Do we sometimes have such high expectations of ourselves that we unintentionally (or subconsciously) set ourselves up for failure?
I know I do.
I start by thinking that I must lead by example and therefore cannot have expectations of others if I am not fulfilling the expectations I have set for myself first. (Freud would probably have a field day with that sentence, lol)
So I think that if I fulfil my obligations as a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter etc therefore the people in my life should reciprocate.
If I am organised and tidy and clean, my children will magically understand that they should follow my example and be all those things also.
If I meet my deadlines then my kids should know to hand in their homework on time. If I put the dirty dishes away straight after a meal, others should know to do that too. Right?
Wrong, Wrong. Wrong.
There are two things distinctly wrong here.
First one is, I am imposing MY values upon others. I am placing an expectation of other people to live up to my values, what I think is important. Me. Not them. I am disrespecting their right to be an individual, to be different.
For example, I feel that homework should be done straight after school, so that it is over and done with and you can get yourself organised in the morning. Madison prefers to do her homework in the morning and to be forever running late and doing her hair and putting her shoes on, in the car on the way to school. I should respect that, it’s who she is, how she works. The main thing, the point, the goal, is that THE HOMEWORK IS DONE. How it gets done, when it gets done, is completely irrelevant, the end result has been achieved. All the stress can simply be eliminated by just recognising that.
Second one is, I am setting unrealistic expectations of myself. By thinking that I MUST “lead by example” I am inadvertently putting myself under all sorts of pressure. Here also, I must focus on the end result. What are the important attributes I want to pass onto my children? Do I want them to become OCD clean freaks like myself? No. Do I want them to grow into loving, respectful, strong individuals? Yes. Will I achieve that by making them clean their room RIGHT NOW, or can it wait?
And why am I setting unrealistic expectations for myself? Where did I come up with these expectations? Who says that I have to complete every single bit of house work and have the house sparkling clean before I can sit down and relax? I do. But why? Is this a form of self sabotage where I am consistently setting myself up? Am I trying to set stupid little goals for myself so I can get a sense of achievement from looking at a clean sink? Should I not be focusing on the bigger picture? Like, the things which are actually important, which actually make a difference to my life and the lives of those close to me?
I think that’s a great idea. I think that is what I am going to try and do. Evaluate and asses before beat myself up over expectations I have set for myself. Try and figure out what is REALLY important. In a week’s time, will I recall if the dishes were done? No. But will I remember taking the babies to the beach and getting my car full of sand? Yes. Will I care that the car is full of sand? Yes. Will I want to clean it up straight away? Yes. Will I clean it up straight away? I am going to try REALLY hard not to 🙂