Hello people on the internet who read things I write.
Let me say it how it is. Today, I am writing a blog post on the expectations I set for myself.
The reason? Because I’m actually experiencing a real moment of clarity and acceptance right now and truth be told, I’ve not felt like this for a while. I thought I would utilise this time to its maximum potential so you, dear reader, and I can both laugh (and say a bit of a fuck you) to the ridiculousness that is me. They say the truth will set you free. Here are some of my truths:
I must be okay all the time.
If I am not okay with something, there is something wrong with me. Especially in relationships. I was having a conversation with one of my close friends the other day (kind of the male version of me but with better fashion sense, hair, career choice etc, I’m into promotion. Find him here) and we were talking about how we are in such good headspaces when we are not in relationships. It seems counter-intuitive… but really what we meant was that when we are alone, there is no longer a constant stimulus there that challenges us. It’s comfortable because we know we’re okay by ourselves. We’re both givers, so we love relationships for the focus they provide to channel all this wonderful love and energy we have but they can really wear us down sometimes too because we expect so much of ourselves.But really… what’s the worst that could happen if we are not okay with everything? Sure, you feel a little hurt. But it’s nothing drastic. We don’t have to agree with the people we love all the time. If the disagreements become so difficult to handle that that a given friendship or relationship stops becoming worth the difficulty… it’s in your better interests to leave it anyway. A better balance might be trying to understand another person’s perspective but not pushing yourself to be okay with something when you’re not. Broadening your horizons and opening your mind but not constantly putting yourself down because you have to be Miss/ Mrs/Mr/ Dr/ Lord/ Reverend Perfect and be okay with everything. I’m writing this for you as much as I’m writing it for me, lovely reader. Let’s both learn from my mistakes.
Not only must I be okay, I must be happy all the time.
I’m going to take a moment to do a massive Derren Brown and shit all over the self help industry. Fuck you Rhonda Byrne, Gabby Bernstein, Oprah, Abraham Hicks, Tony Rob… (no never, I love you Tony Robbins you freaking rockstar legend, I would never berate you on a blog, you gorgeous soul). I’m going to take a moment to point out how utterly stupid it is to encourage this notion that we need to be happy all the time, feel good all the time, generate good thoughts and feelings and they will manifest in your life. So let me get one thing straight: I believe in the law of attraction. I believe that whatever you give to the world, you attract back. I truly believe that if you give love, love will come back to you. I believe that reality is something we create and it’s important to see the good in life and focus on those things. I believe that if I think I’m good enough to achieve something, that thing will come to me in a seamless, resistance free way. However, I do not believe that you should ever force yourself to be positive because you think that’s what you need to do to be happy. It’ll backfire on you. It’s backfired on me so much that I’ve ended up in some dark places, drowning in my own self-loathing. And reading about the glorious universe wanting me to be happy has made it worse. If you feel sad, just be sad goddamit. Being sad is so much more satisfying when you allow yourself to revel in your own misery, cry like a baby and validate all those feelings that are begging for your attention. It’s so much better when you just decide, in those moments to be your own best friend rather than your own worst enemy and hug yourself instead of hurt yourself. It doesn’t come easily to perfectionists because our expectations of ourselves are sky high all the time. Although I love reading about the mind and the universe and their interaction, I’ve learnt, the hard way, to take this all with a pinch of salt. The Secret might be a world best-seller but it wasn’t written for people with more than a milligram of intellect.
I must communicate really well all the time.
This is a good one. Let me tell you about me because I’m very self righteous and this blog is all about me. I’m intensely emotional: my highs are high and my lows can (as I have recently discovered) get very low. I’m very sensitive to other people’s emotions. I take criticism really personally. I will give until I’m drained from giving. That’s the basis of my drive to be a doctor. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than another person appreciating me for who I am and what I do. I have a tendency to overthink things because I have this need to be perfect so I tell myself that if I think about something over and over again, I will solve my problems and be ‘okay’ and ‘happy’ like I’m supposed to be. I write my feelings on the internet and in thick paper diaries and I have a compulsion to talk to people in order to feel better. I am better at talking to people who are detached from my life than those who are deeply embedded within it because I tell myself that fewer consequences exist if people who are detached from my life judge me for not being perfect (though in reality, the only person who judges me for not being perfect is me). There is so much going on in my brain at once that even though I’m actually a good communicator… I need to mull over things. I need to write things down a lot. It is hard work for me to wring the emotion out of a situation before I can allow my rational mind, my frontal cortex, my better self to articulate what this grand concoction of emotions is actually trying to tell me. So lovely reader, in the hypothetical situation that you and I have a heated conversation, let me tell you now that I will be overcome with emotion and I won’t be able to tell you there and then what I’m feeling because I need to figure it out first. So this sky high expectation is a deeply personal one. I expect myself to communicate well at all times. Given the right headspace, I can do it too. Just look at the way I write: language is my ultimate strength. But sometimes I can’t communicate well. Sometimes it takes me hours, if not days or even weeks of writing to learn what’s going on so I can communicate well. My issue is that I expect this to be instant. I’m actually in the process of learning how to do rationalise better in heated moments but it’s spectacularly tough and it’s tougher if I expect myself to deal with everything perfectly and then communicate it even more perfectly.
I must be more: rational, efficient, smart, disciplined, positive, open-minded, spontaneous, relaxed and free thinking.
People can change. But if I became all those things that I think I should be, I wouldn’t be me anymore. Being overly rational means I might lose touch with my sensitive, empathetic, emotional side, but I’d like to be rational enough that I can cope with hardship better. If I became even more disciplined, then I’d be boring as fuck because I’m disciplined enough (do you know how hard it is to wait for Fridays before you pour yourself a glass of red? I do.) If I became more positive, as I often force myself to be, I would end up in a far worse place because I’d be suppressing my real emotions and honestly, I’m positive enough anyway. If I became overly spontaneous, then I’d lose the responsible, sensible part of me that’s going to make me a good doctor, a good parent and the owner of a tidy house (cleanliness matters). When I write all this down, I realise that I don’t actually hate myself. I’m quite fond of myself. I think I’m alright.
Self-acceptance is a rough ride for me. The truth is… it’s especially rough when I’m with someone, even if it’s someone I love right down to their core and want to spend eternity with because I revel in self doubt. Perfectionist tendencies have me always comparing myself to other people. Therefore, the next natural step is that I compare myself to the one person who I think is the absolute bees knees.
Humans. What we feel is not who we are. There is no such thing as ‘an angry person’- merely a person who gets angry at a lower threshold than what humans have dictated to be a normal threshold for anger. However; we all have a tendency to think and behave in a way that is dictated by evolution, genetics and conditioning. We call it personality. If we want to change our personality or aspects of it… we can. It takes a whole re-wiring of our thoughts but it’s possible. But 99% of the time- we are confined by our personality. The next best thing is to accept it and work with it.
So, gorgeous reader… you’ve come this far. Someone said to me the other day that they like my blog because I write what everyone is thinking. If you find yourself relating, then let’s do something for ourselves today.
Let’s give ourselves a well deserved fucking break from these sky-high expectations.