Expectations Can Be Toxic! Here's How.
Happy Halloween, everybody! It really doesn't feel like Halloween today, but that's okay. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, let's jump right in!
Here's a quote I found today:
"I think my issue is that I put you into the God-shaped hole in my heart. I adored you; I idolized you. And when you didn't meet up to those expectations, I couldn't handle it. It broke me."
This was something I found in one of my old journals, talking about a pretty nasty situation that had happened -- one I really don't want to talk much about. It was when things truly fell apart with my ex, and I was devastated. I put so much of myself into our relationship, that I was destroyed when it didn't work out. Both parties were at fault, and I'm not going to go into detail, because I want to protect his privacy, and to be honest, the details really don't matter.
That really well-known quote, "God never gives us more than we can handle." Yeah, that's total bull crap.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that. Nowhere.
If anything, God purposely lets us break so that we beg Him for help and learn to rely on Him truly and fully. By doing that, we allow ourselves to rest in the peace He designed for us.
That was super off-topic, but I felt it needed to be said.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having high expectations and standards (I have some pretty high ones myself), but I often think we take them too far. When I was still with my ex, I was holding him to ridiculously high standards, and I wasn't as good to him as I thought I was. Let me give you some context. My ex and I were really good friends, and he came into my life at a time that was supremely perfect. I was struggling my faith, because at the time I was being bullied to the point that I was contemplating suicide. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I had no one. My friends all abandoned me, my parents were dealing with major drama that my sister was going through at the time, and I felt utterly alone. And then he came along. We started as just friends, and prior to that my ex and I, let's just call him Joe for now. Joe and I had been friends for a while before all of that, many years, actually. We just weren't close up until that point. We became best friends.
You can see how this might cause some issues, though, right? I didn't fill the void where I was struggling with my faith. I kept trying to fill it with Joe, and then I would get upset or angry when it didn't work. I honestly didn't realize I was doing it. But, it's like one of those wooden shape puzzles babies play with. I kept trying to jam the triangle through the circle hole and would cry when it didn't work.
And honestly, filling that void, even after Joe and I's relationship ended, has been very slow work. It's been two and a half years, and only now do I feel incredibly secure in my faith. I mean, I've felt secure in my faith for a few months now, but that isn't the point I'm making.
The point I'm making is that my expectations played a large role in why things didn't work out. Obviously, there were other issues, but my fault lies in my high expectations and the way I forced them onto Joe. It's honestly something I still feel pretty bad about.
Expectations are really important to keep an eye on. For me, with expectations, I kind of have to learn the hard way. I'm not great at keeping them in check. I have high expectations for not only myself, but the people around me. I've gotten a lot better at keeping them in check for others, but the expectations of myself is where I tend to get carried away.
Friends, I truly recommend taking some time to try to think about the expectations you set for yourself and others. They can be catastrophic to your life, and you may not even realize it.
This goes for standards that are too low as well.
Take pride in yourself! You are a beautiful, amazing, wonderful person. Take a look at your standards. Have someone else take a look at your standards. If they're too low, find someone to hold you accountable and help you have them a little higher. If they're too high, ask someone to keep you in check. Tell them not to let you get too crazy with it.
I've experienced where I've done both, so friends, I really do understand. I'm a very introspective person, so I try to spend a lot of time thinking about where my issues are, or have been in the past. So, I'm going to get real and share with you guys where I'm currently having issues with my expectations.
Too High Expectations with Myself: Having a plan for the future. I have to have a plan, always. If I don't have one, it's like my world is falling apart. Even if it's just a plan for the week. Normally, it's to have a plan for the long-term future, but I've been trying to relinquish some of that control to God.
Too High Expectations with Others: A place where I struggle with having too high of expectations with others is that I kind of expect other people to value the same things I do, or view things the way I do. For example: I have a very odd view of the medical field, and I expect other people to think the same way, even though they don't necessarily have a reason too. Or, maybe with homeschooling. I'm really big on homeschooling because I had a good experience. Not everyone does. Not everyone thinks homeschooling is a good idea. I need to learn to let go of these expectations. People can think differently, and it's okay.
Too Low Expectations with Myself: This one is harder for me to place. I'm pretty well-known for having high expectations. Low expectations with myself I think is that I have a tendency to believe I'm not desirable, and on days I feel like that I don't take care of myself the way I should. I tend to put on a mask and not deal with why I feel that way. I don't stop to take a moment to consider it. I'm not nearly as gentle with myself as I should be. My therapist is constantly telling me that I need to show myself grace and I have a really hard time doing it.
Too Low Expectations with Others: Low expectations with others... This is a difficult one for me too. I think I don't expect people to help me. I think this reflects back onto me though. I have a difficult time asking for help, and when I do, I don't actually expect to receive. Honestly, that's why being in my new small group this year has been so good for me. They do so much for me, and I couldn't love those girls more.
In short, expectations are important. So, think about yours. Try to decide where you stand. Are you happy with your expectations? Or are they causing you more harm than good? If they are, how can you fix them? Do you need to ask for help?
And, as always, let me know if you have thoughts or questions you want to share. I'd love to hear from you!
Date Written: Thursday, October 31st, 2019 at 3:00pm
One Thing I'm Grateful For: Scrubs! They're actually super comfortable! :D
My Halloween Costume: A Scrub Nurse
Song of the Day: Battle Scars by Paradise Fears