Quote from Wild Words with Wild Women: “The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.” – Queen Victoria, the very proper monarch
Expectations surround us from the time we are born. They may even begin before that if our birth was intentional. As infants and children, we are very dependent on others for our survival, comfort and happiness. We learn to act as we are expected to. We then begin acting to get what we want. Finally, we start juggling between those two poles: what others want and what we want.
The most pervasive sets of expectations are social and gender related. They funnel us into careers and structure our relationships. They limit us directly and indirectly, just as we limit ourselves. If we have difficulty meeting the expectations of those close to us, we may begin to cast ourselves in terms of failure and inability. In truth, people fail over and over again, learn from those “failures,” make adjustments, change their approach and achieve satisfaction.
I say “satisfaction” and not “success” because sometime you are both satisfied AND successful, but often you simply gain knowledge and reach a conclusion. That conclusion may lead you in a new direction, even causing you to abandon your original goal.
I am definitely more content since becoming less concerned with the expectations of others. What I do is more about enjoyment and less about competition. And I’ve learned to stop forcing my own expectations on others. Am I always aware of doing that? Of course not. Remaining aware of it is easiest when I act without attaching to the outcome. In essence, I act from my own convictions. I act in the way that fits my own personal definition and expectations. Whatever the outcome, I remain the person I want to be or become. And when I “fail” this personal expectation, I analyze and adjust.