30 August 2016

I Expect You To Read This

I was listening to a podcast while jogging this morning.  (That sentence sounds really impressive unless you know how slowly I jog.  You know those sloths in the movie Zootopia?  Me.)  And in this podcast, they were talking about the force that expectations have on us; the expectations we have of ourselves and the expectations others have for us.  The hosts did their research, and interviewed scientists who also did their research.  They spoke to a blind man who doesn't live like a blind man because no one told him he had to.  And I got to thinking about how expectations have changed the way I live.

First of all, I would never have gone out for student council in school without the expectation that I live up to my siblings' reputations.  I probably wouldn't be a jogger if my sisters hadn't expected me to go with them.  My nose would never be without a book in front of it if society didn't expect me to take care of my kids.  Actually, society's expectations don't have much to do with it, it's mostly my husband's and my parents' expectations of me that get me to put the books down for a bit.

When I was younger, the expectation was that I was "the talented" kid.  People, mostly my family, expected me to sing and dance and write and play piano and do things they all could do, too, but because I was "the talented one" I got all the praise for it.

But what about my own expectations?  What do I expect myself to do?

That's where the questions got harder because the things I expect myself to do are hard.  I expect myself to exercise regularly, and eat the way I'm supposed to, and get dressed every day, and take care of my house and family in a manner that I'm proud of.  This time of year, I expect myself to make use of the free produce people give me, so I bottle and make fruit leather and zucchini bread, and all sorts of things that I technically don't have to do.  I expect myself to go to church, and manage money wisely, and write every day, and try to help people, if I can. That's to say nothing of teaching my children how to be responsible, faithful adults when they get to that point in their lives, and making sure my husband knows he's the best husband on the planet.

I mostly do okay living up to the expectations other have of me, and I mostly do okay living up to the expectations I have of myself, but when I fail, it feels devastating. It feels like I'm not enough, that what I do isn't enough, and that who I am isn't enough.

So, yeah.  Expectations have a big hold on me.  Think about what expectations encourage you to do.


Thistlerose said...

- Keep the kid alive
- Make sure the husband doesn't starve
- Keep up on laundry
So far I'm doing great! Maybe I need to consider higher standards...

Thistlerose said...

I found a cure for expectations!