Updated: Feb 3
We set the highest expectations of ourselves. We measure success based on these expectations.
Yes, there are certain expectations we set for ourselves or others that are reasonable: brush your teeth, or if you work, there is an expectation that you work X number of hours or dress a certain way. Those are not the kinds of expectations I'm talking about here.
The word expectation in my world is a negative one. If I don't meet my high expectations, I am a failure and a disappointment. It's not to those around me but to myself. I have always been this way, even as a child. I have always felt that I don't meet people's expectations. Of course, this is in my head and not reality.
Let's face it the majority of us set our expectations way too high. Maybe we think we aren't as successful because we aren't worth it. It may be based on what we perceive that others around us are accomplishing. It's not that we don't want others to succeed; it's about a feeling of being less than others. It's that need to feel significant and successful. To quote the drag queen Katya: "I'm bombarded with a cacophony of demonic voices in my head telling me YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH."
FULL STOP: YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!!!!
Many of my issues come from the idea that I am not worthy. As I write this, I am far from that way of thinking, so you don't need to worry about me today. It is something I have worked on and through. It has taken a lot of self-talk, learning to love myself (like I said last week), forgiveness, and the willingness to be flexible and tweaking as I go along.
Now I'm not saying you shouldn't set goals for yourself. That isn't what I'm talking about here. I prefer using goals instead of expectations, but goals, just like expectations, need to be achievable, reasonable and adaptable. Remember, there are so many things beyond your control (weather, other people, a global pandemic) that flexibility and kindness are key.
If you don't reach or surpass that goal, it's okay. Assess why with a kind, logical and less critical eye. Look at how much of that goal you did accomplish. Maybe that goal was a little unrealistic. Look that happens to all of us. Perhaps if it is a pattern in your life, you need to have a conversation with yourself about the goals or expectations. Usually, in working through it, you learn a few things:
That where you are now from where you started is amazing. You may have surpassed yourself from previous iterations of this same goal. Usually, in working through it, you learn a few things:
You may be setting yourself goals that aren't reasonable at this time. It doesn't mean those things aren't reachable at some point, but that's down the road. Live in the now. Be proud of what you have accomplished.
Maybe setting a timeframe for these goals isn't the best thing because it adds stress that makes it more complicated emotionally. I'm not talking about goals like applying for a job that has a deadline. I'm talking about self-inflicted deadlines.
Ask yourself why you constantly choose high goals that may be unrealistic. You may realize that you are subconsciously setting yourself up to fail.
For me, the fourth point is vital. I could see that I purposely set myself up for failure and misery because I didn't believe in myself. It wouldn't matter what people who love me would say or think; it was still down to how I felt about myself.
Nowadays, I look at the big picture of what I want to achieve. It gets assessed as to whether it's achievable in the near future. I look at the small manageable steps I need to complete and start there. One has to be flexible as you go along because sometimes life gets in the way. And flexibility has saved me from many a heartbreaking moment.
I need to know who I am in my inner depths to achieve great things. But my great things aren't the same as anyone else's. I also believe that we are all here for a purpose. But not everyone's purpose is the same. It can be hard and messy to figure out what it is, but the second step after loving yourself is to understand that you are worthy of achieving your goals and discovering your place in this world. It sounds scary, I know, but if we all loved ourselves and believed in our worth, the world would be such a better place.