16 May 2023


All my life I have experienced that others have expectations of me that I do not live up to, while I often live up to expectations that I have of myself – for better or worse.

I just turned sixty-five years old and wonder if I have very low expectations of myself, or if I want to live up to the expectations of others too much. Aren't the expectations of others an assumption on my part, while the others don't have those expectations at all?

Expectations of myself

I usually have a quick overview in complex situations and that often gives me a head start. But as a perfectionist who also quickly recognizes many details in situations, those details increasingly threaten to have an inhibiting effect on that lead. I was able to make quick decisions in the past because I quickly oversaw the situations. As I get older, I recognize that I doubt decisions much more often. Not because it takes me longer to oversee situations, but more because all the details make me insecure. This increasingly leads to postponement or cancellation of a decision. This is not just about big decisions, such as whether or not to emigrate, whether or not to have a steady relationship, etc. No, it is more often about even the smallest things, such as which train we will take to get somewhere on time and what time is actually on time? So meta and micro.

I recognize the metaphor with a fear of heights. In the Alps of Austria, Switzerland and Italy I walked over ridges with dizzying abysses next to me. One misstep and it was over. Yet I had no fear but trusted that it was safe. After all, I was experienced, prepared and strong. I wouldn't dare to walk over those same ledges now. I see them on Youtube and my legs start to sway. Do I expect myself to be able to prepare myself in such a way that I no longer fear failure due to physical limitations and mentally weakening confidence in myself?

No, I don't expect that from myself. My new comfort zone is therefore: “I want space in time. No rush and no hassle. No hunting and no whining. Independent of agendas. Not having to choose something different every time. Live in the now. Nothing to do, nothing to have to. To want what suits me at any given moment.”

Comfortable, because I have financial security.

Expectations of the others

I have the impression that the others expect the following from me. You have to perform, stand out, grow, get bigger, gain status, be better than the others, win, don't doubt, be prepared. But on the other side of that spectrum, I also experience the following views. Don't deviate from what is supposedly normal, just act normal, that's crazy enough. Adapt to current standards.

My question is whether the others actually have those expectations, or whether I tell myself that people expect that of me. Anyway, I see that image as what we generally expect from each other in our society.

I sometimes get confused in these general expectations. I want and do many things differently from what I see from others. Often self-willed, sometimes even rebellious, sometimes way too nice, I think. I want to be and stay myself, but I also don't want to be rejected. And isn't wanting to be rejected a weakness, or a strength?

My original question was whether I have very low expectations of myself, or whether I want to live up to the expectations of others? What I expect from myself has decreased significantly. I honestly don't know if I want to live up too much to the expectations others have of me. I do know that there is an important tension between wanting to comply, to remain valued, and not wanting to comply because the general expectations of others do not always suit me.

Meet me if you want to talk to me about this......

EMAIL: info@trefmij.nl

© TrefMij / auteur: Markant May 2023

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