While it’s that time of year when everyone else is telling you to take on a project, set a goal, and get out there and achieve something, here’s your reality check. We’re giving you permission to demand less of yourself. Self-worth Analyst, Karen Eddington, says it’s ok to take it easy on yourself and to lower your expectations.
It’s a new year and as we look to new goals and fresh opportunities we often demand a lot out of ourselves. With good intentions we want the best for our lives and our loved ones. However, there are times we ask a lot out of life. When we don’t meet our expectations we can feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied.
The ultimate formula for when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Lowering your expectations and learning to ask why (like a three year old) can help you when you are demanding too much.
Lower: We often think it is bad to ask less of ourselves. We are told to set goals, aim high, and be the best. We put in a lot of effort, sometimes too much effort. Practice letting your current efforts be good enough.
Three: “Why is the sky blue? Why do my toes wrinkle in the bathtub? Why dinosaurs?” If you’ve ever spent time with a three-year-old child you have heard them use the words WHY. As an adult we often stop questioning, especially our behavior. Instead of floating through life unaware of the “why,” stop to discover the motive for your efforts. You will find that your answer will likely fall into these categories:
2. We have something to prove. (exp: we want to be seen as a person of worth or we’re trying to make amends)
3. Passion or we deeply care
4 Examples: How the “Lower Three” formula works
1. Achievements “I feel like I need to be a school reading volunteer, bake homemade bread, organize my craft room, and write a book to be someone. Help!”
Lower: I can buy bread from the store instead of make it from scratch. I can leave my craft room unorganized. I will let my efforts be good enough if I am reading to my child at home.
Three: Why is it so important for me to write a book? Your individual answer can help you let it go if it is based in an insecurity or re-arrange your priorities if it is something that you truly care about.
2. Motherhood “I get frustrated when my kids don’t do what I ask.”
Lower: They are just kids. It is okay if my kids make mistakes. Not only do we have expectations to be the best ourselves, we carry the same expectations for our children. Don’t try so hard to raise a perfect child that you overlook the person they already are.
Three: Why is it so important for my child to be perfectly behaved? Your response may be that you care deeply. You want the best for them. You may also feel you made bad choices as a child and as a result you have something to prove through your child.
3. Appearance “Let’s face it, appearance matters. I expect a lot out of my hair, my make-up, my fashion sense, my home, and my Pinterest account.”
Lower: My current appearance is enough.
Three: Why is it so important to always wear make-up? Why does appearance matter so much to me? If this is based on insecurities or having something to prove we can look to other areas to build that security. If it is because we just care we can develop a healthy relationship with our appearance.
4. Time “There is just not enough time in the day to tackle my to-do list”
Lower: It is going to be just fine if I don’t get everything on my to-do list done. I don’t have to do it all.
Three: Why do I have a to-do list? So things get done of course. But why is it so important I “do” something? Why do I need to check things off? Why a constant visual reminder that I am accomplishing something?
During the times you are demanding the most out of yourself stop to question if letting go of perfection will bring you peace.
Karen Eddington is a Self-Worth Analyst and has spent over ten years researching women and teens. She is the author of Today, I Live and is a popular speaker on self-esteem. For more information you can go to www.kareneddington.com Watch for the release of Karen’s new book “Understanding Self-Worth.”