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What is Over-Expectations-

As an introvert, I’ve spent many years trying to mold myself into someone, others would like. I attended social gatherings despite feeling drained, tried to be like my confident extroverted peers, and pushed myself to meet expectations that never truly aligned with who I am.

Every time I hoped my efforts would be enough to gain acceptance and validation. But despite my best efforts, I felt more inadequate than ever.

Instead of embracing my quiet strengths, I constantly compared myself to others, setting unrealistic standards that only deepened my sense of failure.

I overlooked my own worth, always striving to meet an ever-rising bar that was impossible to reach. This relentless pursuit of approval left me feeling perpetually “not enough.”

I can tell you from my experience that, to overcome this feeling, self-realization is necessary.

over-expectations

What is Imposter Syndrome Trap-

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where someone doubts their accomplishments and feels like a fraud. They tend to think that their success is due to luck or external factors rather than their own skills and abilities.

Here’s how the Imposter Syndrome Trap works:

Internal Doubt: However, instead of feeling proud of their achievements, they experience doubt and question their legitimacy. They might think “I just got lucky” or “They’ll find out I’m not good enough.” This leads to Fear of Exposure: doubt fuels fear of being exposed as an imposter.

Increased Effort or Avoidance: This fear can lead to two main reactions. The person works even harder to prove their worth, which can lead to burnout or they might avoid new challenges or opportunities to protect themselves from potential failure and further fuel their self-doubt.

This cycle can be difficult to break without recognizing its signs and actively challenging negative thought patterns. People trapped in Imposter Syndrome might feel isolated despite their accomplishments.

In this post, I am going to discuss, the symptoms of over-expectation and how you can overcome this to feel good about yourself.

Understand the Root Cause of Over-Expectations

Over-expectations are unrealistically high standards that we set for ourselves or perceive by comparing our lives with others. These expectations can stem from various sources:

Social Media

Constant exposure to the seemingly perfect lives of others on social media can set unrealistic expectations. This can make you feel like you’re always falling short.

Example: Seeing photos of friends on exotic vacations, attending glamorous parties, and looking effortlessly happy makes you think you don’t have enough.

This constant comparison can make you feel like, your own life is mundane and inadequate, leaving you questioning your worth and achievements.

Societal Pressure

Cultural norms and societal expectations can create high standards that are hard to meet, making you feel like you’re failing. As if you are not doing enough to get those things that others have.

Example: When a family member asks when you’re getting married or having children, makes you think you are missing out on happiness.

So, despite being happy with your current life, the pressure to meet these societal milestones makes you feel like you’re not enjoying your life to the fullest like you’re falling behind in some invisible race.

Personal Ambitions

Our drive to succeed and achieve more can push us beyond what’s reasonable, causing burnout and feelings of inadequacy when we can’t keep up.

Example: Working late every night to get a promotion, neglecting your health and personal life in the process, believing it’s the key to proving your worth.

But as the stress builds and your personal life suffers, you start to feel like no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough, and you’re failing at being successful and happy.

While having goals and ambitions is healthy, over-expectations can lead to chronic dissatisfaction and a persistent sense of not being good enough.

The Impact of Over-Expectations

  1. Increased Stress and Anxiety: The pressure to meet high expectations can lead to heightened stress and anxiety. This can affect both mental and physical health, leading to burnout and other health issues.
  2. Lowered Self-Esteem: When we fail to meet our own or others’ high expectations, it can result in a negative self-perception. We start to believe that we are not capable or worthy, which can damage our self-esteem.
  3. Procrastination and Paralysis: Overwhelming expectations can lead to procrastination. The fear of not meeting these high standards can cause us to delay or avoid tasks altogether, leading to a cycle of inaction and guilt.
  4. Strained Relationships: Unrealistic expectations can strain our relationships. Expecting too much from others can lead to disappointment and conflict. The feeling that others expect too much from you can create feelings of resentment and isolation.

Tips to Manage Over-Expectations

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Ensure that your goals are achievable and within your control. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals can help in creating realistic expectations.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Acknowledge your efforts and progress, even if they don’t meet your high standards. Self-compassion can improve resilience and reduce the impact of perceived failures.
  3. Challenge Negative Thoughts: Identify and challenge negative thoughts that arise from unmet expectations. Cognitive-behavioral techniques can help reframe these thoughts and develop a more balanced perspective.
  4. Limit Social Comparisons: Reduce the time spent on social media and other platforms that create a loop of unrealistic comparisons. Focus on your journey and accomplishments rather than comparing yourself to others.
  5. Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a mental health professional about your feelings. Sharing your concerns and gaining different perspectives can help alleviate the burden of over-expectations.
  6. Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and celebrate small achievements. This can boost your motivation and confidence, and help you appreciate your progress along the way.
  7. Prioritize Well-being: Make time for activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. Taking care of your mental and physical health can improve your overall outlook and resilience.
how to deal with over-expectations form self

Conclusion

The moment I realized my self-worth, I no longer lived for validation. I do not judge my abilities based on people’s opinions of me, instead, I embrace every skill and flow I have with grace.

So I want to suggest that- While striving for excellence is commendable, it’s essential to recognize when over-expectations are causing more harm than good.

By setting realistic goals, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support, you can manage these expectations and lead a more fulfilling and content life.

Remember, you are enough just as you are, and embracing this mindset is the first step towards overcoming the trap of over-expectations.


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