“I am not my expectations”

Expectations. We all have them. Whether it is expectations of ourselves, or of others, or others’ expectations of us, a significant portion of our relationships with ourselves and with other people is based on the expectations on both sides and whether those are met.

Coming from a religious Jewish background, a lot of expectations were imposed upon me in terms of my religious beliefs, observance, and behavior within a specific community. I often resented these expectations, feeling I somehow was never good enough because I failed to live up to them, until I finally realized that I did not need to meet those expectations to be the type of person I can be proud of.

And although it’s not in the sphere of religion, I admit that I also have pretty high expectations of the people around me, which also means that I am easily disappointed when people fail to live up to my standards. Sometimes I question whether it is fair to impose these expectations on others, considering how little I like it when others impose their expectations on me, trying to make me into what they want me to be. I think about it at length, trying to understand the difference between my expectations and theirs. Most of the time I think my expectations are pretty reasonable – be considerate of others, don’t be a jerk, be a better friend, be on time, fulfill your promises, be honest. They seem like things everyone should expect.

But when my expectations are consistently not met, I wonder if I might be too demanding of the people around me, if there is a certain amount of leniency that is necessary to coexist peacefully with those I care about. Because the bottom line is that I strongly love the people I am close to and want to be the best family member/significant other/friend that I can be, and perhaps that explains my expectations – I believe the people I love are capable of doing better. I don’t mean to be hurtful or demanding; I only hold them to a higher standard because of the faith I have in them, and I am struggling to convey that so as not to drive people away because of my expectations.