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People are like onions.
There will always be a new layer peeled by situations and circumstances. Not to forget the tears shed with every layer that is revealed.
While they may not even fulfill the basics of a said relationship, expectations run wild from others—especially if you gave the impression that you care about the person and that you will go out of your comfort zone to do that extra bit.
And then starts the whole maze of unrealistic expectations leading to fear, and days and weeks full of apprehension—
What if I can’t do even this little thing?
What will they think ?
What will they say?
And the seed of self-doubt was sown deep in our mind and soul. We didn’t even recognize that we were doing that to ourselves—not them.
My first day of redemption was the awareness of my own expectations from myself versus others’ expectations from me. It became imperative to separate the two things distinctly.
Unrealistic expectations from myself:
Initially, I tried to validate those unrealistic expectations of family and friends around me in the guise of love, sacrifice, and adjustment. It was okay to be a little uncomfortable—after all, it’s family. But that “little” did not know where to stop.
The second problem was much bigger—the wonder called Superwoman. I was juggling a full-time practice, home, two kids, and relationships, and whatnot. And I was expected to do this with a perfect physical appearance of manicured nails, blow-dried hair, and mascara on 24/7.
I was expected to be emotionally available and understanding to the needs of others.
The mistake was that I set out to prove myself to be that superwoman. I wanted to prove that I am that girl in the advertisement and that perfect picture on Instagram.
In reality, I was ready to pull my hair out any second. I was under tremendous stress all the time. I was nervous and edgy. The price paid was my peace of mind.
Unrealistic Expectations of others:
People expect things from you because you deliver. The problem arises when expectations reach beyond what’s reasonable. Like any other aspect of human relationships, expectations are a two-way street. Bending yourself to adjust to others will only break you after a certain point.
If they expect me to be a superwoman emotionally, physically, and mentally—then that’s their problem.
Here are my mantras to deal with unrealistic expectations. They helped me find my happy place amidst all the chaos:
1. Be a “no” woman. Do not be afraid to say, “I will not do it.” And be strong enough not to give any explanation. Draw your limit from day one. I realized it a little too late and by then, those people in my life could not take no for an answer because it was not expected from me.
2. Reach out for help. I cannot and will not do everything on my own. I need help. Learning to say this early on would have saved me a lot of trouble. You may need help in any sense of the word—physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
3. Be mindful of your own needs. The biggest lesson I learned was to be mindful of my own needs and more importantly, being vocal about it. I learned not to apologize for myself and my need of “me” time.
4. Be thick-skinned. Become a little thick-skinned to the words and looks of others. I stopped reacting to every eye roll and snide. Basically, I learnt to ignore.
5. Be proud of yourself. I became more and more proud of myself each passing day. And on those difficult days, I was more content of whatever little was accomplished.
6. Pick your battles wisely. As it is said—you have to let go of some battles to win a war. Focusing on the endgame is more important.
7. Separate your business from their business. I am always reminding myself that whatever someone thinks of me is their business. And I have no right to poke my nose in their business. My business is to focus on my betterment. My happiness is my business. It is my responsibility and no one owes me anything.
8. Be honest. How many times do we end up doing something (even if we didn’t want to) just because we gave into that temptation of appreciation? Be brutally honest with yourself if you want real improvement. Being honest with myself gave me empowerment.
9. Embrace positive affirmations. Whenever the seeds of self-doubt begin to sprout, I surrounded myself with positive vibes and positive people, and I give myself a pat on the back.
10. Identify success. Meeting every unrealistic expectation is not success. Define what is success for you. At times, it might just come down to surviving the day and that’s alright.
11. Don’t try to live by the standards set by others.
My mantras helped me start a phase of mindful healing.
I have the power to choose, to heal, to be aware.
So do you.
Like I always say, “I strive to be kind to myself, to love myself a little more, and forgive myself even more.”