Many varying beliefs create expectations for us to follow. These expectations pervade our families and affect our lives, our world, our sense of self-worth, and our ability to give and receive love. In fact, high and unrealistic expectations are often the culprit for underlying fears which foster anxiety and depression. Evaluating our expectations of others and ourselves is important. Especially if we feel we aren't measuring up or we seem to struggle in our family relationships. It is by resolving false expectations that many find peace and consequently strengthen personal relationships.
Unhealthy expectations differ from family to family and culture to culture based upon belief systems. One of my favorite children's stories is If Only I Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado. In this story, the pervading belief in the community is that you must follow the latest trend in order to fit in and be loved-- even if the pervading trend says it's cool to have a green nose. In fact, following trends is the overriding expectation for members of this community. If you lived in this community and didn't have a green nose, it's obvious that you wouldn't fit in. And we all know what happens to your sense of self-worth when you don't quite fit in when the rest of the crowd. In truth, any pervasive belief (whether that belief dictates kindness or demands that your nose be green) affects our self- image and our ability to love and feel loved.
Why? Well, as human beings, we have the innate desire to be loved and accepted by others. This desire can bring out the best and worst in all of us. For example, when we comply with any set of positive rules or worthy expectations--whether these expectations are explicitly laid out or unintentionally communicated by those we love--we have the benefit of feeling like we fit in; we feel loved and valued. This usually makes us happy, which tends to help us do and be our best.
But when we can't live up to all the expectations that surround us--or if those expectations are unrealistic and unfair--most of us feel bad about ourselves (even if we don't want to admit it). When others don't comply, many of us hope they feel bad too (and we usually don't like to admit that either). These feelings bring with them the urge to compare ourselves with others, which leads to the habit of benchmarking our worth against others' abilities.
Essential Oil Tip:
Ylang Ylang helps us open our hearts and restore the child within us. It is physically useful for heart conditions. Ylang Ylang suggests to our minds and hearts that we can open to feel love, joy and emotional safety. It reminds one that joy can be felt more fully by allowing the heart its full range of emotions. Try applying to the back of your neck for a calming, uplifting effect.
For this week's homework, consider the expectations you have of others and yourself. Are your expectations healthy, based on loving principles, and balanced? What family beliefs exist behind these expectations (for help uncovering family beliefs, refer to pages 32-26 of my book Healing Your Family History)? If there are expectations that need resolving, spend this week focusing on healing at least one of them. Notice the peace of mind that comes when you let go of unhealthy expectations.
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