As much as I try to not really care what people think or how they perceive me it’s not always easy to shut it all out. I have come to figure out that people have put their own expectations on me as far as what they think I should be doing or where I should be in this point in my life. I still struggle with knowing how to deal with it because it does bother me. On the other hand though I have learned that I don’t owe them anything. I know their expectations come from a place of love in most cases but it also comes from a place of ignorance. Most people who put their expectations on me don’t know the full story and they just assume whatever they want and it turns into well you should do this or when are you going to do that?
When it’s right for me, that’s when. And if it’s never right for me then I’m never going to do it no matter how much you think I should. Trust me, I have my own expectations for myself personal goals, hopes, dreams, wishes, wants, all the things that I feel like I need for myself. I have placed those on myself because I know that they are what’s right for me and only me. I have no right to place those or any other expectations on other people though. Granted that’s easier said than done but it’s something I’m working on. There’s also a huge difference between having a constructive conversation about life and where you may be headed in the future with your friends and loved ones. This isn’t to say that nobody can ever have an opinion on your life because trusting your closest family and friends and their advice and guidance is so important. It might help you live up to your expectations that you put on yourself but it won’t do any good if it’s only living up to the ones they place on you.
It’s fair to say we’ve all been in a place where we feel like the world owes us something, where our parents owe us everything we want and our friends should be exactly as we want them to be. It’s just unreasonable. It’s not going to make anybody happier for to do what others think they should if it’s not going to make them happy at the end of the day.
When I started college my dad was insistent that I got a degree in something that was going to make me money (i.e science, math, anything but what I wanted to do) so I started college as a Kinesiology major. By the end of my freshman year I knew there was no way I was going to last and I had to make him understand that it wasn’t what I wanted and he let me switch my major. Now, obviously if anyone is allowed to have expectations of us it’s our parents and that’s probably not negotiable but it just goes to show that not even the expectations they set for us are ones we can’t live up to in most cases. So how am I going to live up to the expectations other people put on me?
Stop for a minute and ask yourself if you find yourself always being let down or disappointed by people. Maybe you’re always annoyed or expecting things that never come from those around you. Now take a minute to think where that stems from? Is it because they are really truly letting you down in a bad way or is it because you are expecting things out of them that they never agreed to or can’t deliver on. Most of the time if you put unattainable expectations on someone else and they don’t meet them you’re going to end up disappointed in them when you don’t have a right to be. Chances are those people are dealing with their own set of failed expectations that they have placed on themselves and maybe things haven’t gone their way. The last thing they need in that case is someone else feeling like they let them down when they have done nothing of the sort.
So what it comes down to is the ever so popular “you do you.” You do you and I’ll do me. Try for a time to let people live up to their own expectations and you do the same. See what happens. See what changes. You might be surprised. As Donald Miller said, “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”