If you follow my personal social media, business page or website, you have probably come to expect my morning images and quotes, thoughts for the day, and inspiration. I bet when you looked at today’s inspirational image you thought, “Hmmmm, that’s not very elaborate.” Or maybe you thought, “She must be too busy this morning to make a pretty picture.” Or maybe you didn’t give the image a second thought and were just happy to see what I had to say this morning.
Expectations can be tricky. They are a belief, not a rule. Something you should or shouldn’t do. A presumption. You are expected to act a certain way depending on where you are. You can’t necessarily go into a library with your boom box (yes, I’m that old) and blare your favorite 80s song. You’re expected to be on the quiet side.
On the flip side, when you go into a sporting arena for the State Final tournament, you’re expected to be loud, cheer, scream, dance around and support your home team. You don’t go in to sit down with a good book and quietly read as the winning shot is taken right at the buzzer, politely giving a golf clap to your team.
Rules are similar to expectations but they are a code of practice, something that you must follow to be a functioning part of our crazy society. Rules have a purpose, expectations have an assumption.
Placing expectations on yourself or others can set both of you up for disappointment. I have placed expectations on myself for a long time. Make sure I act a certain way around certain people. Dress the right way at certain events. Behave in a certain manner. Speak up, stay quiet, stand up, sit down. All of those expectations became ridiculous and stifled my confidence in everything I was doing.
I have also seen what placing expectations on your children can do. My oldest daughter had expectations from birth. Be quiet, behave, be submissive, be seen but not be heard. She is now an adult and I see that those expectations have diminished her confidence in herself. My youngest daughter is the complete opposite. No unrealistic expectations are placed on her and she is outgoing, chatty to every person she meets, and has tons of confidence. I don’t know how she will be as she grows older, but I’m not putting any expectations on her. I want all of my children to grow up confident in themselves and living intentionally from their hearts. I don’t want them to feel “expected” to be someone that they aren’t.
Don’t worry, there are rules in my house. Obviously you can’t have small children without rules. We live by three basic rules. #1 – listen to what I say ONE TIME. #2 – No crying. #3 – Behave. Pretty simple. #2 is usually followed by, “unless you’re dying.”
Seriously though, the only thing I expect out of myself, and others, is authenticity. Be truly who you are from deep down inside. Don’t hide, don’t change, don’t have 700 different faces to put on depending on the circumstances. Be who you are all the time, remove the expectations, and see how things change. A word of caution though, steer clear of the people whose authentic self is to be in-authentic, because those people do exist.
What is one expectation you place on yourself that you continue to be disappointed by? How can you release that expectation and find joy in what you intend?