Are You a Slave to “Should’s”, “Ought To’s” and Expectations?

Expectations Cause Stress!
Expectations Cause Stress!

Often in life the biggest form of stress comes from the pressure that we put on ourselves to meet our own standards and the perceived expectations of those around us.  Who decides how life “should” be and is this really helpful?

When you expect a lot of yourself, others and the world around you then you will be frequently disappointed. This is quite an exhausting way to live!  It can actually be liberating to find that there is no right and wrong way to live your life.  Removing the blueprint and preconceived notions about people, processes and circumstances can make life much more enjoyable and fascinating.

It helps to be mindful of habitual words like ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘supposed to’, as these words usually indicate some form of expectation and contribute to your internal rule book.  “She should have invited me to lunch”, “He should have complimented my outfit”, “Children should always….”, “I should have cleaned before my parents came round”.  Where did these rules come from?  Try replacing “should” with different phrases and words such as “It would have been nice if…” to remove some of the expectation.  I know that they are only words but they eat away at your subconscious and impact on your views and how much pressure you put yourself under.

Give yourself a break, life is for living right now (in the moment).  Try walking down the road without expectation so that everything is new and a surprise.  It is much more fun than pre-empting everything!  Be aware of the breeze in your face, the uneven pavement, the smell of the daffodils, the feel of your breath.  Take time to do nothing but observe neutrally and experience the sense of freedom it brings.

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