Ok, we promise these all won’t feel so heavy. Be ready for a few curveball posts about random body hairs and discharge profiles. Another day, another day. Today we want to talk about expectations: what is expected of us and how much of that is our own set of expectations for ourselves. Let’s begin.
Expectations are a funny thing. You could expect Cynthia Erivo and get Julia Roberts. You could expect a Cadillac and get a Tesla Cybertruck. But what was the reasoning behind the expectation and how will you react if the expectation isn’t met?
I’m a generally happy person. I’ve been told by a solid handful of people that I have the ability to bring them up when they were down, to bring a smile on their face when they truly didn’t see one coming. I know this sounds like a humble brag moment but I’m just being honest, I cheer people up a a lot. To the point where it sometimes compromises my own happiness. Here’s the thing about bubbly beings— we have shit days too. In fact, we have shit days, days of misery, days of shame, and days of debilitating anxiety. You might not see us on those days, but know that those days exist. But if the expectation is that every time you see me I’m going to crack a few jokes and squeal “Ththth that’s all folks!” then it’s officially my job to set things straight and rewrite that expectation.
Being naturally cheery, while great most of the time, truly sucks when I’m either A.) having an off day/week/month or B.) spending time with someone who needs me to live up to that expectation. I could walk into a room feeling ready to conquer, but if I’m surrounded by people expecting me to deliver in a certain way and I’m not quite there, I will leave drained of my resources and ready for a Rip Van Winkle style nap. Seriously wake me up in 3030, I’m exhausted.
The thing about expectations though, is that yes some people have expectations of us—and we either meet them or don’t. But most of those expectations start with us. And a lot of the times they end with us too. When you are your biggest critic, you’re going to constantly hold yourself to nearly impossible standards. Standards that include but are not limited to: getting 8+ hours of sleep, moisturizing, brushing AND flossing, working out at least four days a week, looking like a dewy no makeup makeup queen, slaying at work, slaying creatively, eating healthy, responding to every text and DM and call, and being a good friend wife daughter and dog mom. AND doing it all with a smile on my face. Sorry but that’s a psychotic ask of anyone.
We put a lot of expectations on ourselves regularly and while it’s good to set the bar high, we need to let ourselves live. There is no need to be the perfect mom or partner or person all the time. And if you’re around someone that DOES expect that of you all the time, you’re going to have to speak up and lower that bar. Tell them you’re having an off day or week or month, and these are the things you need from them at this time. The people who love you will understand and immediately shift their expectation of you. The people who were just there for the looney tune song and dance will phase out. Let them.
Voltaire apparently once said “We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” That shit is real. The IG me vs the real me. It’s not easy to free ourselves of expectation in everything we do. We can try. And then those moments of freedom will find us.
Have a great week nasty ones. Expect nothing. Eat a lot.