Going easy on Expectations


Some of the least happy periods I’ve had in my life have been when I’ve expected too much of myself. Trying to be perfect and ending up feeling more inadequate than ever. Now that I’m older, I have learned to be a bit more gentle. Perhaps more realistic too. I see that it’s tiny little steps in a consistent direction that work best for me. And which invite less of a backlash of self sabotage.

There were damaging events in childhood that can’t be denied, and that effected my confidence, and caused me to adapt to have to survive such anxiety. These adaptations, some of them not healthy, became part of my character and my life script. It has taken many years to understand the cause and effect of it, and I have made peace with this history largely now.

However recently I found myself tearful remembering the terror of being a vulnerable child around and angry aggressive mother. I saw that I carry these experiences around to this day. A slap across the face was never far away, and often for no reason I could see. The consistent message to me was “your feelings don’t matter”. My mum had a lot of emotional pain going on, and I feel compassion for her. But I was her emotional and physical punchbag. So I grew up not feeling very safe or valued. My lovely grandma did balance that out a lot though, she gave me the opposite message.

I was telling a friend about it because I’d recently become very afraid in the face of an angry client. I wanted her to be happy not angry. Taken right back there to being a scared child. I went straight into appeasement mode, and offered her money to please her. Unnecessarily. It was money that was due to me. It was a hard lesson. I didn’t stand my ground. I felt demolished, hopeless that I would ever recover from these conditioned responses. Humbling experience.

But I know what to do with this now. Feel compassion for myself, just as I would feel compassion if it was a friend telling me this story.

So much suffering in the world. I ask impossible to answer questions about this like why why why are some adults so horrible to children. It’s ignorance, they don’t know what they are doing will effect the kids whole life, their choices of partner of job of personal wellbeing. If you abuse a kid the message is that they don’t matter. That has massive consequences on a persons life. It becomes hard for them to feel they deserve a good life, a happy relationship and financial security.

I’ve been working through this bit by bit. The conclusion I have come to is that progress is best in small steps.

I’m at such an unmotivated impasse just now in my life. I have taken myself, my wellbeing and health level, my money situation and my business way beyond my old upper limit level and while it feels great and I celebrate this, I’m in unknown territory. I feel anxious at times. Is this too good for me and it’s bound to come crashing down?! Self doubt thoughts like that swirl around. There are doubts that I deserve all this. Even though on a conscious level I know how much I’ve worked and struggled to get here to this place of relative freedom.

So when in the grip of anxiety of self doubt, and feeling paralysed I can still find the smallest of actions to take that demonstrate kindness. So I light a scented candle, I take some vitamins, put some soothing music on and plan on a walk in nature, even in the rain this is always therapeutic.

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility”.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing that. I agree that its a slow process, and generation by generation it will get better, certainly my son had more emotionally intelligent parenting from me, and hopefully his kids will get even more x

    Like

  2. I had a very similar situation with mom and grandma and can relate to your story. I know some of my mom’s backstory and her upbringing was rough including early childhood trauma by an alcoholic father, who I found out was abused by his coal miner father. I think the chain in history of abuse/neglect can be seen going back to the beginning of time and the biological programming is not something that just changes instantly with logical conclusions. It takes time. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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