We live in a world of high expectations; do well at school, get good grades, have a good career, get on the property ladder, have a a romantic marriage, have cute children, hold it all together, even when life is hard. Sometimes trying to live up to the expectations of others, or even the expectations we put on ourselves can be exhausting and unsatisfying.
The group spoke this week of parental and family expectations and how sometimes, for a long time they made choices according to what they perceived their parents wanted and accordingly chose career paths and marriage partners accordingly until one day waking up and realising; “this isn’t me, this isn’t what I have chosen, this isn’t what I am passionate about.”
For some females in the group, quite strict and traditional values were expected of them from a young age to cook, clean and look after younger siblings, and in the process losing their own childhood , and with such punitive strictness there was no flexibility.
Others spoke about the expectation that families had of them during periods of being unwell and that rather than accepting that recovery would take its own time and not be a linear recovery, there was an expectation that recovery would follow a traceable course over a specified timeline.
All of these expectations cause stress and pressure, and, actually if you are not free to be yourself this causes anger and resentment and therefore strife in relationships. If you are talented at music but don’t enjoy it, and your parents push you into learning instruments and performing in orchestras but your passion is to write books you won’t feel like you are fulfilling your dream or feeling satisfied…until you have the opportunity to try and write a book.
We talked about how expectations feed into struggling with self-worth; trying to please others who are never satisfied, this is exhausting and not fulfilling and if we buy into everything needing approval from someone else then we probably won’t ever feel good enough. One result that can come from this is rebellion.
Ultimately we have to do what is right for us and remember that people who genuinely care about us will respect the decisions we make.