Whose Expectations Should You Live Up To?

by Jimmy Warden

A lot of us have contemplated the question that this post is about. A lot of times we want to live up to other people’s expectations and rightfully so. Humans have a desire to be accepted by a social group because it gives them a sense of belonging and the group helps to shield us from the unknown places (literally and narratively speaking) in life we have yet to explore. However, we should be wary of this because with the group, we lose our individuality, and therefore cannot evolve and become a better version of ourselves. That is why, we should do our best to live up to only our own expectations of ourselves.

We know who it is that we can be because we have seen that version of ourselves in visualizations and fantasies of our ideal future. The big problem here is that in those visualizations, we often do not foresee the challenges and obstacles that are in the way. These challenges create a feeling of chaos and disorder, which is anxiety provoking and stress inducing. However, on the other side of those stresses and anxieties is the potential for fulfillment of the ideal self. We are often too afraid to go into our shadow (in the terms of Carl Jung) to see what decisions were made in the past that led us to our current unbearable present self, so as a result we continue on the path of stagnation and eventually entropy because we have yet to solve the problems of our life.

However, there is an antidote to these problems, and it consists of us voluntarily taking them on. That way, we can fulfill our expectations of who we can be. Often times, this is not the glorious route because what is meaningful isn’t always enjoyable. The main reason being is that the creation of something that is meaningful takes a lot of time, sacrifice, and repetition. To a lot of us, this seems quite mundane, so we often settle for expedient joy in the forms of television, food, or alcohol to name a few. That way, we can feel good, quickly, but that feeling doesn’t last long, so we’re often looking for a “refill” once the feeling subsides. If we choose to engage in meaningful activities, they actually have the potential to be spiritually enlightening.

In order for someone to “be enlightened” or “feel enlightened” it implies that some sort of transcendence took place, which means the individual has now become superior to their previous self. This can take place in many different ways and can happen on many different levels, but it comes through leaving a lesser version of self behind and replacing it with a newer version that has a greater understanding of their capabilities. This also tends to happen when people make the decision to put themselves in order and try to live up to that person that they know they could be and make a conscious decision to act it out as best as they can. They’ll also take on the idea that they’ll genuinely try to learn from their shortcomings in order to avoid them again. This will help lessen the feeling of needing to conform to group or social norms. This will also help us keep our individuality and truly explore our limitations to try to minimize them as best as we can over time.

No matter what, we want to try our best to make a conscious effort to live up to our own expectations of ourselves. If we can do that, there is a tendency for the cosmos to align our present more closely with our ideal future and our ideal self. This is going to take a lot of effort and discipline because we have been brought up to fit into social constructs, but within them, we lose our individuality. As long as we can stick to being our best self, according to ourselves, we can eventually become it. So set your expectation high and live up to those expectations because once you expect it from yourself, others can expect it from you, and life can become more harmonious.

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