When reading an article today about things to remove from your life to make yourself happier, I started to think about how frequently managing expectation is part of the work clients undertake.
Many of the items on the list were linked to freeing ourselves from the impossible and uncontrollable limitations we place on ourselves. Never ending to do lists, constant comparisons to others via social media, over inflated career goals and so forth. But, what if we challenged these self created beliefs? What if we took time to actually separate ourselves from the restrictions that expectations place on us, thus resetting the bar? After all if we as humans make up society and society creates and defines, then why not reclaim that power for yourself?
Expectations are like the tale of the overflowing porridge pot. Spilling out and consuming everything in its path. By lowering the expectations we hold for ourselves, it allows us the freedom to set achievable standards and goals that increase our self worth and confidence rather than create anxiety.
For many people the constant inner dialogue they have can be exhausting. From the moment they wake up, a continual negative conversation eroding any chance of positivity influencing their thoughts. Becoming aware of the language we use towards ourselves is the key to bringing about change. Negative language is often very rule based, with frequent use of "should not, must not and ought to". Rather than celebrating the day to day successes we achieve, we focus on the imperfections.
So, how do we start to train our minds to acknowledge and see the positives? One simple trick is to think about how you would talk to your best friend. I'm sure that if your best friend came to you, telling you they were disappointed about how they dealt with something, you would do your utmost to lift their spirits. No doubt you would pick out the positives in their actions and use encouraging words. Imagine at the end of the day if you spoke to yourself in the same way? Imagine how your inner best friend would respond. When you feel your inner critic beginning to dominate your thoughts allow your inner best friend to bring to your attention all the wonderful, positive things you have achieved.