Last week I had one of my past clients Norbert as LIVE stream guest and, among other topics, we talked about navigating life and its changes. Norbert shared with us his personal story of transitioning from one job to another and how it led him to a dark place in life. One of the crucial points that he understood while we worked together was that he had a lot of expectations. Both of his own and the ones he sensed or openly heard about from the others.
Expectations are just a part of our life and it’s important to be able to manage them well and healthily. We can divide them into two main categories – internal and external. Internal expectations are the ones that person sets for himself. It may be tricky, as some expectations feel like a projection of what others want us to do when in reality it’s what we set for ourselves.
External expectations are things that others tell us to do, think or believe. When we let them define our life path, we feel pressure to meet certain criteria. I am not talking about polarities here, like all external expectations are bad – there is always a scale with a range from healthy to unhealthy.
If you decided for yourself to let go of the less healthy expectations, here are three tips that can help you to start living on your own terms.
Reflect and align
Don’t take any expectation for granted. Ask yourself “Is it really important to me?” and “If I follow it, will I feel like myself? Will I feel comfortable in my own skin?”
It’s not a one-time exercise – rather a gradual process. You need to get to know yourself well enough to know what feels aligned, you need to identify your values. This process often scares people off, but see it as a vaccination: you need to get through a process of strengthening your immunity and accept that it might come with side effects. But if you value the quality of life we are having in the modern world, then you go and take that vaccine shot anyways. Finding your inner compass is a very similar process – it might have some side effects while you are coming into alignment with yourself, but the benefits are really worth it.
Whenever you catch yourself talking yourself out of things you want to do because it can go against someone’s expectations, question yourself. We are not talking about beating yourself up and being mean. Be curious, ask yourself “Will my mom really be disapointed if I move to another city again?” or “Does my parents’ view of life have to be mine as well? Or can I redefine a successful career for myself?”
Call yourself out when you are getting in your own way. Is this truly an expectation that’s aligned with my values and dream lifestyle, or is it a fear being dressed in an expectation? Remember how kids try to feed their curiosity by trying different ways of doing the same thing. Be playful and curious like them when working on your self-development.
Be present and patient
To be able to see the expectations that are (mis)guiding you in life, you need to be present in the moments when they take over the steering wheel. It takes practice to start noticing your patterns and their effect on you, so be patient. Set yourself up for a long game – because that’s what a joyful life is. Long games require resilience, commitment, and patience. And joyful life requires you being fully present in the moment – because that’s where all the beuaty happens.
Being part of society means we do not control the way how others act towards us. But as Norbert put it in the interview, you are in control of your actions and reactions. This might sound simple and obvious, but common sense is not always common practice. I hope you are practicing the common sense we are discussing here weekly.
PS: in one hour of the interview with Norbert, we covered lots of essential topics, and his insights and vulnerable sharing will definitely change your perspective to things that make you fell stuck! I highly recommend you to catch up with the replay in our Facebook group!
With all my love and care,