Expectations – love them or loathe them they are all around us!
William Shakespeare once said “Expectation is the root of all heartache”
I get this! There are so many expectations of us as a person. Some that are clearly defined and others that are not said but where people may judge, react and decide how they will interact with you.
For me there are 2 types of expectations – External and Internal.
External Expectations are those from others
There are expectations on us from society and employers about the way we behave and conduct ourselves. These are so we can live and work harmoniously together. To be truthful that’s not such a bad thing – as long as it is fair and communicated clearly!
We’ve all grown up with the expectations of our families. You know the ones I mean – you do well in school, you get married, have the lovely home, good job, children etc.. And then there is that phrase that you ‘do what is expected‘ which is never quite defined. In addition there is an expectation from generation to generation that you do and achieve more than the generation before you. However when you share what you are going to do, there is always a family member who will say “what do you want to do that for? You should be ….”.
And when you add to this the expectations from your friends. You’d probably agree, that these external expectations are harder to manage, as the individuals mean so much more to us. The best scenario here is to mange your response to their expectations and how you share your life intentions. They may not always be an advocate, however, remember they need to manage their thoughts and feelings as this is their thoughts and the world according to them. Quite often their intentions are to want the best for us.
Internal Expectations are our own and can be split into our expectations of others as well as ourselves.
Another great quote I’ve seen is “Sometimes we expect too much from others because we would be willing to do that much for them”.
Our expectations here are largely based on our assumption of who that person is. Whether that be a family member, a friend, work colleague or a person of responsibility. The expectation is what we would or perceive we would do in any given scenario. We can get hugely upset and hurt when others don’t meet our expectations; yet we never sit down and discuss ‘this is what I would do in this scenario and I would expect the same’.
Expectations of ourselves.
The hardest one of all is living up to our own expectations. These are the fixed rules we give ourselves. Where we regularly use the words: should, ought, must, can’t, have to or need to. It’s that ‘all or nothing’ or ‘black and white’ viewpoint that we have of ourselves, which leads us to guilt and disappointment. When you combine this with our inner negative talk it can impact our overall well being.
So, what can we do to manage expectations?
- Remember everyone’s expectations exist from our personal experiences in life, the biases and preconceptions that we learn.
- We are all human and all make mistakes at times which enable us to learn and grow.
- Don’t judge yourself or others, think about where that expectation has come from and ask if it is realistic
- Communication with the right people (for you) about what it is your are doing, what you need and what makes you happy.
- Be explicit at times about what you really need to support you and ask others the same
- Acknowledge what people do for you, especially if it is the right thing for you, and they will do more of it.
Most of all remember to be you. Be authentic and be happy being you!
Making significant changes in our life can be exciting and daunting at the same time. If you would like support in managing your personal expectations or even those of others then drop me a message and let’s discuss how we can work together so you can enjoy the process of making those changes a reality.