Dangers of unrealistic expectations

Expectations we all have them.  I would even go so far to say, that it is apart of the human condition, in that it comes naturally to us.  We create expectations of ourselves and others.  Sometimes our expectations are realistic and other times they are just unrealistic.    Realistic expectations are great because they are achievable and most times even reasonable.

Unrealistic expectations on the other hand, are the total opposite. They are often unattainable and unreasonable.  They can have negative effects on relationships and the individual.   I have lived through and survived both. Today I want to highlight some of the things I learnt along the way and how I overcame them.

Some negatives that could arise due to unrealistic expectations within the relationship are:

  1. Create unnecessary conflict
  2. Foster resentment
  3. Increase stress levels
  4. Breakdown in communication
  5. Avoidance of each other when possible
  6. Baffled ( as you try to find logic in what is being asked of you)

Some negatives that could arise from self-inflicted unrealistic expectations are:

  1. Bring on depression
  2. Increase stress levels
  3. Increase the risk of failure – (if the goal or target set is not realistic you will fail)
  4. Beating up yourself emotionally – (negative self-talk)
  5. Foster resentment towards yourself – (for not meeting the expectation)
  6. Cause loss of appetite for some people – (side effect from the stress)
  7. Trigger over eating in others – (side effect from the stress)
  8. Negatively impact your health sometimes mentally and or physically.
  9. Hinder your happiness

Some examples of unrealistic expectations include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Relying on your loved ones to make and keep you happy.
  2. Expecting to never fail at anything.
  3. Expecting to be great at everything.
  4. Expecting everybody you meet to like you.
  5. Expecting the people you love to never make a mistake.
  6. You can ‘fix’ everyone. 
  7. You can do everything yourself.
  8. You don’t need anyone.
  9. You are in control of everything.
  10. Our kids want we want for them.

How I overcame my unrealistic expectations:

  1. Stop expecting others to be perfect.
  2. Admit and accept that I was not perfect.
  3. Be realistic and honest with myself. Don’t expect of others things  I do not expect of  myself.
  4. Put myself in the other person’s shoe. Not because I am good at something means everyone else is too.
  5. How we communicate what we want, is just as important as what we communicate, if not more.
  6. Apologize (where I was guilty) and genuinely try do better.
  7. Make a list of anything I deemed was unreasonable and I would try to communicate same to whomever was guilty of it and try to come up with a better way forward.

It took time and practice but I have gotten better at managing my expectations of others and myself.  I’ve seen the benefits both in my relationships and myself.  Always aim to be realistic and reasonable in your expectations.

Thank you for stopping by.  🙂

When “love” is not enough

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Do you know the feeling of frustration you can get from loving someone so much that no matter how bad they treat you – you love them anyway?    They disappoint you time and time again. You love them still.  They hurt you in ways that no one who truly loves another human being should – and we make excuses for them and love them anyway.  You love them so much that it drains you emotionally and physically.

The people around you don’t understand what you see in this person sometimes but you know what and how you feel.  Their judgements don’t sway you because you are in love. However, as the emotional load you carry starts accumulating it begins to weigh you down.  You are ignoring your own needs because all you do is try to make this person happy at the sacrifice of your own happiness.

I have been there and when you’re in it – it does not feel like you’re doing anything wrong.  In fact, it feels like you’re doing everything right.  Just what a person in a relationship is supposed to do compromise and be flexible.  After all, no relationship is perfect.   However, all your efforts always seem not enough.  You guys can’t seem to stay happy long enough before there is something new or old to argue about.  It feels as though he or she does it on purpose sometimes just to pick a fight.

You are always arguing and everything seems to always be your fault as they seldom take responsibility for any failures within the relationship.  While in my relationship, I honestly never thought anything was wrong with it.  I loved him and I honestly believed that he loved me at least that’s what he would say but his actions sometimes did not match his words.

Denial kept me in a false reality for so long that when I eventually woke up I was so angry with myself.  I thought if I loved him enough he would do right by me and that things would get better but it didn’t.  He convinced me and I convinced myself that we could work through our issues and emerge the successful couple everyone or rather most people thought we were.  I comprised and comprised more than I should have.

