We all have expectations for ourselves and that is a good thing. It can keep us in line and help us push to be the best version of us. However, we also tend to have expectations or false truths about ourselves. For example, I’ve always wanted to be an executive who wore stylish power suits and always walked into the office with a Starbucks cup in hand.  Here’s the problem with that: I hate having to dress up day in and day out. It's more my personality to wow every once in a while than dress up every single day. It feels draining to worry about what I have to wear every day and while I still look good, I obviously don’t wear an executive-style power suit unless I’m looking to impress.

Somewhere I put this image in my mind, whether it was from a TV show or magazine or movie, that I should be this powerhouse woman with a cup of coffee as she strolls into the office. And that image just isn’t me. Don’t get me wrong, I am a powerhouse type of woman but I don’t need to be dressed up over the top every single day and I don’t need to pick up a coffee habit to do so. But even knowing these things about myself, I still feel a little let down every time I walk to work and on the way, I see a woman that fits that image. I think to myself, why can’t I do that?  I should do that. Then I try it for a few days (replacing coffee with hot chocolate) and I’m miserable. My feet kill me and are blistered from walking to work. My clothes are uncomfortable and I am more prone to headaches because I’ve started off my morning with a sugar-filled hot chocolate. Every once in a while, I can do it, but every day? It's just not me. The problem is that I feel let down when I’m not achieving this expectation and I hate life when I am. I need to adjust my expectation of self to be happier all the way around.

As I said above, there is nothing wrong with having expectations for yourself but when those expectations are against who you are… it can lead to unnecessary sadness, personal shaming, and comparisons to those around you. In other words, it can make you unhappy.  Do you have any expectations for yourself that go against your personal grain?

Photo by Frances Gunn