Lowering expectations

There are good arguments to support both sides.

On one hand perhaps you should lower your expectations because they’re too high. Examples of this could be expecting to earn £50,000 as a graduate with no experience or expecting a friend to reduce their rates even though you know the quality of their work will be more than worth it.

Then on the other hand, a reason not to lower your expectations is because you don’t want to get into the habit of settling. I think there’s a fine line between knowing what you want and expecting too much. Knowing what you want is great. Believing that it is possible to have more than you have right now even though it might take time is a pretty fantastic thing.

One of the most common reasons that people lower their expectations is because they allow the thoughts and opinions of others to convince them that what they want is unrealistic.

If that is the case, it might be worth being more selective about who you get advice from and who you choose to listen to.

The pros and cons of labels

When it comes to labels, they can help people feel like they fit in and belong. Giving something a name can help a person feel more accepted and feel like they understand themselves better.

On the other hand labels can also be limiting. As soon as you declare yourself to be X it comes with preconceived notions and expectations. You then end up grouped in with other people that also label themselves X even though you may be nothing like them.

I recently came across a quote by someone I’d never heard of called Adyashanti:

All of these are labels. All of them are fine. There is nothing wrong with any one of them, until you actually believe they’re true. As soon as you believe that a label you’ve put on yourself is true, you’ve limited something that is literally limitless, you’ve limited who you are into nothing more than a thought.

It reminded me that labels are totally fine, as long as we don’t give them too much significance.

Your audience might not be on Instagram

When it comes to putting your work out there it’s really important to consider your audience.

I think these days because Instagram is such a popular social media platform, we automatically think that our audience will be on there. We think it’s the only way to find people that are interested in our work.

I think that the issue we sometimes end up having is that we can’t think of any other possible way that we can put our work out or connect with new people. It’s Instagram or nothing.

However, I think it’s valuable to seek out other ways because sometimes the truth is your audience might not be on Instagram.

Figuring out what you want

We often get caught up in expectations of the way things should be. But in many cases we’re simply taking on the expectations of others.

When you’re surrounded by people living a certain type of way, you’re less likely to trust a path that leads to a different life. The reason for this is nobody wants to be separate or other.

You might even convince yourself that what you want is no more than a daydream. Furthermore, when others don’t see the vison for the path you’re carving out you’re likely to encounter backlash.

The backlash can be so challenging that you might end up thinking that it’s easier to push your wants aside. Nobody wants to be criticised for being themselves.

We often measure up how well we are doing in life against societies expectations of what we should be doing at certain points of life. However, these expectations leave very little room to experiment and wonder which are the very things you need to do in order to figure out what you want.

Overcoming stuff

Life is full of stuff.

Stuff we get caught up in because we think it matters.

Social media expectations of the way that things should be.

But at the end of the day all that stuff is often a distraction from what really matters.

And so you have to learn to overcome it. No matter how important it might seem to uphold these expectations, it’ll rarely make you happier.

In fact, more often than not it just makes you miserable because it leaves little room for you to be yourself.

Do unto others…

…as you would have them do unto you.

The idea of treating people as you’d want to be treated is all good and well in theory.

But when it comes down to the crunch, is it what you practice in your day to day life.

When people talk about this topic of how we should treat other people, often they’re thinking of how they want to be treated. Yet the same kindness, respect, honestly, understanding and patience is not extended to others.

It doesn’t mean that you’re cruel to people, it could be something as small as not holding the door open for people but expecting others to do it for you.

Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s by accident. But when you catch yourself treating someone in a way you would not want to be treated, change your behavior.

Disappointing yourself

When you hold yourself to certain expectations it’s likely you’ll end up disappointed if you can’t meet them.

That tends to happen when you put too much pressure on yourself.

Furthermore, how you feel toward yourself will override how anyone else may feel about you falling short.

You could be told that ‘it’s alright, you did your best’, or even ‘it was good, you have nothing to worry about’. But the thing is when you hold yourself to a standard of ‘nothing less than perfection’ it becomes difficult to be comforted by the reassurance of other.

It’s hard disappointing yourself, feeling let down and having no one else to blame. But it gives you a great opportunity to think about what can do better next time.

Different is good

A person might look at your life and tell you that things should be different.

That you should have pursued a different sort of career, that you should have more friends, that your relationships with certain people in your life should look a certain way.

That might be because they they think you’d be better off with things being different.

This is often based on the way things are or what they think is the right way to live.

It can be difficult to not take on the expectations and ideals of others. So if you’re ever close to conformity remember that different is good and sometimes it’s the best thing for you.

The way that things should be

We often go around with this idea in our heads of the way that things should be, in some ways it’s a good thing. When you know what you want you’re much less likely to let life pass you by.

On the other hand when you’re so fixated on the way that things should be you don’t give room for organic growth and development.

Lets say you applied for what you think will be your dream job but when you get there it’s not quite what you thought it would be. If you’re dead set on your ‘dream job’ you might end up leaving after a few months or staying put but hating it because it’s not what you wanted.

But if you take your foot off the gas and let go of the rigid plan created you might find that in this job you’re able to discover something that you’re actually interested in. It might be be even better than what you thought you wanted.

Letting go of expectations and letting things be isn’t always easy to put into practice. It requires patience and the ability to trust that things will turn out okay.

Disappointment and desires

Expectations can be an interesting thing. They often span from our desires and wants or even our imagination.

But they will also leave you disappointed.

As much as it can be good to hold people to a standard, it’s also important to ensure that you aren’t creating this whole other person in your mind of who they should be.

For example, you might expect someone to make time for you because this is someone you enjoy hanging out with. But then you end up disappointed when they aren’t as keen to do what you want.

In a situation like that you need to assess where your expectations are coming from because you might find that what you’re expecting doesn’t even align with what this person was ever willing to offer.

You got so carried away with our own wants and desires that you were no longer willing to see things as they are.