Have you ever had expectations for yourself or let someone else make expectations for you that were unattainable? I know I have. I've done this both to myself and I've let someone else make expectation for me that were unreachable and quite frankly unbearable.
As a young woman, I that thought I had to get everything done in one day. I would drive myself crazy! If things weren't perfect; whether it be the house, the work project, the clothes, etc, it wasn't good enough. I was just getting over these crazy expectations when I married my late husband. His need for everything to be perfect and look perfect to the outside world did not help me break free from unrealistic expectations in fact, I was captive to even more unrealistc expectations. He demanded a disproportionate about of time and attention from me. He also demanded that certain things in our home be a certain way. I did my best to meet these expectations to survive that marriage. Looking back, these expectations were all a part of the abuse I was dealing with at the time - althought I do not believe I fully understood that at the time. They were also a symptom of long unmet expectations of love and acceptance for him.
What can we do if we have locked ourselves into unrealistic expectations?
If you have locked yourself into unrealistic expectations, take a look at what is really important to you and focus on those things. You only have so many hours in a day so focus on what would be the most productive things that need to be done and leave the rest for another day. If you need to tell yourself "no", you have the freedom to do so. I can tell you from experience not everything has to be done in one day. If you rush projects or people, you may not get the best quality either - you will get a "hurried up and finished" effort. What has yet to be done will still be waiting for you tomorrow. I promise you, it's not going anywhere.
What about that other person that tries to lock us into unrealistic expectations? The best thing you can do in this situation is say "no." You must learn to say "no." The word "no" sets appropriate boundaries for you and others. When people know you will tell them "no" and stick by it, they will be less likley to attempt to put expectations on you that aren't your responsibility. I would also advise you to let people know what you can do, your "yes" and stick to your "yes." Sticking to your "yes" allows others to see that you are willing to work with them within reason. Most people will respect your "yes" and your "no." Those who don't respect your "yes" and your "no" do not need to be in your inner circle nor do you need to have closer relationships with them such as a husband or wife. The truth of the matter is anyone who does not respect your "yes" and your "no" does not respect you as a person and they are most likely incapable of doing so. Pay attention. The unrealistic expectations of others may be a sign of a serious problem they have or of the potential for abuse. Run away, run very far away from these type of people!
What I want you to take away from this blog today are three things:
1) You are responsible for your own expectations.
2) You are not responsible for the expectations of others nor do those expectations determine your value, your worth or who you are as a person. Work with people to the best of your ability and allow them to be responsible for their own expectations.
3) You will be much less stressed and more relaxed if you relax your expectations of yourself and take one day at a time.
Making room for realistic expectations,