Wednesday, January 21, 2009

not so great expectations

I have come to realize that a lot of my woes come from unrealistic expectations.  And I am the queen of unrealistic expectations.  My personality type is that of an idealist.  So, obviously, I tend to think of things as they should be, rather than as they are.

Marriage is not like romance novels would have you think it is.  
Being a mother is not all about trips to the zoo and sweet conversations while brushing a child's hair.
Owning a dog is not just love and laughs and undying loyalty.
Life is not perfect!

And even though I have learned that reality doesn't meet my expectations, I continue to have expectations.  I don't know how to not have expectations.  I set myself up every time.

I do specifically remember when I went to a writers' conference and on the way there I asked God to remove all expectations.  I wanted to  just enjoy whatever it turned out to be...  and I did!  I went with an open mind and attitude and wasn't disappointed in the slightest.  But only because I thought to ask God to help me.
Otherwise, I will be disappointed every time.  Nothing ever meets my expectations.

So, here I am trying to write a book.  And I have expectations.  And for me, success and failure are measured by whether or not I meet my own expectations.  How often do you think I feel like I succeed?

A friend and I were talking about effort and how that our kids are so bright that they don't really have to give 100% in order to do well enough.  My friend mentioned that she loves the feeling of having done her absolute best on something.   I said I didn't know what that felt like.  At first I thought that was because I've never had given my best but then I realized that it was because my best is never good enough.  I can give 100%, but not be satisfied with the result.  Because of my expectations.  And what do I expect from myself?  Perfection apparently.

So, what do I do?  How do I learn that my best is all I can do and to find satisfaction in that?  How do I learn to habitually set aside expectations?  I know that one key is to ask God to remove them from me.  So I guess that's the habit I need to get into.

I would love for life to be one joyous surprise after another, rather than let down after let down.

Any other ideas, thoughts, suggestions?  Do you struggle with this?  Have you overcome this?  Or are you one of those blessed folks who takes life as it comes?


  1. I guess..I am the one that takes one day at a time...there are disappointments but I always try to find the positive out of everything and anything that happens and try to not compare myself to others. This is where I can get I can always finds someone that does it better! :)

  2. And that is the case, Melanie. I've learned that no matter how good something is there is ALWAYS something better somewhere. The place I have to get is not to try to please myself but to please the One who loves me more than I could ever love myself. If I give myself and my efforts totally to Him, I can eliminate comparison because He is the blessed "no respecter of persons".
    Kay, He is the only "ideal". He is the only perfection. He is the only Person, Place, and Existence of Idealism. Outside of Him you will not find any of it, and you will always be disappointed. But you know that. Now you have to live it. Bring your expectations to the level He expects, not the superfluous level you demand from yourself and situations around you. Your great expectations will be met but not here.

  3. Maybe try designating certain tasks as those you can leave at "good enough." For example, you probably want to do your very best with the book you are writing, but maybe a simple dinner is good enough. Or perhaps you can get the clothes washed and put away, but a wrinkle here and there is okay. I everything doesn't hae to be up to par it might relieve some pressure.

    Above all, however, I encourage you to make sure your kids know that their best is good enough for you. It is hard enough to live up to our own expectations without having to worry about mom's as well.

    Hang in there!

  4. It's probably your mother's fault. :) or :(


I love to hear your thoughts!