Note from the Editor: Today I have a treat for you in the form of a guest article by the ever insightful Cathy Taughinbaugh! Yay! More about Cathy at the end of this article. Enjoy!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Do you have expectations for yourself and others?
You may have expected certain things to happen in your life.
You may have expectations that your spouse, your children and friends follow a certain path.
We cannot control others, but we can control our expectations of others. The behavior of others has influenced us, as our behavior has influenced others.
We all try to fit the norm to be accepted.
When we set expectations for others, realistic or not, we set ourselves up for disappointment.
Friends can have expectations that we share the same interests that they do. For example, they may want us to socialize as much as they do.
Some people have an active social life that may feel exhausting to others. Others prefer their alone time, reading a book or pursuing some artistic interest, and find too many social gatherings tiring.
Your parents may have had expectations for you. You may not feel that you had much of a choice regarding your career path.
You may have felt the pressure to conform to your family’s expectations. This may have caused problems for you as you progressed into adulthood.
When we look at our children, and watch them grow, we realize they can feel pressure to fit a mold that doesn’t suit them.
“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ~ Jodi Picoult
We raise our children, having an idea about which direction they should go. Possibly a career in the family’s business. If the family has all been in the financial area, for example, we may expect our children to follow suit.
Athletic dads may expect their sons to love sports as much as they do. They can be disappointed when the son favors art or music.
As your children grow older and become adults, your expectations for them may no longer fit. Rather than resisting this change, let go of your expectations, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the result.
Eventually, I realized my expectations for my children no longer fit. I knew I needed to let go.
We can all do it. It does take effort, time and patience. One way is to notice when and why you are judging others. Instead, look for their gifts.
Accept who you are, and help others let go of the pressures to conform to a particular job or a personality type. It frees all of us to be ourselves.
When you accept others, you bolster their self love and boost their self confidence.
“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” ~ Sylvia Plath
When you let go of your expectations you:
- Allow Yourself and Others to Bloom. You feel confident in your strength and know that it is OK to be the person that you are. You accept other’s differences as well. The real person is confirmed and validated. You then have the opportunity to become skilled in one or more of your interests which further strengthens your self esteem.
- Accept Others for Who They Really Are. Not only can children be pressured to conform, but adults can as well. Stop resisting the reality of who someone is, and let go of preconceived ideas. The burden is now lifted, and we are free to be ourselves. When we are accepted by others, it is easier to find happiness.
- Stop Passing Judgment. Often when we set expectations, we are judging what is good or bad, right or wrong. You can remove yourself from being the judge. Accept and embrace someone else’s differences. You can delight in what you have in common and learn and explore another person’s qualities.
- Accept Yourself. We have expectations for others, but we also have them for ourselves. We may be disappointed when we don’t live up to what we think others expect from us. When we dig deep, we may find that our expectations for ourselves come from others. Early in life, we may have felt the pressure to conform. Let go and be more accepting of yourself.
- Take the Time to Explore Your Interests. Put time in to really finding out what interests you and pursue it. Confidence and contentment come from having an expertise in a certain area. Find out what that one area is and put in time to improve your skills. You may find a new passion.
- Relish the Joy of Everyone’s Unique Qualities. Sit back and just enjoy. Take in what others have to offer and appreciate it for what it is. We need every kind in our world to make it work. Some of the most valuable gifts this world has been given, came from the most unusual people.
- Let Your Pride Show. Let your pride show through for your gifts and the gifts of others, especially those that don’t fit the norm. We all have something to offer. Those gifts cannot be opened if they are smothered in expectations that don’t fit. Let go of your expectations and let the true you shine through. Never forget, it’s your life.
About the author:
What are your thoughts on this topic? How do you let go of expectations? Do you feel like we all expect a bit too much…from ourselves and from the world around us? Do share your thoughts in the comments below. Cathy and I would love to get to know you :)
Please note: I’ll be starting a NEW Email course very soon. Make sure youre on the mailing list to stay updated. This Healing course will be exclusively for Email subscribers. More on this in the next post :)
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
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