Expectations are a bittersweet thing. A tool that can make or break your spirit.
It can lead you to incredible heights and drown you in lows that have no bottom. Either way, expectations exist because they are necessary, but are they being used in the wisest way?
We’ve all got expectations and they vary depending on what we want from life, family, friends, work and the world. But how useful are they? They’ve helped me achieve some things that I never thought I’d be capable of achieving, but then expectations are what lead me to 4 long, dark years of depression in my early 20s.
I spent the better part of my life believing that I was destined for something great. Something bigger than me and I was going to be super successful at it. But what ended up happening was not what I expected. Not at all.
It was around my 20th birthday and I was looking at my life and then looking at the dreams that I had for myself. What I found was that both were way off from each other. Not even remotely close to each other. So I did what I had always done – I asked “why?”. Why had nothing manifested in the way that I had imagined? The answer floored me and initiated a downward spiral into depression that endured for 4 years of my life. The answer to my question was that I had done nothing toward creating my dreams. NOTHING!
Throughout the 4 years that I had wrestled with my beliefs, my feelings of self-defeat and questioning why I was bothering to wake up in the morning, I came to realise something that was crucial to climbing out of the depression. I realised that it wasn’t the lack of action that was the problem, it was the expectation that I had placed on myself. I believed (for a number of different reasons) that as long as I dreamed I was going to be a great contributor to the world, that it would eventually happen by pure fate, destiny and divine intervention. Man, was I wrong.
Think about it! If you’re stuck in a desert and in dying need of water, you’re not going to stand there and hinge your future survival on the possibility that rain will come to you. You’ll do what you can to find water. Dig wells, look for an oasis, follow animals, etc. You won’t stop until you find water. Not only was I expecting the rains to come to me, but I also wasn’t even willing to do a rain dance.
So what did I do to change my depression? I asked myself “Is this life that I’m dreaming about the life that I really want for myself or have I somehow taken everybody else’s interpretation of the perfect life and decided that I want that version?” In truth, it wasn’t the life that I wanted. It was a concoction of many different lives.
So I changed my expectation. I frequently asked myself what I truly wanted for myself and started working towards that. The cool thing about it was working towards the life that I really wanted required no conscious effort. I just did it. No questions asked.
Now? I’m closer to living the life that I truly want for myself and I get to show people how to achieve the same for themselves.
If you’re depressed or frustrated with yourself, the world, or anyone in your life, ask yourself what you’re expecting. Is what you’re expecting realistic and is it truly what you want or are you just taking someone else’s expectations and making them your own?
Simply put – when you’re depressed, change your expectation to one that is real (not some fantasy) and the depression will alleviate. Depression isn’t as complicated as you may think. Your depression is your intuition doing what it can for you to wake up to your unrealistic expectations of yourself and the world.
So it’s time to wake up. The world is waiting.
Do you have questions or comments? Be sure to post them below. I’m here to answer them for you.