Drop the expectations.
This is my daily struggle. To expect less and appreciate more. To think big, dream the wildest dreams, but to be content with the daily slog and the incompleteness.
For example, I am a neat freak. I wish my apartment would look the way it does after I give it a thorough cleaning all the time. But life happens and thank God for that. The clothes pile up on the chair in my bedroom, papers cover my desk, and the washing remains on the line even after it’s dry.
I could use these events as evidence of my inadequacy, as reasons to berate myself, reasons to feel “out of control” or whatever crazy concept my anxiety might conjure up. But my mental health relies on me taking this kind of “small stuff” in my stride, focusing my mind on what has been achieved instead of what hasn’t, and being grateful for all that I have and all that I am.
“I packed the dishwasher. I made my bed. I tidied my desk and completed 50% of my admin.”
This seems like a stupid example. Petty, even. But the truth is negative thoughts intrude in on our lives and it doesn’t matter what they attack, when it is connected to expectations and one’s feelings about one’s inadequacy, they have devastating consequences regardless of their content.
So drop the expectations, won’t you. Don’t expect to always get it right, whatever that means. Ask yourself: what makes me happy? To create some arbitrary hoop to jump through so that I can love myself, honour myself, respect myself? That sounds pretty conditional…No! Give yourself the love you imagine when you look up towards the sky and wish upon the stars. Be your own unconditional admirer. Pat yourself on the back just for showing up. Laugh with yourself. Smile at your silliness. Stick your tongue out at your childishness. Embrace the fool who comes late, trips over furniture, and forgets the doggy-bag at the restaurant. You’re all you’ve got. So play nice, please.