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When we wake up in the morning and look outside, we expect there to be sunlight. When we drink a cup of coffee we expect to feel a bit less tired. When we have been working for the same company for some time, we expect our manager to know our name. When we go to a restaurant, we expect the cook to prepare the food that we just ordered. We all have expectations. Expectations are emerged in our lifes and it’s hard to live without them. Besides these, let’s call them ‘general’ expectations, we also have expectations about ourselves.

Some days ago I was discussing this matter with somebody. We were wondering why a lot of people are having such high expectations of themselves and are experiencing a lot of stress due to those high expectations. Personally I think part of it has to do with social media. Open one of the popular websites and you will find pictures of people who seem to be very happy and satisfied with their life, partner and children. If you happen to see this frequently, you might wonder why your own life is not as perfect as all the others. What we DON’T see is that these persons also have arguments or fights with their partners, that their children don’t always obey, that their houses are not always perfectly clean and organised, that they sometimes cook food which tastes disgusting, that they have bad-hair-days and are not happy with the way they look…
I am pretty sure you know what “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” means. We tend to think that others have it better, but in reality everybody struggles sometimes and every single person has had negative life experiences. So the grass is not always greener. Or actually, in general it has the exact same colour! Sometimes your grass grows a bit faster than your neighbour’s grass. And sometimes it’s the other way around, so it is useless comparing!

My next blog will be about when ‘wanting to do well’ becomes ‘wanting to do everything perfect’.

– Esther is an assistant psychologist at Willingness. She works with adults and couples. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on esther@willingness.com.mt.