I am guilty. Guilty of expectations. I devour myself with expectations of who I am, who I could have been, and who I want to be. Expectations of how I should behave in front of my friends and how I should behave in front of my teachers. The abundance of expectations that I have in my head goes deeper than the depth of the ocean. Shortly, I expect too much of myself. I know that I am not alone when I say I don’t expect others to be perfect, but I expect myself to be perfect; or at least try to get there.
I expected to work out during the summer break. Why you might ask? Because I am in the volleyball team. I wanted to be healthier, wanted to not gain any weight, stay fit. I made a detailed plan of how I was going to accomplish it. Dates, times, workout videos, weight goals, diet plan, cheat days. At that time, I expected myself to accomplish it not only for my health, but to measure how disciplined I am. I expected myself to be able to do this because I love volleyball and I wanted to do anything and everything to make sure that my skills are not hindered. I wanted to be perfect at volleyball. Therefore, I thought I should do whatever it takes to make sure I am not last.
When we think about expectations, we tend to compare it to reality. I am sure you’ve all heard of the saying “expectations vs reality” and have probably watched tons of videos and read tons of articles regarding this subject. Many of those videos talk about the expectations we have on others and the things around us. Rarely do they talk about the expectations we have on ourselves. When these expectations we have on ourselves are not met, the result is far from mild disappointment; it’s anger and intense pain. We feel angry when we don’t get the “best” grades by our definition, when we can’t do that math problem correctly, or play a sport the way we want to but most of all, when we can’t do anything perfectly.
We have this pressure we put on ourselves that we have to be perfect. That we have to not make mistakes. That we can’t show our weaknesses or be vulnerable in front of others. Of course some of you might feel “hey we know we’re all humans so I don’t understand why people feel that way” and I agree with you. I don’t understand it either, because I am one of those people.
Expecting something to happen doesn’t mean it will. Yeah, I did have a whole plan of how I was going to work out during the break but I ended up not doing it. And there are many reasons why but the one reason why is because I expected myself to follow those plans. To follow what I had worked so hard to create. I expected to not let myself down. To not be so lazy to the point of ignoring my plan and hard work.
It takes a strong sense of self to be flexible enough to take life in stride. Our self worth and value are stamped to our achievements, making us feel drained and embarrassed when we fall short of our magnified expectations.
It’s impossible to not have any expectations of the world or of ourselves. We are imperfect which is why we find ourselves yearning to be perfect. To never have ups and downs or stumble in what we do. But let’s digress a little bit. Let’s remember that other people too don’t expect us to be perfect because they themselves are not perfect.