EXPECTATIONS: Who sets yours?

by Tina

Whose expectations are you trying to meet?  Do you set expectations for yourself…for others?  Do you allow others to set expectations for you?  These questions can cause one to truly think about his or her daily actions in a totally different light.

Those of us with ADD/ADHD often believe that others have such high expectations of us.  We can create such demands that we feel others are putting on us that may not actually be true. 

Many times we feel inadequate, which can cause us to take on more than is expected hoping to prove ourselves.  Note that I wrote “feel inadequate.”  There are very few, if any, times that one is actually inadequate and certainly no time that one is as inadequate as he or she might feel.  Having ADD/ADHD can leave one with these feelings especially if they have always been told that they aren’t trying hard enough or doing well enough. 

We ADDers also have a tendency to compare ourselves to others on a regular basis.  From these comparisons, we allow ourselves to feel and even believe that we are lacking in many ways.  As a result, we tend to set expectations for ourselves based on these comparisons rather than setting goals for ourselves based on our desires and needs.

It is very typical for one with ADD/ADHD to set expectations for himself or herself that are way out of reach.  I believe part of this deals with perfectionism.  I will set expectations for myself that are totally unrealistic, and sometimes I actually reach these lofty goals.  (That is where hyperfocus can be quite an asset!)  However, other times I fall short in my eyes while those around me are telling me how well I’ve done.  It’s odd how many of those comments can just fly right over my head because I am focused on the things I didn’t accomplish. 

Another part of setting lofty expectations for oneself may come from the plethora of ideas that come to mind.  My mind can be so full of great ideas that there is no way humanly possible to ever accomplish all of them.  Writing down the ideas as they come to mind, and then choosing which project takes priority for that day or time can allow one to better get things accomplished.  Eventually, one will either accomplish these projects written down or possibly decide that some of the ideas wouldn’t really be a good use of his or her time.

If you realize you’ve let someone else determine expectations you are striving to reach, it can be very frustrating.  Once this becomes clear, the awareness that certain things really aren’t necessary is quite liberating.  One can trim down his or her to-do list to something more manageable and interesting rather than trying to fill the desires, whether real or perceived, of others.

It is also important to be careful of the expectations we place on others.  If we place such high expectations on ourselves, we might tend to place some lofty expectations on others.  We might not expect others to do as much as we expect of ourselves; however, some expectations we place on others may not be their way of dealing with life.  For example, we might expect a certain reaction from someone when we make a comment.  If the reaction doesn’t occur, we find ourselves either disappointed in the other person or even feeling self-pity for ourselves.  This can certainly be an indication of expecting too much of others OR of expecting others to be and/or think like us in actions or words rather than allowing that person to be himself or herself.

So, who sets your expectations?  Do you believe you set realistic expectations of yourself and others?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

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Good blog post. You now have a follower. Cheers, Mate!

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Tina

Hi, Jess.
Thanks for your comment. I hope you will be back to read more soon as I will be writing more often now that the holiday rush is behind me.
Tina

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Materac

very well written:) My rating 5 / 5 !!!

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Tina

Materac, THANKS SO MUCH for your comment. I’m glad you found the blog interesting. I plan to be posting again now that the holiday rush is over.
Tina

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Dan Ditmore

A nice read, but where is your rss? I might be blind but can’t see it. lol.

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Tina

Hi, Dan.

Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting my site. Also, I’m so thankful you pointed out that my RSS feed button is missing! It must have disappeared when I changed the header on my site. I’ll be installing the RSS feed button again this week…hopefully tomorrow. :) I hope you visit again soon.

Tina

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Krakow

I was very pleased in finding the site.I would like to thanks to this specific good post!! Completely appreciating each little bit of it and i also book marked to check out fresh new stuff you write-up.

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Tina

Hi, Krakow.
I’m so glad you found my site and bookmarked it! Now posts are coming soon now that the holiday rush is over.
Tina

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Canada Goose Gloves

Incredible, that’s just what I was searching for! You just spared me alot of digging around

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Tina

Hi, there.

I’m so glad you enjoyed visiting my site. I hope you will visit again soon as I will be writing more often now.

Tina

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happyday67

I was very excited to see this site. I wanted to thanks for this great article! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

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Tina

Hi, happyday67!

I am so glad you like the site! Thanks for reading and bookmarking. There is much more to come, which will begin this week.

Take care of you.
Tina

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Suzie Cheel

What a great question? One that we all need to ask ourselves when we are not going what juices us on a daily basis.
I so often set myself up for failure by over achieving LOL

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Tina

Thanks, Suzie!

I agree that we need to ask ourselves DAILY – and even several times a day for some of us ;) – whose expectations we are trying to meet. I love your use of “juices us”! Your comment is right on!

And I’m all too familiar with setting myself up for failure; although, I think I am getting better about it. That is one thing I try to discuss with my clients so that they set realistic goals for time frames given. Otherwise, the lack of accomplishing tasks that are usually way out of reach can result in such a horrible outlook and even depression in some.

Thanks for reading and for your comment! Take care of you.

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Roberta Budvietas

Great post. I had never thought to associate ADD ADHD with this topic.
My experience says that every time we use the moral imperative words – should, must and have to, we are living by other people’s expectations.

