Expectations are a very tricky thing because we all them. We put them on movies we want to see or books we are about to read, but the kind that are the most difficult to navigate are the ones that we put on ourselves, and even harder still are the ones that are put on us by other people.
I have always had this compulsive need to do well. Not in a competitive sort of way in fact, I'm not a very competitive person at all, but no matter what it is I am doing whether it be school, work, a sport, as a sister and as I daughter I always felt like I could be doing better. This seems to be a pretty common thing for young people who are still trying to figure out what they want, and it does as you can imagine create a lot of unwanted pressure and anxiety.
When you create these types of expectations for yourself and you have other people holding you to certain expectations, thats when you can lose yourself in trying to obtain an impossible standard.
As I was reading through "The Normal One" I would highlight things that resonated with me, as well as things that were the opposite of how I felt. There was a lot of talk about the different expectations of the siblings in different roles and this quote really stuck out to me.
"Healthy children with a damaged sibling can get too much attention or too little, but its rarely of the right kind. They are chosen to repair their parents broken dreams, they become vessels of exaggerated expectations and feel like they are forced to compensate for two."
I think every parent has different expectations for each of their children based on their strengths and weaknesses, and what they are passionate about, but fundamentally if you grow up in the same household you probably have similar expectations put on you to some extent.
By no means do I think my parents don't have expectations for Brett, they are just very different from the one's they have for me, which can be both good and bad.
Ultimately I've always had it in my head that I had to be the one to succeed no matter what. Not just for me but for my family, my parents are both very successful and I wanted to live up to that, but I have also always wanted to make a life for my brother as well, which I've learned over time is a choice he has to make not me.
I knew what college I wanted to go to when I was four years-old and I was always working towards that I've always been striving for something, which is good because it keeps you motivated but you also have to know its okay to make a mistake. This was something that I wasn't really shown.
Any small mistake that I made was catastrophic in my head it was a bigger deal to my family if I made a mistake than my brother, this wasn't done on purpose its just kind of something that happens in these situations like it or not.
The weight of having to succeed for two people will crush you and it did crush me for a while. I floundered around with my anxiety and this pressure for a long time before I finally asked for help.
I am still a type-A personality, I still get nervous about doing things right, but I had to make the decision and come to the realization that it was impossible for me to do everything right all the time. I also had to make sure I was perusing the things that I wanted because I wanted them.
Everyones definition of success is different, it is good to have goals and dreams but make sure you make most of them attainable. It is good to want to make your loved ones proud, but make sure you are enjoying life. Take a deep breath and look around you because at the end of the day its about the journey not the destination, nobody is perfect and a mistake is really only a mistake if you choose not to grow from it.
Challenge: Thank someone for their hard work or tell them they are doing a good job. (trust me it goes a long way.)