Let’s Talk Expectations

Have you ever found yourself putting something off and you can’t work out why? Have you felt like something is standing in your way but can’t quite put your finger on what it is? Have you felt guilt or disappointment when you don’t get something done at all? You are not alone – these are all natural human feelings! But what if I told you these are all feelings that you can control and even stop, just with one simple action?

I, for one, will admit I feel disappointment and pressure several times a day – why didn’t I get up earlier? why wasn’t my weekend as fun or productive as everyone else’s? I should have gone to a gym class this morning! But something I have realised over the last few months is these are all things I am asking myself. They are thoughts that I put in my head, whether I mean to or not. They are all self expectations!

I often find myself doing it without even realising, a habit if you like. Just like that I have set down a handful of goal posts before 8am without even knowing I was shooting. Don’t get me wrong, setting goals is a healthy part of moving forward no matter what you’re working on but setting down hard to do lists on a daily basis can become a lot of hard work, physically and mentally. I personally love to just get shit done and get it done quickly. I really don’t like sitting on a long list of things – it makes me feel uneasy, like I’m failing – so naturally if something is taking longer than a few days to finish or solve, I get restless. When I say restless I mean stressed, overwhelmed and often quite emotional.

What I haven’t realised until recently is the effect that it has on the people around me. Because I set these relatively high standards for myself, whether I like them or not, I also subconsciously tarnish everyone else with the same brush. Of course this rarely ends well and more often than not I end up feeling let down, disappointed and generally unaccomplished – it’s a rocky road I know and something I now trying to work on. Interestingly though, this isn’t something I had even thought about until someone quite close to me started to express how stressed I was making them feel. I was utterly shocked when they said ‘I don’t work like that, I don’t want to live my days list by list, or set myself goals, I’m quite happy doing what I feel like doing on that day’. This was revolutionary to me! Imagine not having your day planned, not even a little bit? I know this may sound crazy but I am someone who needs to have a plan, even for the little things; what time I wake up, what I’m having for breakfast, things that need to be finished by the end of the day etc. etc.  so that I can relax or switch off when it’s all done. Not planning anything was foreign to me but I must admit very intriguing.

Since then I have realised that how I treat and and communicate with myself really does influence my relationship and understanding of others. It has opened my eyes to how other people live every day and has taught me that I have control. That doesn’t mean getting shit done all.the.time, it means its okay to give myself a break when it doesn’t get done. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a certain way, or do certain things and you know what, sometimes I don’t always know best.

If you can relate to this in any way, take it from me that less is sometimes more. If you are feeling overwhelmed, find space and walk away. If you are feeling like there is something standing in your way, find space and walk away. More often than not, the hurdle lies with you. You don’t always have to finish things, some things need time, some are about the journey and aren’t meant to be finished at all. Remember the more things you have to do, the less attention you will probably pay to what you are doing. Is this what you want? Because if it’s not you can change that. Go forth and make those choices because they are your expectations, your goals and your happiness 🙂