• Amy Charles

Letting go of high expectations

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

For me, having high expectations is painful, embarrassing, and EXPENSIVE. It’s recently seen me gip-drinking spinach and kale smoothies on a morning (don’t be fooled by online enthusiasts. They make drinking blended veg look as easy as downing a frappuccino) and nearly killing myself with a kettle bell.

I’m not one of these people who eases herself in to things gradually. Start yoga by doing simple stretches and breathing exercises? No chance. I’m booking myself straight on to an intermediate class and if my foot can’t massage my crown chakra within five minutes, whilst I breathe in and out AT THE SAME TIME, yoga can go do one.

When it comes to smoothies then, my ego isn’t satisfied with an average fruit smoothie, it wants a super healthy concoction packed with raw vegetables and hemp seeds (bluergh). By the end of the week it expects my body to be glowing and energized, with shiny Pocohontas hair that wafts dramatically when I enter and leave rooms.

How surprised it is when I end up nursing stomach cramps and cleaning mouldy cucumbers out of my fridge, before face planting a loaf of bread and feeling like a failure. My body hurts when I eat rubbish and it hurts when I eat well - WHAT’S THE POINT?!

(So much for my New Years Resolution of being more kind to myself...)

I get it, we all put pressure on ourselves, it’s probably something programmed in us to do. I’ve realised though, some of my expectations have been that extreme it’s seen me self sabotaging left, right and centre during my twenties - and I didn’t even know it.

For example, I’d work myself silly in every job I had, having to prove that I was awesome and no one could do it better than me. Yet whenever the opportunity for a promotion came my way, a result of my competency and hard work, I’d pack my bags and go running.

Fear has many masks. It shows up in my life as ‘You don’t fit in here. LET’S GO TRAVEL.’

This behaviour has even manifested in my relationships, but in a different way, making me an expert at finding excuses not to get close to people. I’m too ill. I’m not reliable enough. I’m too much of a free spirit. I’m way too anxious, therefore must rid myself of ALL anxiety first. Oh and my chin is too hairy (GOD DAM HORMONAL ISSUES). No one could possibly love me with a hairy chin so I’ll just spend thousands on electrolysis before I even THINK about a relationship...

On and on and on and on.

My counselling tutor did say that I’d end up learning more about myself when I started my course. Now I know what he meant (people are right when they say ignorance is bliss). I can’t believe how cruel and hard on myself I’ve been. So today, on International Women’s Day, I’m setting the intention to really be kinder to myself. I’ve made a little progress already in my new job at Leeds Mind. One of the biggest things that makes me feel shame is my inability to articulate myself properly when I feel anxious. I loose my words, I speak too fast, sometimes I even sound like I’m speaking another language I get that muddled. It’s happened a few times in group meetings, but now I catch it before emotionally beating the crap out of me. I tell myself nice things, that I’m a creative person who articulates herself well in other ways, so it doesn’t matter if I loose my words sometimes.

I smile, take a breath, have another go at speaking. Sometimes I sound better, other times I sound like Sooty and Sweep having an argument. But that’s ok.

I’ve also started telling myself I’m still an awesome person even though I have a hairy chin sometimes. My hormones may be out of whack, but it’s pretty normal, and it doesn’t mean I have to hold off loving myself until I feel ‘fixed’.

For anyone reading this, make sure you’re being kind to yourself. Life is tough, and as we don't get given a guidebook to help us through it I JUST KNOW you're being/doing awesome at it, even if you don't. Also, you are perfect, exactly as you are.

Happy International Women's Day!

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