Posted by: Anne | January 30, 2016

in with the new: check your expectations

How to Relinquish Unrealistic Expectations

* Catch your unrealistic expectations with curiosity and humor. Keep a list of every unrealistic expectation you have this week. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch one. Instead, “make a game of it.” You might say, “That’s a funny one!” or “So interesting I have this.” Or you might simply observe, “I’m really hard on myself when I make mistakes,” she said. (This translates into the unrealistic expectation that you can’t make any mistakes.)

* Use the double-standard technique. According to Snow, this technique involves imagining what you’d say to a close friend or family member who holds the same idea or belief. She teaches this strategy to her clients. “Usually, they will say something far more reasonable, realistic, and measured to someone else than what they would say to themselves.” Then they can practice saying something as realistic and self-compassionate to themselves, she said.

For instance, Snow’s client says she made a mistake at work. She believes this makes her a terrible employee. The underlying unrealistic expectation is that she shouldn’t make any mistakes at work. When asked what she’d say to a loved one, she said: “Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. It is part of being human and not a machine.” Then she tells herself something similar.

* Allow for flexibility. Being flexible “starts with us being sensitive to changing circumstances,” Morris said. For instance, instead of telling your husband, “You said you’d clean the kitchen. We had a deal!” you say, “It looks like you didn’t get to cleaning the kitchen. Could you work on it? Need my help?” You communicate your needs, and give him the opportunity to listen and make a choice about responding to them.

Unrealistic expectations are unhelpful expectations. Even thought it’s hard, work on relinquishing them. And remember that you can create new rules and beliefs that actually inspire, support and serve both you and your relationships.

Read the full article at the source:

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