We’re giving you permission to let yourself off the hook. Let go of unrealistic expectations and live a happier, more satisfying life. Therapist, Julie Hanks has the top 5 expectations every woman should let go.
I’ve heard it said that the quickest way to happiness is to lower your expectations. There is definitely some truth to that! If others constantly disappoint you, you rarely feel “good enough,” or you are often frustrated by your life in general, it may be that you have unrealistic expectations and it’s time to let them go.
In my clinical practice, women tend to bring up the following five unrealistic expectations over and over again as sources of their disappointment and frustration. Do any of these sound familiar?
1) Perfectly behaved kids
When it comes to parent children there are no guarantees. Parenting is the only job where if you invest your heart, your time, your money, your energy, you eventually lose your job.
Many women fall into the trap of thinking that motherhood follows an equation: if I do “X”, my child will do or become “Y”. For example, if I go to every soccer game my child will have a lot of confidence about her abilities; If I’m a good parent my child will never hit another child; If I am a dedicated stay-at-home mom my child will never do drugs. Remember, that as a mother you have a strong influence on your children, but having influence is not the same as having control.
Let it go: Your child is not an extension of you.
2) Husband should read my mind
In movies men can accurately anticipate their lover’s every wish, dream, and desire, but it’s only because they have a script to follow. If you are expecting your man to read your mind in real life, you will be disappointed. It’s your job to tell your husband about your wants, needs, and wishes. I recall years ago, after a few years of marriage my husband and I learned that we couldn’t read each other’s minds so we started asking every day, “What are your expectations for today?” It was a great way to make each of us responsible for telling the other what we wanted to have happen that day.
Let it go: Give your husband a “script.”
3) House should be organized and spotless
Have you dropped by other people’s homes lately? Some homes are spotless while other homes are in various degrees of disarray. Just like anything else, we choose where to invest our time. Some people prioritize a clean home and invest a lot of time and energy into maintaining it. If you want to invest more time and energy into keeping your house organized and clean, then do it! If not, don’t waste your time feeling guilty because the house isn’t spotless.
Let it go: You live in your house, but you are not your house.
4) I need to lose that last 10 lbs.
When women get together, a recurring theme in conversation is weight. I asked over 3,000 women what they most want to change about themselves. Weight loss was the most common answer. It’s no surprise that chronic dissatisfaction with your physical appearance is linked with mental health problems like depression and eating disorders. So, if it’s not negatively impacting your health, do we really need to lose the last 10-20 lbs.?
Let it go: What is the cost for holding on to this expectation?
5) Everyone should like me
While it’s totally normal to want to be liked by everyone you meet, it’s unrealistic to think that it will actually happen. It’s inevitable that at some point you’ll rub someone the wrong way or offend someone. The trap of people pleasing ironically ends up pushing people away.
Let it go: Trying to make everyone like you will actually make you less likable.