Managing Self-Expectations: 10 Ways to Stop Expecting Too Much From Yourself
I’m not ashamed to admit that there are things I can do and then there are things I can’t. When I tell my loved one that I can’t complete a task, it’s not my ability they question; it’s my regard. Which doesn’t make sense to me. What does the regard I hold for myself have to do with my ability or talent to do something? I am often told, then, to expect more from myself. Once I do that, then it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of perfectionism and then that becomes another story!
In between our busy schedules, it’s easier, somehow, to get caught in the perfectionism trap. How do we manage that? By setting too high expectations for ourselves. Yes, it’s something we all are guilty of. We believe that our success and even self-regard can be measured only when we exceed those self-expectations.
While it’s good to strive for excellence, there’s a thin line between setting realistic self-expectations and expecting too much from yourself. There’s an art in balancing expectations with self-compassion and when you set too high expectations for yourself, you open a door for negativity, stress, anxiety, and even burnout to feel welcome.
So, take time today to acknowledge that we are humans and not infallible. Learn how to stop expecting too much from yourself and let go of the perfectionism trap.
What Does Having High Self-Expectations Mean?
Having high self-expectations or expecting too much from yourself means setting demanding standards for yourself – in your personal or professional lives. It would be like constantly wanting to strive for perfection and not giving yourself the room to make mistakes or face failures. It’s good to have aspirations and goals, but setting unrealistic expectations from yourself can become too much on your emotional and mental health.
When there are sky-high self-expectations, then you always expect to be the best at everything you do and anything less than perfection is unacceptable. This makes you vulnerable to failures and setbacks. You may feel constantly on edge if everything you do isn’t perfect, which means revisions and procrastination
Expecting too much from yourself can also make you compare yourself to others which can often leave you feeling inadequate even if you’re not. This can eventually lead to self-criticism and never acknowledging your accomplishments.
The Negative Effects of Having Too High Expectations of Yourself
Expecting too much from yourself can have negative effects on your mental and emotional health. Some of the common effects can include stress and anxiety. Constantly aiming for perfection means that your fear of failure is never at bay and constantly shadows your steps until anxiety takes over.
When you overload yourself with high self-expectations, it can lead to burnout, leaving you physically and emotionally drained. When you always take and take, how long do you expect to handle the pressure? Unrealistic self-expectations can also begin to poke at your self-esteem, making you feel that you’re never good enough.
And most of all, expecting too much from yourself can make you critical of yourself and even critical of others, causing your relationships to strain under all this high pressure of unrealistic expectations.
How to Stop Expecting Too Much from Yourself?
1. Set Realistic Goals
Instead of always aiming for perfection, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Break your larger goals into smaller chunks until they feel manageable. If you keep expecting too much from yourself, you will give and give but will eventually run out of energy to give. So be careful.
2. Accept Self-Compassion
If you make a mistake or fail to live up to your expectations, then don’t be too harsh on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion as you would treat your loved ones. Be gentle with yourself when things don’t work out the way you want them to.
3. Avoid Comparison
Focus on the journey, not the destination. And especially not on the journey of others. We all have our own journeys to trek so focus on yours first. What time it takes others to progress is their own and can’t always be the same as yours. So, unfollow people who make you want to compare yourself to them.
4. Celebrate Small Wins
You need to celebrate whatever wins you manage. Big achievements as well as smallest accomplishments deserve rewards and recognition. Acknowledge them. This will help you gain a sense of accomplishment and give you motivation to do more.
5. Accept Mistakes as Teachers
The mistakes you make are your teachers from whom you can learn a lot. Accept mistakes as a part of your growth and success and then see if you feel scared of them after that. Mistakes can help you learn, adapt, and move forward. So, learn from your mistakes and don’t run away from them.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Make sure you take care of yourself – mentally, emotionally, and physically. Self-care should be a part of your daily routine. Taking care of yourself means getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking part in activities that make you feel happy and fulfilled.
7. Try Mindfulness
You can also practice the art of mindfulness or how to stay grounded in the present moment. This can stop you from ruminating on your past or even hypothetical failures. Activities like mindfulness and meditation can help you soothe your worries and calm your nerves.
8. Seek Social Support
If you feel like you’re putting too much pressure or expecting too much from yourself, then you can talk to a trusted friend or family member and even a therapist about it. When you share your struggles, it can help you understand what’s causing them and how you can stop them from affecting you further.
9. Be Aware of Your Expectations From Others
More than your expectations, be aware of your expectations from others. When you have high self-expectations, it can often reflect in your expectations from others. This can make you quick to judge and point out failures. So, as you go easy on yourself, go easy on others too. Don’t expect too much from others as you don’t expect too much from yourself.
10. Reflect on Your Experiences
If you tend to put too many expectations on yourself, then pause and think about where these expectations come from. Are they from childhood trauma or a past job? If there have been any instances where you were expected to do more than what you could, then this could make you set high self-expectations in your present.
Expecting too much from yourself can eventually take a toll on your mental and emotional health. So, you stop having too many self-expectations by setting realistic goals, being self-compassionate, taking care of yourself, and letting go of the perfectionism trap.
You can live a fulfilling and successful life even without having too high self-expectations. At the end of the day, you’re a human who tends to make mistakes. And that’s OK too. Having ambitions is good, but expecting too much from yourself can leave you in distress.
I hope this article helped you know how to stop expecting too much from yourself and others. Let me know how you stop yourself from having too high self-expectations in the comments below.