Wednesday, April 8, 2009

expectations.

If you have high expectations/standards set for the people in your life, you will continue to be disappointed when they fail to reach them. This can cause annoyance and frustration on your part as well as resentment on the part of the people in your life.

I'm not saying you should expect (or accept) the worst from the people around you. But if you expect everyone to be perfect, you will be disappointed and they will be hurt.

Do expectations really have to be that high? What if you step back from the standard you have set and just evaluate people as they are? Are they really that bad, despite not living up to YOUR expectations for them? Can you accept them for who they are? If so, let it go. It can only help both sides. If not, I suspect the problem is on your end. You are not perfect. Why expect perfection from others?

I'm working hard on this, especially when it comes to ME. I will never live up to any impossibly high standards I set for myself. But when I take a step back and look at myself as I am now, not living up to these expectations at all, I see that I'm actually just fine. In fact, I like myself better and am more relaxed when I just accept that I am where I am. I'll get to those high standards if/when I get there, and there's no need to feel bad about myself in the meanwhile.

Same for everyone else. The people in my life are going to fuck up, and I am going to love them anyway. People say and do hurtful or insensitive things constantly, but I can't expect them to never do these things. What I can do is accept that they will do these things, that we will communicate about them if necessary, and then we will move on. I don't want to have high expectations for other people. It is not fair to me or the other person.

I don't want anyone to have high expectations for me. I'm doing fine the way I am. I'll never be perfect and I don't want to be. I think about teachers in my past and how many of them said I wasn't living up to my potential. If I worked really hard, I could be a straight-A student. If not, I would continue as a B/C student. I felt like I should try harder, should do better, and yet I never did and I felt bad about myself constantly.

Looking back, WHO THE FUCK CARES? So I didn't live up to my potential. Big fricking deal. I learned a lot of important things and I am still learning today. Maybe I am not living up to my potential now, and I'm okay with that. I am happy and content with the way I am living now. My husband and daughter seem happy and content as well.

So fuck it. Even if I had the potential to do things way better than I'm doing them today, it's not worth the stress and the constant sense of failure. I'd rather be a happy-go-lucky C student who's surprised by and proud of the occasional A or B than an anxious A student who berates herself for the occasional B or C. And sure, it'd be great if we could all be straight-A students without the stress or anxiety or self-deprecation, but we can't. At least, I'm not one of those people who can. I don't want to lay that trip on my daughter, either. I'd rather have her be a functional, happy, self-accepting person than someone who lives up to her potential in school.

I've been told often that I am too laid-back about things, but that's the way I am and that's the way I want to be. I'm proud of not forcing myself to live up to my potential. I'm glad I'm accepting where I am. I'm excelling at relationships, so I don't care if I have no motivation towards a career or going back to school or being the perfect homemaker. I am where I am, and I'm doing just fine, and I have no desire to try to do even better than fine. I'd rather be content with what I have than constantly striving towards a goal I'll never reach.

I'm very happy I've finally reached that point, although many might look at this and feel like I'm giving up. But I just don't care. Maybe my house is messy and I'll never get a master's degree or a "real job" and our budget is stretched thin and I quit my work-from-home job because I hate it and we eat the same thing for dinner 4 times a week and we get pizza too often and we fail at our color-coded cleaning schedule and I don't keep up with my writing and I don't shower every day and sometimes we forget to brush Bee's teeth and and and and... I just don't care. I just can't give a shit anymore. Even with all that, we're a happy and healthy family, so why harp on all the things I'm NOT doing?

We seem to be thriving on imperfect, and all that happens when I attempt to do things beyond my capability is that I feel like a failure. This is bad for my mental health, day-to-day life, parenting ability, and relationship. When I stop freaking out about the clutter and the dirt and the fact that it's crockpot stew for dinner AGAIN, I can finally feel good about myself. I'm doing a fantastic job in terms of being a happy and well-adjusted person, an attentive and nurturing mother, a supportive and loving wife, and a caring and generous friend. And even when I don't do as well at those things as I'd like, it's okay because I'm human and I'm bound to slip up every now and then.

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin. Real life. But there was always something in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid, then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." - Alfred D'Souza

I guess what I'm trying to say is, suck it world, I'm fine the way I am. I'm not going to wait around until I'm perfect to love myself and enjoy my life. It is what it is, and what it is is JUST FINE.