What is the one thing that could hurt you the most? It's that one thing that people throw around like they have the right to do so. That one thing that could make a vulnerable soul crumble. Expectation. I can almost hear the boos and disgruntlement over this. And, I'm certain many would argue that love is a far more hurtful thing. Perhaps those people are right. Or perhaps they just don't realize how badly expectations can damage us. How deeply they can reach into our psyche.
I can no longer count the number of times I had nearly pushed myself over the edge for what someone else wanted me to be. It is almost humiliating to think of the amount of tears I once shed over something as silly as trying to uphold someone else's notion of who I am. You see, expectations are tricky little things. They have a way of snaking doubt into our minds and planting seeds of desperation and fear into our hearts. They make us doubt our own abilities, our own skills, our own identity. They make us desperate to reach for goals that are more often not our own. They make us fear failure and what others would think of us. They make us fear other people's opinion of us- their thoughts, their judgment, their disappointment.
Disappointment is born out of failed expectations. Expectations are nothing more than a person's unattainable dreams being projected onto others. It's nothing more than their way of trying to live life through another person. Expectations are images born out of someone's misguided interpretation of who a person is and who he/she can be. These are lethal poisons thrown around through off-handed comments, jokes, teasing threats and the like. It's almost too casually done for the kind of damage it deals to the unprepared.
It's sad how easily people discard who they are for the sake of trying to be someone they're not. Sadder, still, when they don't realize how doing so only detract from who they are. With every expectation made is bound to be a disappointment. And, with every disappointment, we allow someone else to take a part of us away. Why do we beat ourselves up over someone else's expectations of us? Worse yet, why allow ourselves to suffer by our own expectations of ourselves?
I doubt there's a way to eliminate expectations in the world. We can hardly eliminate poverty, how much better would we fare at phasing out unwarranted thoughts from naturally nosy beings? In the end, it's not other people we need to change but ourselves. We need to decide just how far we're going to let other people dictate how we live our own lives. We need to choose whose opinion matters and whose don't. We need to regain our self-confidence and believe in who we are.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." -Psalm 139:14
We are wonderful, beautiful creatures yet we keep trying to change ourselves because we don't - can't see ourselves in our entirety. And, maybe we do try to look at who we are but we look at mirrors that have been distorted by society's skewed standards and convince ourselves that something's lacking in us. You're wrong. It's just as Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket said,
"If you think of someone's good qualities as the umeboshi in an onigiri, it's as if their qualities are stuck to their back! People around the world are like onigiri. Everyone has an umeboshi with a different shape and color and flavor. But because it's stuck on their back, they might not be able to see their umeboshi."
This is for all the souls out there who feel that they aren't good enough, for all the spirits that have been beaten down, for all the hearts heavy with disappointment. I may not know your personal situation, but I do know this as a fact. You are an amazing, beautiful, wonderful creature with talents and strengths unique to you alone. And, no matter what the world's defective system of putting value to human beings says, you are invaluable. You are good enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, skilled enough.