Other Good Stuff

The Struggle (with Expectations) is Real

Have you struggled? Perhaps you’ve felt like a failure, despite everything seeming great from an outsider’s perspective?

That is exactly what happened to me. Here’s a little more about my story and hopefully some ways to help you overcome the feeling.

My Story of Hitting a Wall

Feeling alone, overwhelmed, and lost – No one wants to be there. Unfortunately for me, I hit that point in 2015. It felt like an all-time low in my life, but why?

From the outside looking in, I had everything. Married to an amazing man with two (adorable) daughters. We owned a house. We had a brand new car. We both had jobs and made more money than needed to support our family.

Despite our blessings… Something didn’t feel right.

The Start of a Downward Spiral

Everything came to a head after receiving a text from a friend. It was a pin from Pinterest.

To be more specific, it was a Pin for the item I was supposed to bring to the next holiday gathering. I was so overwhelmed by the thought of having to create something from Pinterest to take to the party – I nearly lost it.

Normally, my hardworking, high-achieving attitude would have accepted the challenge. At this moment, I just couldn’t. My typical “yes” demeanor quickly changed with one fell swoop of a text. My attitude was now “f-it.”

Little did I know, this was the beginning of a new start in my life, but I had to continue to fall a little bit more.

The overwhelm in my life had just hit an all-time high. I couldn’t sleep – or stay asleep. My anxiety was off the charts. I snapped at my kids way too frequently. Everything I did never felt good enough. I felt like a failure.

It was all a direct result of expectations. These were (mostly) expectations placed on me by yours truly, but some were a result of what others expected of me.

Now, the expectations of others could have been real, but it is entirely possible they were perceived. I am not entirely sure, I simply know I was overwhelmed by it all.

Now, you might be thinking…

“What does this have to do with me and my problems?”

I totally get it. This story may not sound like it relates to the exact problems you have in your life right now, BUT – I assure you – This story directly relates to what you are going through right now. Hear me out… First, let’s take a couple of steps back.

There are three likely reasons as to why you are here, reading this, right now:

  1. Sadly, you are in a low place in your life. You are at a complete, and total, loss about what to do with your life. As a result, you are looking for something or someone to help you. {Insert Google search and, now, you are here!}
  2. You are interested in what we are doing here. You have heard about me, my business, and/or my website and what to know what it is all about.
  3. You are basically an internet stalker researcher and want to know more about me and/or my business.

I’m Guessing You are Struggling.

Quick comment about the elephant in the room: If you are here for the third reason listed, have no fear. I am not passing judgment. Been there, done that! I am one savvy internet “researcher” too. If you don’t believe me, ask my friends. They will totally validate this interesting fact about me: I am one highly-skilled Googler.

Now, as flattered as I am to have internet “researchers” checking out me, my business, and website – I am certain you are likely not the person that falls into the “researcher” category.

It is far more likely you are either scenario one or two. Now, if that is the case – You are in the right place.

Being at an all-time low in my life was a hard place, especially since it seemed so amazing from the outside. Now, of course, my life wasn’t difficult because of a single pin from Pinterest, that was simply my breaking point.

What I struggled with was the pressure I put on myself.

Let me rephrase that…

I struggled as a result of my own pressures and expectations.

Sound familiar?

It is hard to come to terms with the fact that I was struggling as a result of my own pressures and expectations, but it is the truth. Perhaps you are having a hard time coming to terms with it yourself. That is fine. It is part of the process.

As a high-achiever, I have been known to put a lot of pressure on myself to:

  • Act a certain way
  • Accomplish more than my peers
  • Have a well-kept home (doesn’t really happen much, but I try)
  • Engage with my husband and family
  • Make a specific amount of money
  • Dress a particular way – hair & makeup included
  • Exercise, and
  • Eat right

The very expectations I put on myself to be a better person – caused me to break.

Wow! When I finally made this connection, I was dumbfounded.

I had worked so hard to be my best self. At the same time, it was the very thing that caused my demise! Crazy.

Can you relate?

  • Are you a high-achiever?
  • Do you expect a lot from yourself and/or others?
  • Are you hard on yourself for not doing exactly what you said you would do?
  • If you understand these feelings, you are absolutely in the right place. There has to be something better, right?

Yes, there is something better!

Before you abandon your high-achiever ways, hear me out…

Ultimately, it is an element of perfectionistic tendencies that may be causing you the most heartache and heartbreak. It is not whatever else you have identified as your issues…

As an example, working as a dietitian for 10 years, I’ve heard a lot of stories. People came to me a lot and asked for help with the food they ate to change their body (most often weight gain or weight loss). However, when we started talking and peeling back the layers of the onion, there was sooo much more. What they felt was a problem with the foods they ate was really a problem with their own expectations.

Take some time to contemplate your life for a little bit. Here are a couple of questions for you to reflect on.

  • How has perfectionism shown up in your life?
  • Has perfectionism – or your expectations – caused you pain?
  • What are you trying to protect yourself from by clinging onto your perfectionistic ways?
  • What can you do to take back your control, so perfectionism doesn’t rule your life?
  • Can you reduce the overwhelm in your life by allowing perfectionism to work for you, not against you?
  • What is one, small thing you can do differently today to start moving to a better place? Start doing that ASAP!

Final Thought

Everything we just discussed is why I started this business. It began with a single t-shirt. A message I needed for myself, but was having a hard time embracing and believing. That first shirt said, “You Are Enough.”

While the shirt was simple, the impact has been profound. It kinda feels like a shameless plug, but it also feels right…

If you are struggling in any way similar to the story I just told you, a shirt with the message You Are Enough just might be what you need.

It could be the start of a new story. One that has a happier plot-line. Speaking from personal experience, it is 100% possible.

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