I soon realized that loving him was not enough.  It was eating me alive.  The hurt and pain just kept compounding.  Was it really my job to make him happy and keep him happy?  Enough was enough and eventually the time came when I had to decide for myself – to love myself as much as if not more than I had loved him.  It was time to do what was best for me.

I later learnt that it was not my job to make him happy and that he had his own issues he needed to deal with if he was ever to be truly happy.  I had my own issues to address if I was ever to have a healthy relationship going forward.

You see me loving him despite his mistakes and poor decisions didn’t make him a better person; it didn’t make him stop doing or saying things that hurt me.  If nothing else, it gave him the permission to continue with his poor choices as he knew I would forgive him and try to work it out.  He took me and my love for granted.  Love was not enough to save my relationship.  It took a rational view of what was really going on for me to see that I was losing myself in that relationship. It had become toxic.

I am all for working on relationships but it is not a one person job because it takes two. To love and be loved is a beautiful thing but we must never lose sight of the importance of loving ourselves.  Any relationship that is taking more than its giving is one you should review.  When you are loved you should see it and feel it.  Your partner’s actions and words should match up.

I am in a much happier and healthier place in my life and I’m proud of myself for making the tough decision to move forward.  It was not easy but I am glad I did.  I know it can be difficult to walk away from someone you love but there are times for your own well-being it is necessary.  Do what is best for YOU!  You owe that to yourself.

Forgiveness: Why is it so difficult?

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Forgiveness is when you choose to free yourself from all the hurt, pain, resentment, bitterness and anger that you would have acquired as a result of someone hurting you  emotionally, psychologically or through their actions. 

“What is the big deal with forgiveness anyway?  What does it mean to forgive someone?  How is this going to help me? They don’t deserve it!”   These were the thoughts that often raced through my mind before I made the decision to forgive for the very first time.

Why is it so difficult for us to forgive?

From my experience I can tell you, I was filled with so much hurt, anger, pain and resentment that just the thought of forgiving angered me even more.   After all, I trusted, respected and loved those offenders with all my heart.

Looking back now I can see why it was so difficult for me to forgive them. The reality is someone would do or say something we don’t like but the people who we consider near and dear to us will always have the biggest impact on how we feel.

It is our love for them that makes their betrayal so difficult for us to forgive them. When the people we care about and love do or say things that hurt us, their behaviour can be interpreted to be one that is not reflecting that love and consideration we’ve come to expect from them and this is what hurts more sometimes, than the actual wrong itself.

Let’s look at the side effects of unforgiveness:

  1. It keeps you prisoner of your hurt and pain.
  2. It prevents you from being truly happy.
  3. It hinders your personal and spiritual growth.
  4. It could negatively affect your health.
  5. It is a toxic and unhealthy type of existence.

Take the key and let yourself out of the self-made prison called “unforgiveness”.

Choose to forgive:

Sounds easy enough, but it isn’t.  I won’t pretend or lie to you.  It took me a long time to really  forgive the people who hurt me over the years.  Just saying, “I forgive you” didn’t make me feel better. I had to decide in my mind and spirit that I would say it and mean it.  That I was going to release those negative feelings towards those people and not look back.  Once I did that, I felt that heavy burden lift off of me. Say it and mean it!

So we’ve chosen to forgive our wrong doers and set ourselves free from the hurt and pain. Well done! What about the memories?  That is another story.  Any negative experiences that you have that caused you to unforgive in the first place, won’t just disappear.  However, the process of forgiving and time would help you cope and even heal those wounds.

I recognized that I could not do it on my own.  I had to dig deep and ask God to give me the strength and courage to face my demons.  You can do it too!

Now let’s recap:

  1. Forgiveness is for YOU, not the person who hurt you.
  2. Forgiveness does not erase the memories of the hurt but it can free you from the prison of pain you often find yourself in.
  3. It is difficult at times to forgive but the benefits such as happiness and peace of mind are much better than the hurt, resentment and pain that unforgiveness brings.
  4. It feels good.
  5. Ask God for the strength and courage to overcome this once and for all.

I understand that you’ve been hurt and I understand that what I’m suggesting would take tremendous courage and emotional strength but believe me when I tell you this – YOU CAN DO IT!    The focus here is YOUYour happiness and peace of mind. Forgive them so you can be free.  The choice is yours.