Expectations is defined in the dictionary as “a belief someone will or should achieve something“. I actually like the NA definition better “Expectations are premeditated resentments”.
Do you have expectations of yourself or others? I will admit, I have lots of them. I am working on getting rid of them because they really are the stepping stone for resentment and anger. So, why then would I be grateful for expectations, right? Because having them allows me to learn and grow…
Let’s start with the expectations we have for ourselves. If you are like me, they are pretty high and as a result, I seldom reach the level of perfection I expect of myself. I know, no one is perfect BUT don’t we set those milestones for ourselves. Thinking we can handle everything, juggling all the balls in the air – motherhood, work, life, and whatever else comes our way. The word “NO” seldom escapes from our lips because we “expect” we will be able to everything. Self expectations allow my inner gremlins to have a field day in my head. Expectations of others leaves me feeling frustrated, angry and disappointed. Whether it is business or in love, setting expectations whether they be realistic or not is a setup for disaster. If the words would of, could of or should of are part of sentence, I know I am in trouble.
Whether you grew up in a house with demanding parents or would strive every day to meet someone else’s expectations, somewhere along the way, you lost what it was like to be kind to yourself. You became a slave to expectations and now it is time to change and be kind to YOU!
#1: Change How You Treat Yourself
I know it is easier said then done. I’ve been there and on some days am still there. Can’t imagine being nice to yourself – why not begin by expressing kindness to someone or something you love such as a pet (or a someone special). Easy right? Don’t you deserve the same treatment? Try this mantra:
May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.
OR write one of your own. Then practice saying it. Start by repeating it for thirty seconds. Embrace the feelings the words invoke. The longer you can embrace these feelings, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits. Start and end your day with these to see what a difference in makes in your life.
#2: What You Say Limits You
Maybe on the surface, you are being nicer to yourself, but deep down the inner gremlin is judging you. It’s true – we judge, and we label, sometimes without even realizing it. What we do to other people is the same thing we do to ourselves.
So every time you have a negative label for someone, come up with at least six different reasons that would stop the label. It isn’t easy. The truth is if you can be less judgmental toward other people, you can do the same for yourself.
#3: What You Say Can Belittle You
When was the last time you said “How can I be so stupid? ” or, “OMG what a screw-up! Could I not make a bigger mess of things? ” or, “Why do I do this to myself? I’m such an idiot!” This is all about not meeting your own personal expectations and how you react.
Despite my best efforts, my inner gremlins love beating me up for every mistake, failure, or setback, real or imagined. Then a little angel voice screams, “Not being very kind to yourself, are you?”
SMACK! The reality hits nothing is a total failure. There is always something to be positive about. Find it in whatever the situation is. Replace those harsh words with positive thoughts. By doing so, you will change those demanding expectations.
These small changes are so powerful. They help you stop being a victim of your own expectations and allow you to treat yourself kinder. You realize judging other people is so closely aligned with the labels and limitations we put on ourselves. Seeing the positives in what may appear as a failure will allow you to cut yourself some slack.
Change is hard! Changing behaviors are challenging. The truth is, if I can do this, you certainly can!
It all begins with a practice taking less than a minute, six times a day showering yourself with loving-kindness.
It’s easy to start. It’s easy to do. Just repeat after me:
“May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.”