With long, dark fingers they claw their way up from deep within me.
They have been waiting for this moment. Waiting until I’m at my most vulnerable. They work quickly as they make their way to my throat wrapping their hands around it, while their sinister voice whispers in my ear.
I can’t believe you did that. What will people think of you? How could you be so stupid? You’re not smart enough. You’re not doing a good enough job. You are a failure.
They stick with me for days, sometimes lingering longer until they finally slink away into the background waiting for their next opportunity to punish me for not living up to my expectations.
My expectations of perfection. My need to compete with myself.
All my life I have strived to be the best I can be. The best daughter, the best student, the best employee, the best friend and now the best wife and mother.
I can be hard on myself, relentless even when I feel I have not lived up to my unrealistic expectations. Even the slightest mishap or mistake, especially to do with the girls or my job, can have me coming down on myself like a tonne of bricks.
I constantly push myself harder wanting to be this perfect person that I have imagined. It can be exhausting.
At this stage of my life with so much going on, it is easy for me to drop some of the balls I am juggling. It is not uncommon for me to perform less than perfectly due to sheer exhaustion or the mere fact that my head is spinning with all of the different hats I’m wearing at the moment.
I was whinging to Dave the other day about everything I have going on and how I felt I was doing an average job in most areas of my life. Cool, calm and collected Dave, my rock and voice of reason, was quick to pull me out of my fierce spiral of negative self-talk. He grabbed me, pulled me close and looked into my eyes.
‘You don’t have to do it all, Naisy,’ he had said.
‘You need to be realistic.
‘You can’t do it all.
‘Nobody expects you to do it all.’
His words stuck with me. They were simple enough yet effective.
I need to quit it with these sky high expectations. I have to be forgiving with myself. It is okay to make mistakes. I need to be content with the fact that I am trying my best and my best is enough.
I want to point out that while I think it’s important to not set unrealistic expectations, I believe expectations can be healthy.
These expectations of mine have pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged me to live life to the full, to try different things, and to be the best I can be. They have helped shape me as a person and helped make me grow.
All I need to do now is make sure I reel them back in every now and then and not be too hard on myself. Easy right?! 😉
Do you set yourself unrealistic expectations? Tell me about your experiences.
Linking up today with the always inspirational always Josefa for Conversations over Coffee. This month’s theme is Expectations.