we do have, we spend our time and energy imagining what we could have done and what could have been. This is problematic because the focus is on the past and not on the future. If you want to change circumstances and situations you need to look and plan ahead.


As Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. A lot of people fall in to the expectation gap because they spend their time comparing themselves to others and expecting their lives to turn out the same. This is extremely detrimental because as I have always said, everyone is on a different path. And although these paths may intersect and sometimes align, they will never be identical. Comparison wastes time and energy and takes the focus away from yourself and your future.

A lot of us experience the expectation gap because we spend time dwelling on the past and comparing ourselves to others. This is a dangerous path that can lead to regret, unhappiness, feelings of being unworthy and much more.

So how can we get ourselves out of the expectation gap or avoid it altogether?

  1. Develop an attitude of gratitude

Being grateful is free. Aren’t you tired of constantly complaining and viewing life from one lens? Learning to appreciate what you do have and using the resources at your disposal might just be the key.

  1. Understand that expectations cannot and will not always align with reality

Maybe it’s time to stop putting a heavy emphasis on your expectations and understand that “life happens.” Remember that you are on a journey and sometimes it may lead to a rocky road, but you’ll reach the other side in one piece.

  1. Don’t allow your expectations of others to cloud your judgement about them

We are all different and we cannot place certain expectations on others, remembering this should give you a certain inner peace.

  1. Take control

Have you ever thought about why your expectations do not align with your reality? Maybe it’s time to take control of your life and start changing certain habits or routines so that you can get a more favourable outcome the next time you compare your expectations and your reality. As I said in a previous blog post – it all starts in the mind. Change your thought process and watch your life change.

Don’t let unhappiness prevail because the expectations you had for your life or your relationships are not fulfilled. Instead act and work harder to close the expectation gap.

Now ask yourself “what can I do differently from today so that my reality 3 years from now can be more aligned with my expectations (or goals) for the future?


7 thoughts on “Are you in the expectation gap?

  1. Thank you Theodora for sharing this subject on “imagination & expectations “, it is well written.
    From a Biblical point of view that state “let this mind be in you as in Christ Jesus” . With the mind of Christ, you will not imagine vain things, you will not dwell in anyone failed expectations ( either of your own or others) to the detriment of one’s health.
    Furthermore,, the Holly Bible pointed it out that “comparing themselves together are not wise” . As you have quoted “thief of joy” that will not be the only result eventually comparing oneself or others could lead to death.

    Liked by 1 person

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