Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Create Your Own Expectations

What four words of wisdom would you give your 17 year old self?
I came up with a few ideas and settle on these four words:

Create your own expectations.

Most of my life I have lived to meet other people’s expectations. I think this is true of most people. We start internalizing the expectations of others from the moment we are born. As an infant and child the best way to survive is to meet the expectations of others. In fact, most children are punished if they fail to meet the expectations of their parents, teachers, or other adults in their life. During the teenage years, when our biological imperative is to create our own identity and separate from our families, the pressure to conform to other people’s expectations often intensifies as the adults in our life try to assure themselves that they are doing everything they can to make sure we end up successful adults. By the time we are adults the pattern of accepting the expectations others have for us, without question, is so ingrained that we are often unaware of its impact upon our life.

With the empty nest years approaching, I have realized that I need to create my own expectations for the rest of my life. As my children have become teenagers, and are catching glimpses of adulthood on the horizon, I have realized that the best thing I can do is to let go of my expectations for their lives and support them in creating their own.

Expectations can push us toward greatness or keep us on a path that we should have abandoned. Expectations can create the potential for feelings of success and accomplishment or lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

How can we experience the benefits of expectations?

1. Stop creating or holding expectations for other people.
2. Examine where the expectations we have for our self and our life originated.
3. Create expectations with intention.
4. Adjust our expectations as we learn and grow.

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