What a difference a word makes … In case you’ve been reading for a while you might now I’m quite the word and grammar fiend. Lucky you if you’re not living with me in real life because my family and colleagues get the full dose of my nit-pickyness every day. But hey, in 80 % of the cases they’re actively asking for it. But you didn’t come to hear me talk about that. Or at least I didn’t plan on delving into this further [at least not today]. Only to explain how this post came about. It was when I noticed how I could use the difference a slight change of wording makes to feel a little less stressed – and the hope you might benefit from it, too.
Expectations. They are everywhere. In school. At work. For young people. Old people. The world is filled with a million and one of them for every gender, age, kind of exercise, time of our lives, … You name a group you belong to: there are expectations associated with it. And it’s understandable: clichés help us arrange the world and the people we meet to make life easier. However, they have a big downside: nobody can ever live up to all of them – and with that come self doubt, feeling like the odd one out and sighing “why can’t I be like everybody else??”.
Just a few examples of outside expectations I’ve happened upon.
In university we’re expected to hit a certain GPA when we graduate. Anything worse than that and our future seems to be at risk.
Reality: I was neither the best nor worst in my degree program and when it came to applying for my current job my final grade didn’t matter. But you better believe I stressed about this like crazy, regretting the times I felt I could have studied harder.
If we suffered from an ED we’re expected to be recovered and “back to normal” after a certain time.
Reality: Recovery takes time. For some more, for some less. Putting huge expecations on somebody in recovery and showing disappointment doesn’t help. At all.
We’re expected to have figured out where we want to go with our lives at a certain age.
Reality: So what if – and I think it’s the case for many people in this day and age – we haven’t? What if it’s an ongoing journey?
What would happen if we turned this view on things around and stopped blaming ourselves? If we exchanged ‘expectations‘ with ‘assumptions’?
Expectations can get overwhelming, provoke anxiety and not living up to them feel like admitting defeat. Assumptions, on the other hand? They’re just that and if others are wrong in theirs about you: so what? It’s not your purpose to fulfill anybody’s assumptions. It’s okay to fit in with your peers at times and not at others. We’re not less valuable as individuals if we’re not breaking PRs at the gym, haven’t found our perfect match by age 25 or visited a certain number of countries by 30. We’re not less important as bloggers if we can’t post five days a week or publish the most exciting recipes.
Just like Pink already knew: I’m not here for your
When people assume a certain image to be true it’s not our fault if it’s not true. That way others assumptions about a certain part of society simply aren’t applicable for us. Everybody’s different. Stereotypical assumptions don’t necessarily match. That’s cool. Be you, be awesome, be happy.
And that was me thinking out loud with Amanda again. Thanks for opening up Thursdays for random rants, rambles or anything on our minds.
Tell me whatever comes to your mind on the topic. Possible ideas:
What are some expectations you feel others are having about you? What are some expectations you’re holding up to yourself?
Can you lessen the burden they are by thinking of them as assumptions instead?
Happiness-inducing today: A girl I talked to at the gym at random calling me disclosed as I chatted her up which is a huge compliment to me as an introvert.
Stay in touch!