The burden of expectation
Are you doing all the things you’re expected to do rather than what you should be doing to make your soul sing?
My Facebook thought for the week… (follow me here if you’d like to and you don’t already…)
It starts when we’re small and an adult asks “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Our five-year-old brain is chock-full of so many exciting and interesting possibilities that the answer to that question changes on a daily basis. When we’re that age every day is an adventure to go on, a quest to find out a bit more about our world, the world.
Our eyes sparkle with the promise of it all.
And the adults smile and remember what it was like to be free from the burden of expectation.
As we grow, that burden gradually and insidiously gets heavier. The changes are almost unnoticeable from one day to the next, but by the time we reach our teenage years we’re aware of just how much expectation has been placed on us. We might wriggle and do our utmost to shrug it off but it’s almost impossible to lose it completely.
We are expected to try our best at school.
We are expected to achieve the highest grades we are capable of.
We are expected to behave in certain ways.
We are expected to follow well-trodden paths into gainful employment.
We are expected to embark on a meaningful relationship with a significant other.
And so the list goes on…
I wish there was more expectation for our young people to have as many experiences as possible so they can discover what will make them fulfilled.
I wish there was the expectation that we learn that we are internally responsible for our happiness.
I wish there was the expectation that the best path for us to tread is the one that moulds itself to the shape of our feet and takes us on our own unique journey.
The good news is that it’s never too late to pack up that burden of expectation and set it down. Just for a while. Even if it’s only for an hour or so each day you will feel the lightness of simply being.
It can be uncomfortable at first, the freedom of it.
Living within the framework of expectation makes it easier to make decisions because it narrows down the possibilities. It gives you fewer options to consider.
But it also means that you may well not be giving yourself the opportunity to consider those options that would work best for you. The options that would make you happiest.
I challenge you today to set those expectations aside for a while…
Say yes instead of no and see where it leads.
Graciously decline instead of accepting an invitation that you don’t really want to accept.
Be brave. Try it. Relish the feeling.
P.S. If you want to raise your baseline happiness levels grab yourself a copy of my free ebook How To Set Up You HQ here!