In my my latest post, I talked about focusing on intentions and moving away from expectations. I've been trying to do a lot of introspection lately, both about the expectations I have for myself and also those that I unwittingly put on the people in my life.
For myself, I've realized the danger of the expectations that I set is it's like agreeing to cook a seven course meal, before ever trying to cook. I set expectations for myself in all areas of life, and they become unquestionable law. I tell myself they are helpful guideposts, so I can push to always "do and be more" and be my best self. However, if I don't meet these high expectations; I've failed. It's easy to only focus on the negative when you feel you haven't met expectations. But, isn't failure synonymous with growth? Isn't it in our toughest times when we get the beautiful opportunity to truly see what we are made of? Then, when we face more tough times in the future, we can tap into our history of strength and push onward.
I've come to realize that expectations can be a cage for me. They limit my mobility, my freedom, and my ability to breathe and think on my feet in a situation. When I remove them, I allow myself to live in the moment and also see the complexities of life and also of who I am as a person. Expectations have such rigidity they can't account for the blessings that appear when we live in the moment and just be. It makes me think of how I wanted to go on quick three-mile walk outside last week for my cardio. I was not planning on taking our adorable dog, Zoey, because she slows me down and that equals less calorie burn (we can't have that!). I ended up taking Zoey because she insisted on going. She and her big, brown, puppy-dog eyes and captivating energy, can be very persuasive. When I took the walk, my expectation of a quick walk with a good calorie burn, was replaced by a fun walk with my sweet dog. I laughed with her, and we had fun. This was better than my original plan, but it was not my expectation.
When we think about our expectations for others in our lives, it can look something like an example of tailoring. Imagine you have an outfit made for you. It is perfectly tailored, and it is your favorite thing to wear, dressy or casual. It meets the holy grail criteria of being comfortable and also very flattering. Now, imagine that you try to have every person in your life wear this exact outfit, male or female. Would it fit everyone as it fits you? Would this work? It really wouldn't, and that is what it's like when we put our expectations on others. Everyone sees the world from a different frame of reference, and their authentic self is not the same as who you are. We wouldn't want a world were we are all the same. We can learn so much from others in our lives. I'm realizing rather than saying this person should do/be/act like XYZ, I should see their many good traits. Are there expectations for yourself and others that you can try to set down this week?