When I first met my husband, I remember, talking non-stop. It’s something I’ve always done, but I used to be quite a chatterbox, probably not allowing others to get much more than a word in…I was young, and my beef was always with others instead of the reality of the situation—that I, in most cases was the actual problem.
I remember him telling me once, “Jeanna…you just need to just—lower your expectations—!
A man of few words, I still remember this…and what (probably) came afterwards towards him was a tidal wave a defense mechanisms, all that defended my stance and character defects in feeling as though I’d been stunned, shunned, and insulted to the highest degree.
It wouldn’t be until years later that this conversation would rear its head again, and this time it came at a point in time (when I was much older and in recovery), that I was willing to listen.
“Lowering your expectations,” even now sounds so defeatist to me. But when I really think about it, it’s truly just a ploy to help us understand how to get rid of that “all or nothing” thinking—that slight nudge we all have towards “perfectionism.”
“Progress not perfection,” they say…but what does that even mean, and how does that slogan even apply to all aspects of our journey when it comes to lowering our expectations.
For me, I realize now, that lowering my expectations does NOT mean lowering my standards, changing my values, or lowering the bar in the creation of my goals.
It does; however, mean, that I sometimes expect more out of others and situations that are even possible and THAT is what sets me up for failure and the awful feelings of disappointment and despair…and when I feel let down by others it can sometimes feel like I’m unloved, taken for granted, or that I’m on some type of “no fly” list.
So I’ve learned to lean in to what “lowering expectations” means for others and so far I’ve learned that it’s actually a very healthy way of defeating the “all or nothing” mentality.
Sometimes we wait for that perfect moment or person to come along in our lives in order to make a decision. Honest mistake, but one in which the all or nothing approach loves best…
Our minds tell us that we should be validated and emotionally invested and supported by others in order to be successful but in reality, that’s only looking for trouble. Lowering our expectations of others means we no longer need their emotional validation in order for us to be successful.
Lowering expectations can also mean:
-a realistic and achievable viewpoint
-being relevant and helpful
-making things doable
-preparation for long term success
-ensuring our success by making responsible and mature choices
-being forgiving of others and oneself
So instead of carrying the stigma of negative consequences that “lowering expectations” used to have for me, I’ve flipped the script; today I instill my own best practices which include lowering my expectations and heightening realistic outcomes.
Here’s to a new day full of endless opportunities and great things for those who choose to be part of the journey in finding joy in the adventure.
May you be well—Always.