Sunday, January 8, 2012
Unrealistic Expectations cause Anger
Are you a perfectionist? Does everything you do have to be flawless? How about your expectations of others? Are you disappointed when your spouse, coworker or children fail to do things exactly the way you do? If so, you are causing your own frustration and anger not to mention extreme harm to your loved ones. How? Because no one is perfect and no one performs tasks exactly like you do. When your spouse doesn’t fold clothes like you do and an argument insue’s because you told him or her that they didn’t fold them “right,” the argument is your fault not theirs due to your unrealistic expectations. It took me years to learn this. My parents are perfectionists as their parents were before them and so are me and my sibling. But what are you really doing when you tell a loved one they are not doing it “right?” You are telling that person that they are not as good as you, they are not worthy of being loved and that you are always right (therefore superior) and they are always wrong. And if you raise children in that kind of environment, they will grow up with poor self-esteem, believe that everything they do is not good enough and that they do not measure up to others. On top of all that, they will probably develop a habit of lying to you more than once because getting caught not living up to your expectations feels worse to them than telling a lie. Is that really the attitude you want them to have? I grew up not able to make the bed without any wrinkles, didn’t get good enough grades (average of 3.2), didn’t place or score highly in sports or music and never had the dishes as clean as they should be. I have lived my entire life with poor self-esteem, believing everyone was better, smarter and prettier than me and eventually, thought of killing myself just a few years ago. If it weren’t for the wonderful wisdom of Dr. Wayne Dyer I probably would not be here right now. Dr. Dyer convinced me that I do not have to be perfect and never will be perfect. No one else will be either. But I am still loved and worthy just the way I am and so is everyone else on the planet. He taught me to not be afraid to make mistakes but to enjoy and treasure my mistakes as they will make me stronger and better than I used to be. He taught me to laugh at goof-ups and blunders instead of beating myself up because I misspelled a word in my book or cited the wrong reference. It’ s all small stuff. All of it. Including how your clothes are folded, which way the TP hangs on the roll and waiting in line in traffic or the grocery store. Instead of insisting on having things “your way,” try adapting to your environment and other people instead. Unless, you are truly facing a “life and death” situation, (i.e. being chased by a wild, angry grizzly bear, being diagnosed with a terminal disease, traumatically injured in a car crash, etc.) it’s all small stuff. Life will go on even when you make mistakes and those that hold no expectations of themselves or others will always be happier than those who do. Want to get rid of your anger? Get rid of your expectations first. They anger will subside after that and only after that......Robyn Wheeler is the author of Born Mad, an in-depth view of her struggle with chronic anger, frustration and thoughts of suicide and her eventual diagnosis of Dysthymia.