- in relation to our partners - how they "should" behave versus how they do behave, how they were “before” life changes compared to how they are now;
- of our friends - what is a "good" friend and a not-so-good friend;
- of our family of origin – how they should behave versus how they do behave;
- of ourselves - what is our role as mother/father (and what makes us good/bad at that?), our role as partner/wife/husband, as citizens or members of society, as friends, as daughters and sons etc.
So many expectations we have of others, and so many we have of ourselves, the roles we play, the behaviour society and media tell us we "should" be displaying in order to fit into the "good" category. It’s confusing and not just a little overwhelming at times.
The broad variety of answers available to these questions is what makes hearing our own voices, wants and needs so difficult at times … which in turn makes it difficult to decide on what we believe and how we want to behave - both in relation to ourselves and with reference to the “others” in our lives.
The issue is often that the assumptions upon which these expectations are based are false or misunderstood or just plain incorrect.
Start by looking at how you were raised, what beliefs you have grown up with and gathered along the way, how you currently behave and how you expect others to behave. How many of these assumptions you make about yourself and others are based upon old ideas, someone else's opinion, someone else's experience of life ... and how many of your expectations are based on your actual experiences?
Take a regular step back from a situation and ask yourself what you are expecting and what assumptions you are making with those expectations. Above all, ask yourself how the expectations you carry are helping you towards living the life you want. If the answer is "they are not", you have a choice about whether to hang onto them, or let them go ... right now.