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Friday, January 15, 2010

January: Rage Against Expectations

Over the course of our January featured novel Frankie gets more and more angry about how other people perceive her. Author E. Lockhart asks, "Have you ever felt this rage against expectations? What did you do about it?"


e-lockhart said...

Hi you guys. I feel rage against expectations all the time, which is probably no surprise. Sometimes I feel it at completely REASONABLE expectations. Like: I'm so mad I'm expected to show up for this meeting when I don't want to. Which is pretty much insane.
But the not-insane version is: I'm so mad I expect myself to hold down a job, keep house and be a parent, all at a very high standard. Because that's two if not three jobs.
And another not-insane version is: I'm so mad other PEOPLE expect me to be one thing or another that I don't want to be.

Little Willow said...

I hold myself to a high standard as well. The only expectations I strive to meet are my own, and I set the bar astronomically high for myself, so that's my own problem. ;)

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I don't feel rage for what others expect of me. Unless it's the giant bus behind me barreling down on me to go faster.

I'll have to watch for this emotion more, maybe? Have I just not noticed?

scatterbeams said...

Most of the expectations I feel are ones I have of/for myself.

But as I think more about the question, and read the responses, I find myself wondering if those expectations are truly internally-generated, or if they are strongly influenced by the broader societal expectations of the roles I have had (student, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, consultant, business-owner, teacher, dreamer, etc.).

There is the adage, "if you are going to do something at all, do it well". We may be setting ourselves up for a fall with this idea - when we first start doing something, we seldom do it well. Does that mean we shouldn't continue?

I believe it may be possible that we can "do it all" (depending on the ingredients of "all").

I know it is impossible to do it all at once. Pacing, or sequencing, may be the key to not letting those expectations take over, resulting in less rage adn more joy.

Erin said...

YES to having felt this. People expecting me to do this or that, people not wanting me or just not thinking I can be successful at something I DO want to do.

I just have to ignore those people as best I can.

Melissa Walker said...

I love all these thoughts, and scatterbeams, you express a lot so well.

I would have just said, "My own expectations are the toughest for me." But you're right, those are undoubtedly influenced by the outside world. So am I raging against myself when I feel I haven't met an expectation, or at something else that set me up to HAVE that expectation.


scatterbeams said...

Yes, Melissa, exactly what I meant: being set up to think the expectation came from you.

And then beating yourself up for not meeting it. Sounds crappy when put that way, doesn't it?

I vote for a kinder way: do what you can, where you are, with what you have. And then breathe. ~Jet

Priya said...

Usually, the expectations that people have for me are the same that I set for myself, so (as Melissa said) I only feel angry at myself when I didn't accomplish something that I should have. I have seen other people get really angry about expectations, though, but I think that it's your own expectations that matter the most.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Yes, breathe, Jet. Perfect.

Dia Calhoun said...

I don't know where self-expectation and external expectation are separate from one another. I should.