To truly realize why and how we should love ourselves, we must also understand what has been holding us back from loving ourselves completely. One common barrier is our need to measure ourselves against the expectations of society, others, and even ourselves. There are so many expectations that are put upon us from birth. These beliefs were created for a variety of reasons. However, most exist in order to mold us into the same types of beings.
Babies are measured by the major milestones they achieve at a certain age. From talking to walking. If your child falls behind the expectation, you begin to worry. Even though ten minutes earlier, when you had no idea what the standard was, you didn’t have a care in the world when it came to your child. Once in school our intelligence is measured by standardized tests. Now more than ever. The expectations are that if a student or a school continuously falls below the threshold, someone may not being doing their job. Or, the students just may not be smart enough.
The comparisons and expectations get even worse as adults. We’re constantly asked when we’re going to settle down. We’re expected to buy a home, establish steady careers, and obtain certain degrees. As children expectations are put upon us. We get so used to them that we begin putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves into our adulthood. This never ends and it is one of the reasons why we feel like we’re never enough.
Let Go of All Expectations
I initially wrote this post with the intention to encourage you to let go of the expectations of society and others. However, I realized that sometimes our own expectations prevent us from loving ourselves even more than others’.
As someone who has had a pretty solid career for most of my post-college life, I always felt the need to buy a home. This is an expectation that society puts upon us. Additionally, however, I began to focus on this and created an even higher expectation for myself. I’ve seen countless friends and family purchase their first home. Every time it made me question myself. Why wasn’t I in the same position? Will I ever feel that same joy and satisfaction that I was seeing from others?
I’ve learned to let go of this expectation. I know one day I will own a home. However, it will be on my terms. It won’t be because I’m feeling the pressure and expectation from those around me. I am completely happy for my friends and family who have purchased homes. However, this happiness no longer automatically translates into questioning my own value of myself. I can be happy for others without having to take a look at myself and see how I measure up.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
Do you feel the same resistance from the expectations that you and others have laid onto your life? My home ownership expectation was just one example for me. There are so many that I’ve had to work through and continue to work through. From appearance and income to parenting and marriage. As human beings we naturally want to fit in. But, what makes us interesting are our differences. The things that make us unique. When we begin to let go of all expectations, we can also begin to embrace this uniqueness. This will lead to embracing ourselves, and finally loving who we are, exactly as we are.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein