“Feeling like you should be doing something by a certain age will have you miserable. Be yourself unapologetically.” – Hunit Days of Summer
Confession. I am a former overachiever. Whenever I committed to doing something, I wanted to ace the hell out of it. It’s as if I viewed life as one big test, and I strived to always get an A.
When I was 15, no one could tell me that I wouldn’t be married by 25, a mother, and bring home a six-figure salary. Oh, I would also be tall, despite having vertically challenged parents, LOL. The life I thought I’d have was safe from judgment, and most importantly, “normal” and “acceptable.”
Fast forward 20 years and I’m not married, self-employed, and childless (unless you count my two pups). And guess what? I couldn’t be happier.
Listen, the pressure to meet expectations is one that we all feel. No one sets out to be a failure, and society does a very good job of reminding us of what is and isn’t acceptable. Despite being in control of our own lives, many of us succumb to feelings of not measuring up. We choose to live a life that’s safe, despite having the power to write our own destiny.
We tell ourselves that if we get to a certain point in life, we’ll be happy. So we set a goal (which is good) that is usually tied to external approval (which is not so good) and achieve it (which is also good), only to be left unfulfilled anyway (which is not so good). We then set another goal (which is good) that is also tied to external approval (which is not so good), meet the goal (which is good), only to feel empty inside (which is not so good).
And then we feel awful and like a failure because we’re “not where we’re supposed to be.” What an exhausting way to live!
Expectations, especially those that we allow others to set for us, will rarely result in fulfillment. They almost always go against what makes us truly happy. If your spirit doesn’t agree with something, you’ll never feel satisfied. Also, the expectations that we set for ourselves usually do not factor in one important and inevitable thing: the fact that life is going to happen.
You had the expectation of making six figures by now, but your mom passed away. Allow life to happen. You wanted more clients for your business, but had to take time away from work due to illness. Allow life to happen. You figured you’d be married by now, but had to care for a sick relative. Allow life to happen.
Expectations rarely meet reality. While it is great to have standards and a roadmap for your life, it is always best to be realistic and to well, ALLOW LIFE TO HAPPEN.
Oh, and one very important thing: make sure that the life that you’re creating is one that you’ll be pleased with, otherwise you will be miserable. No one else’s opinion matters because when you eternally close your eyes, it will be YOUR life on replay. So make your reel of existence count.
If you could use a guide on how to find true joy while on Earth, check out my latest book, “God, Help Me! A Personal Guide to Freedom While Here on Earth” available for purchase on Amazon.