I remember one day from my childhood in particular. A friend that I had known since kindergarten had moved away recently and I was trying to plan a play date (I was approximately age 8). I remember that I wanted her to come over, so I called and her mom picked up. I invited my friend over to play and her mom said, “Maybe, we are pretty busy but I will talk to Alex and get back to you”. I can vividly recall waiting by the window for hours with the phone in my hand, hoping that for some reason, Alex and her mom would drive up any minute. After a few hours, my mom reprimanded me for waiting all day long by the window and said ““Kayla, don’t get your hopes up so high. You always get these ideas in your head and when they don’t happen, you get so upset. Try to expect less”.
I think about this memory often. My high expectations for my friends, family, and myself affect me on a day-to-day basis. If friends do something in a certain way or treat me in a way that I don’t find acceptable, even if it’s one time, I drop them because they didn’t meet my expectations. My relationship with my father has always been less than meeting my expectations. Since I was young, I have gotten frustrated, emotional, and sad that he couldn’t communicate and express his love for me in the same way that my very communicative & expressive mother could. When they got divorced a few years ago, our relationship got even weaker. Recently, I have recognized that my expectations were too high, and quite frankly, unrealistic. I cannot change the way that my father communicates with me. I can only accept the love that he gave me at face value, for what it is. Love. I have always had high expectations for myself, as well. Get wonderful grades, work hard, go to a great school, have a perfect body, have a perfect mind, have perfect relationships with family, friends, significant others, and myself, eat perfectly, socialize perfectly. When I don’t meet those expectations for myself immediately after setting them, I get upset and tend to give up.
Every day, I try to trust. Trust that my friends do care about me, and yes, that was just a mistake. Trust that my father does love me more than anyone in the world (except maybe my brother). And most of all, trust that I will reach those expectations, in due time. Every day, I expect a little less.
This quote really resonates with me about my high expectations and I’d like to share it with you. “People are really trying their best. Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing. Let’s all give each other a pass, shall we?” David Rakoff.