When Expectations Mess With You

What does it mean to be me? If I’m not happy with this version then what would an ideal version of me look like? Who do I think I should be? Will it always be someone different from who I am now? And if so, if my results don’t match my expectations, will I be doomed to a life of not enough?


I am catching myself recently contemplating the quality of this or that in my life, noticing the feelings surrounding certain choices and suddenly I realize, this is an expectations issue. And one of my words of the year, Perspective, is dealt into my hand asking to be changed. How I perceive this situation, based on my expectations, will shade how I feel about it and then I will judge it as good or bad. Expectations + Perceptions + Good or Bad Feelings.Fiona on the Swinging bench on

If I’m always comparing my life to that of someone far more “graced” than me, I will always be unhappy. I’ll never be as rich, as talented, or as skinny. My expectations are then a cyclic prison of misery. And I want out.

If I adjust my perspective and decide I’m good where I am, and if I make sure I have a plan on where I’d like to go, I will then feel hopeful about my now. Your journey is then fueled by your faith in your ability to get there. Self-efficacy , the ability to believe if you’ve done it before, you’ll be able to do it again, is based on this faith.  If you suspend your disbelief long enough to prove that you can budge from the stuck place you’ve been in, and if you keep your head down and keep going, the faith in yourself fuel tank will fill even more. You’ll actually get there quicker than you imagined.Fiona gets a haircut with Miss Lisa on

I have spent a lot time filling myself up with positive knowledge about me. I come out of my cave and I speak to people and they thank me for being me. I show up and volunteer and people show up for me. And the community I’m creating all around is building me up. And I feel much more competent to do whatever I put my mind to than I ever did before. It’s been a slow process and yet, I’ve budged. So being me is becoming a better and better person to be. I expect I’ll be my friend by the end.

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2 Responses to “When Expectations Mess With You”

  1. Bill says:

    I am sort of shocked that someone as accomplished and introspectively analytical as you would doubt yourself. I admit that self-evaluation with an eye to fix and improve is a good thing, but as you observe, too much invidious comparison can be debilitating. When I was a young lad (i.e. high school) I was having my mandatory meeting with our guidance counselor (hah! There’s an oxymoron!)when she asked, “well young man, what do you think you will become?” I said that I was interested in science and would like to go to medical school and become a doctor. She then told me to forget about that and said “you are not smart enough to be a doctor!” It only took me a few decades to shuck off that blast from a nattering nabob of negativity.

    • Shalagh says:

      It’s funny Bill, a person’s insides and outsides can be quite different. I am only now cresting the edge of the dark canyon of doubt I’ve roamed for most of my life. My work is very transparent because it’s not that special. It’s something everyone can do and my hope is that by showing my humanity, not being ashamed of being wiggy and fallible, it will allow someone else to move from the shadows. As for you experience with the counselor in school, she sucked. And so many of us sensitive souls have that story. I can also remember my lovely 7th grade English teacher telling me I had talent enough to be a poet, a writer. But my low self-esteem would keep that secret desire a treasured unfulfilled secret until maybe 8 years ago, in my 40’s. I adore “nattering nabob of negativity”.
      Thank you immensely Bill for your comments, they are sooooo appreciated.

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