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Tina

You are SO RIGHT, Roberta! The “shoulds” are always a BIG challenge for those of us with ADD/ADHD. And since that was brought to my attention years ago, I’ve noticed that it is a challenge with most everyone. We seem to get so caught up in what we perceive to be expected of us that we forget to pursue OUR goals and needs.
Thanks for the comment and encouraging words! Take care of you.

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Martha Giffen

Interesting article. I always put high expectations on myself but never really thought about what I think others expectations are. I have a hard enough time living up to my own!! LOL

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Tina

Thanks, Martha! Be glad that you don’t think about others’ expectations of you. That is fabulous! I’m sure you are able to accomplish much more than you realize by focusing on your expections alone.

Take care of you!

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Tia Bach

Great post. I have a problem with expectations: of myself and others. My husband really worries about it. Growing up, my house hummed with stress, but my dad was highly successful. It’s hard to know how to balance. My husband is the great believer in managing expectations, but I have so many things I want to accomplish, to do. Wait, my comment is stressing me out. I’m really going to take some time to reflect on this. Thanks for sharing.

I’m glad the Ultimate Blog Challenge sent me to your blog. I’ll be checking it out!

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Tina

Tia! Thanks so much for your comment about my blog! How encouraging your words about my blog are to me…more than you know.

I couldn’t keep from smiling when I read that your comment was stressing you out. Let me know if you come up with more thoughts about the post and/or topics. Feel free to email me, send a message on FB, or even post here again.

And I can completely relate to your having so many things you want to accomplish and do. We have to learn to prioritize these things before we try to do them. With prioritization we can at least feel great success when we begin accomplishing them!

Take care of you! And thanks for reading.

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Erin O'Bryan

I think what you describe fits a lot of people, certainly no less ADD but so many of us are running on empty with the imaginary requirements we put on ourselves. Thanks for the great blog post.

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Tina

Hi, Erin.

You are right. The day-to-day grind that so many of us face has us “running on empty.” I love your term of “imaginary requirements.” That is exactly what many of the expectations we place on ourselves or believe others have placed on us end up being…imaginary. If only we could learn to treat them in that way!

Thanks for reading and for your encouraging words! Take care of you.

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Katy M

And adults who do not have ADD diagnosis can be very prone to perfectionism and worrying about what everyone else’s expectations are.

Sometimes we just have to stop and take a deep breath, then look objectively at what we CAN do and how much time we need to devote to a problem (especially if it’s someone else’s problem that we’re “trying to fix”).

**Katy M
Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

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Tina

Oh, Katy, you are SO RIGHT! I can’t tell you how many problems of others that I have “tried to fix.” And most of them were without anyone asking for my help.

And yes, many of the posts I write can apply to anyone with or without ADD/ADHD. I do mention it in my posts at times since I am an ADD/ADHD Life Coach who has ADD; however, as I mentioned in another reply, I believe everyone has at least one symptom of ADD/ADHD. Thus, I’m not surprised and am pleased that some of the posts attract people without the diagnosis.

Thanks for reading! Take care of you!

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Joan Riley

My mom always expressed disappointment at how few items she accomplished on her to-do lists. I often suggested she make her lists shorter. I don’t think it ever worked for her. I also have not followed my own advice. My master to-do list is on a legal pad, about nine pages long. I have no expectation that I will ever have it completed. I rejoice in what I do get done.

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Tina

Good for you, Joan!

How wonderful that you celebrate your accomplishments! I must admit that I laughed out loud when I read about your master list. If I actually combined all of my lists, I might be able to complete with your list’s length! ;) It’s been so freeing for me to realize that everything on my list may not get done and truly doesn’t have to get done. Sometimes I just mark things off that I realize have been on the list too long. If so much time has passed, life will continue to go on without the task being accomplished…right?!

Take care of you. And thanks for reading!

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Kylie Ofiu

I set really high expectations for myself, as my parents always had very high expectations which I rarely met. I usually meet my own, but they are so far beyond what others expect of themselves I am apparently intimidating due to what I expect of myself.

I do not expect the same from other people, although sometimes I do think I set the bar too high for my husband. He comes from a background of no expectations, so it has been a learning process to find a middle ground for us.

Learning about how and why we set the expectations we do and how to change our mindset is so important in achieving happiness.

Thanks for the excellent post.

(I don’t have ADD or ADHD, although I was diagnosed ADHD when I was younger, it turns out I have something else. This is a great blog.)

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Tina

Hi, Kylie.

Thanks for your comments and for your complimenting my blog! I’m glad you are enjoying it.

I can totally identify with what you’ve mentioned about being intimidating. Recently, I had friends I had not seen in a while tell me that I’d always been seen as “perfect.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! I’ve somehow painted a picture that is covering the true scenery! Maybe it’s by setting my expectations so high and usually accomplishing them. Thanks for opening my eyes to this.

Take care of you.

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Kimberly Ellen

Great blog – I am definately a self diagnosed ADDer – :D

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Tina

Thanks for reading. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog! Honestly, I believe that everyone has some symptoms of ADD, and many without ADD have agreed with me. ;)

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