2019,  Mental Health,  Musings

Musings: Expectations

Everyone has them, but not everyone lives up to them.

Expectations, Friends

Scrolling through IG stories, I came across a story that put one of life’s biggest lessons so simple:

Stop expecting YOU from people.

When I read that, I was like, “THIS is what I’ve been trying to articulate for forever!” This is one of my biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 30’s. It’s taken that long for me to realize this and I am trying not to judge myself for this, but I’m just grateful I know it now.

It doesn’t make it any easier when I feel let down. But it is teaching me to release expectations. Or at least be cognizant of the expectations of others I carry for them. I’ve been blessed to walk around for 30 years being very optimistic about life and people, but I realize this is also been a slight detriment to who I am.

I expect a lot from friends, family, a partner, co-workers…essentially everyone I surround myself with. But that is because I give so much of myself to them, without verbally asking for much back, but expecting it. This is not how you live a balanced life though. Because I am setting expectations without communicating them. This doesn’t mean that I have to lower my standards on anything I value, but I have to be open to understanding that not everyone can give or wants to give what I give.

That’s a hard thing to swallow. But having the wherewithal to understand this has shown me I can grow into this knowledge and use it going forward. There have been more moments where I see this playing out. Sometimes they are hard and my Ego is bruised or I feel sad or hurt. Other times, I recognize this shift and I just move with it, without saying anything to anyone, but silently recognizing it for myself. All of this is growth that I am grateful for. Learning to fall into hurt feelings has been hard. But what’s harder, is when I try to suppress them and then it combusts in the most unhealthy way.

Does any of this make sense at this point? I hope it does, but I feel as if I’m rambling. My point in sharing my thoughts is for anyone one else, even if it’s just one human, may be reminded about the expectations they carry for themselves or those in their life.

This is not to say that what I offer to the people I care about will change. At. All. What is and will change, is my expectation of those who I care about. And by change, I just mean I will work at not having unrealistic expectations based on the effort I put forth. I think it’s normal to have realistic expectations, however, I know these all look different to each person. I also know that everyone is dealing with their own lives and circumstances, so they can only give so much at any given time. We can’t change people and we cannot force outcomes either. Releasing the control to these two things will alleviate the letdown of an expectation, which truly should have never been there, to begin with.

Understanding that not everyone can or wants to give what you give, really is freeing. Its freakin’ hard some times, and extremely frustrating, but when you center yourself on this notion — it gets easier each time.

I find it absurd that it took me over 30 years to realize this. But I also know that in my family, emotional and mental health hasn’t been a focus. I don’t blame my parents, because, without any emotional role models, they couldn’t be ones either. But that stops with me. I will change that cycle for those around me, and hopefully my future child(ren). I know I learned it when I needed too, but I wish I learned this sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t have been as receptive to it, maybe I would have.

Going forward here are a few things I plan to change:

  • Release control (of everything)
  • Stop expecting a specific outcome
  • Be present and FEEL what I feel
  • Focus on the path, not the destination
  • Choose to set expectations aside
Silt Winery, Summer, Patio

All of this has also mirrored a phrase a friend posted recently: unapologetically unbothered. Once I read those two words, I felt that is exactly who I am becoming and living in this moment. I credit a lot of it to therapy, but I also credit my damn self. Taking the tools I’ve been learning, I’m able to make healthier mental and physical choices for myself. I see the results and I’m loving the life I live. It’s imperfectly perfect for me. There have been plenty of bumps and bruises, and learning the gaps, but I’m happy. Like, truly happy in life right now.

It’s an incredibly freeing feeling too. Just like understanding that expectations and control are fruitless, living unapologetically unbothered is just an added bonus to how I want to live. It’ll forever be a work in progress, but now that I’ve identified the gaps with expectations, I plan to move forward more fluidly. I think every relationship in my life will better.

Expect less, live more.

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