Do You Trust Yourself To Steer Clear of Other People’s Expectations?

1. Don't be afraid to lose someone's love. It should come unconditionally.

Many people feel that they are living at the mercy of the expectations of others. For most of us, this dynamic begins very early in life and often plays itself out with those closest to us, such as our parents and other family members. The people in our life can form certain images of us in their minds and then grow attached to the assumptions that they have made. They may dislike seeing us “act out of character” – even if their idea of who we are has little (if anything) to do with who we really are.

Even if these attachments are well meant, we still have to distance ourselves from them at some point is we hope to be more autonomous in our adult lives. We’re here to follow a certain path and fulfill a certain destiny that is unlike anyone else’s. Trying to live up to other people’s expectations will only force us to make detours off of this path, and it will ensure that much of our own potential goes unfulfilled.

2. Remember that others have insecurities too.

Sometimes people project their expectations on us because doing so makes them feel more comfortable and confident in their chosen paths. This is why, for example, recovering alcoholics may find themselves being openly tempted by former drinking buddies to “just go ahead and have a few.” When we break away from people’s expectations they may then be obliged to look at their own attitudes and behavior. Essentially, people invest in the idea that others should think and behave in a certain way so as to avoid feeling pain and/or fear in one way or another.

3. Have faith in yourself.

Oftentimes, we may be curbing our behavior and monitoring what we say in order to accommodate someone else’s expectations without even realizing it. Real trust in self is an accomplishment that requires focus and effort to achieve. Some of us may even fear the freedom that comes with self-reliance. If this is the case then we’re liable to feel more comfortable pursuing a parent’s idea of our career path (to give one possible example) rather than risking ourselves in the pursuit of our own dreams.

4. Own your fears.

The only way out of such a trap is to feel our own fear – to own it and move through it. When we do this we realize that the fear no longer has power over us, and so the idea of fitting ourselves within the narrow mold of other people’s expectations no longer seems very attractive either.

Be happy. Be yourself.

If others don’t like it, then let them be.

Happiness is a choice.

Life isn't about pleasing everybody.

5. It's OK to say ‘no'.

Throughout our lives, we will many times be called upon to set limits in our interactions with others and say “no” in order to pursue our own personal visions. Some people may perceive this as withdrawal; they may even tell us so. Their idea that we should change accordingly is yet another expectation, and one that we don’t need to heed any more than the others. We’re here to fulfill a purpose that no one else can. It stands to reason, then, that no one knows better how to get there than we do.