In today’s society, there is a lot of pressure to be the best at everything. Magazines, billboards, music & tv shows tell us we must be perfect, and perfect in a certain way. We can also put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet standards that have been instilled in us. We must be the best mom/dad, the best husband/wife, have the best car, the biggest home, always look perfect in public, get the highest paying job and have the best of all possessions money can buy. Feeling stressed yet? That is a daunting list, which is not realistic. Even more so, is it true?
Lowering your expectations is one way of dealing with the stress of meeting these standards. We know stress can cause a myriad of imbalances in the body that lead to chronic diseases, so we need every break we can get. And this is a break you can give to yourself.
This practice will allow you to recognize which expectations are very important (i.e. exercising daily, eating well, being a good person) and which are not serving you that you can drop. If you have stress around the very important stuff, try other stress relieving techniques like meditation.
Think about what expectations you have for yourself. You can write them down. Keep the list and examine each expectation individually. “I expect that my home should always be spotless.” Now ask yourself the following questions and respond honestly:
- Where did this expectation come from?
- How does it contribute to stress in my life?
- How does this expectation serve me?
- Can I create a new belief that lowers the pressure I put on myself?
What you discover might surprise you. You may realize that an expectation developed as a result of how you were parented. For example, you were always told by your mom your home should be clean because you never know when company might drop by to visit. However, there may be many occasions where this expectation is unrealistic and causes undue stress. If you lower your expectations, you won’t have to come home after a long day of work, only to scrub your floors. By lowering your expectations, you lower the pressure on yourself. Give yourself a break, lighten up and lower your expectations. It will decrease a controllable form of stress, the kind that comes from within, and it will help you to live a healthier life full of the joys you want to experience.