Expectation is a funny word as it can mean many things. A lot of us associate it with success and how success is expected not something you could consider. Many of us understand ‘expectation’ when it’s a well worn path such as the big 3 things in life; job, marriage and kids. However, what I find interesting is when people feel the weight of ‘expectation’ over things we could consider trivial.
Let me give you a few examples. I recently met a guy who told me one of his biggest fears was returning to his home country and not leaving with an Australian accent as his family expected him to be able to ‘speak like a local.’ Another person told me she had to find a better looking boyfriend because her family had told her the last one was too ugly. I, myself have felt this trivial expectation a number of years ago when I thought I had to have a girlfriend before the next time I saw a certain relative.
Ultimately, it’s quite obvious that there’s a common theme here; family. It makes sense that family and expectations are highly correlated due to the importance they play in your life but how does that explain the ‘expectation’ over trivial things and furthermore, is it justified as rational?
The easy assumption is to always say people are irrational and therefore anything random, strange or completely nonsensical is understandable. Whilst I agree that this is a valid point, I disagree with it being irrational. My reasons might be selfish but I don’t like it when there’s an issue and there’s nothing I can do about it. As such, I argue that people are behaving rationally but it may seem weird as it is not from a position of strength. Instead I might argue that it is from a position of fear.
Everyone has fears but I say that the fear of letting down someone we really care about has to be one of the biggest. Thus, when those closest to us make comments or undertake actions which negatively influence us, we equate this to ‘failure.’ As such, we feel a rational need to fix this problem; often at all costs. However, in our pursuit of fixing the problem, if there is no easy fix, we begin to cloud the lines of rational and irrational.
Funnily, it is this rationale that keeps the process behind it rational despite the irrational actions. So what can you do about it? Let’s go back to our earlier examples.
Everyone likes value for money. Often when you go to study in a foreign place, there is a large sum of money that is paid. As such, you may feel this trivial expectation to maximise the ‘education’ you are receiving. In order to not disappoint, I can completely understand the need to ‘master’ skills which you are perceived as having access to such as learning to ‘speak like a local.’
In most cases, this has a lot more to do with you than it does with the person you are wanting to impress. As such, I encourage you to find the real reasons behind this motivation. If it is truly fear of disappointment, then I think you may be missing the point of why you and indirectly your family want you to achieve it.
If however, its a non negotiable, I find that more often than not, these little expectations are quite achievable if you go about them the right way. Get out of your comfort zone and realise that learning from failures are some of the best life lessons you will receive. Take it slow and try to do go for the unrealistic options. You really shouldn’t be buying a lottery ticket to pay off a $200,000 debt. Yet for some reason this is the way we often handle the trivial expectations.
Human nature or maybe animal instinct in this case is essentially to reproduce. Now couple this with an insatiable desire for infinite wants and its completely understandable for wanting to improve your bloodlines future. As such, careful consideration must be given to the other player in the equation; your partner.
This makes it understandable why your family will often make you feel inadequate when it comes to relationships. Once again, if your decisions are made as a result of fear you are probably likely to be choosing someone who isn’t right for you. Instead of reacting to, you must try to act from a position of strength. As is a common theme in my posts, this position of strength comes from asking the right questions and analysing the situation accordingly. In this case, you must find out what matters most to you in life and then find out the motivations of the person that is causing the weight of expectation to descend upon you. You may realise that the person always encouraging you is a completely materialistic person and therefore actually offers no real value to you. Harsh but true, but just because someone is family, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have valid things to say.
Expectations are and will always be a funny word to deal with. Some of them will be easy to deal with whilst others despite their small stature, will eat and eat away at us until we reach a cross roads and we rationally do something irrational. Just remember that, whilst family will pick you up when you do the irrational, there’s really no excuse for you if constantly allow them to lead you to the irrational.
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