We all go through life with a series of expectations hanging over our heads. Employers, parents, spouses, children, friends — everyone has an idea of what we should do, or how we should be. Expectations can be a great tool, if we know how to use them as motivators. But we all also have a set of self-imposed expectations: goals we wants to reach, accomplishments we pursue, projects or challenges we tackle.
June has been both a wonderful and (for some of us) an extremely difficult month. Jump Off the Ladder had our biggest participation to date in June! But we’ve also seen our fair share of struggles and and frustrations. In my own life, I’ve seen my carefully crafted plans come apart at the seams in the face of unexpected obstacles.
Part of Living Simply is learning to put our own expectations into perspective, so they become assets and not millstones around our necks. It’s wonderful to look in the mirror every morning and say “I can accomplish everything I need to accomplish today.” But what if we began to add, “But I’m not going to allow guilt and unnecessary pressure to cloud my life, because I am taking good steps, even if those steps don’t look how I hoped they would.” When the carefully-planned schedule breaks down, what if we congratulated ourselves on making it in the first place, instead of punishing ourselves for not being perfect? When we miss a day on the new workout plan, what if we used our previous successes as a ramp into tomorrow, instead of throwing in the towel?
We are capable of fantastic change. We can do what we set our minds to do. But we do not have to resign ourselves to feelings of disappointment and self-deprivation every time we mess up. How free would we feel if the person looking back at us in our mirror said that it was okay to fail, as long as we didn’t stop trying?
This coming week, let’s try to tell ourselves that life is a journey. Let’s try to remind that mirror twin that failure is an option, as long as they never stop moving forward, trying again, being creative. Let’s learn to grow without the pressure of unhealthy expectation.