Hump Day Harmony is about giving inspiration to help you over whatever mountain is standing in the way of your Health & Harmony
I have an old chair that belonged to my great grandmother, and I absolutely love it. I also love how it allows me to reflect on the lives of two very different yet similar women when I think about the woman that sat in that chair about a century ago (my great grandmother), and the woman that sits in that chair now (me).
My great grandmother’s life was very different than mine in so many ways. She was so poised and polished beginning her day by dressing with hose on her legs and heels on her feet. Her hair was set perfectly, and her clothes were pressed and lovely. This was a practice she maintained into her 90’s. She was in charge of managing the household, yet many of the family’s needs were delivered directly to the door, such as milk, and meat. This left her with plenty of time to drive my grandmother and great aunt absolutely bonkers. It almost seems that life was not nearly as rushed for her when I compare it to my day to day life. Yet, she was burdened with expectations; expectations that came from society, and from herself. She felt a pressure to be sure that she managed herself and her family in a certain manner, and that was her sole purpose. Her passions were the silly activities of women with no real world value, and her contributions to society were not appreciated.
Fast forward 100 years, as I sit in my great-grandmother’s chair more than likely in a pair of yoga pants or jeans with the freedom to choose my impact on the world, and the satisfaction of knowing that I can invaluably contribute in a positive way. Yet, I also sit with the burden of expectations, though now the expectations seem to have grown. I am expected to work and contribute to this world or I have not done my part to further women; I am expected to be a devoted mother and wife, or I am failing our future and my responsibilities; and I am still expected to manage the household as my great-grandmother did – keep the refrigerator stocked, the plates full, the checkbook balanced, and the bank account abundant.
The one expectation that neither my great-grandmother nor I seem to have is an expectation to dedicate any time or thought to taking care of ourselves, and yet without devotion to ourselves how do we remain whole enough to fulfill all these expectations?
Perhaps you have felt the burden of expectations from time to time, or they are so subconscious that you haven’t even realized they were there. Even if you haven’t noticed them, you most likely have encountered someone willing to offer judgment based on these expectations. Moms that judge the mom on her phone at the playground, customers that judge the woman with the tantrumming child in the grocery store, co-workers that judge the mother that missed a deadline because her child was sick, and so on and so on. These judgments further ingrain the societal expectations into our own subconscious, that when we do exercise free-will, it’s hard to be clear if our choices belong to us or are the result of a burden we feel mandated to meet.
So in protest of the cultural pressure to be perfect, should we send our kids to school smelly, and stop paying the bills. That actually does sound kind of awesome, but may be a bit extreme for most of us. However, instead maybe we can let ourselves off the hook a little bit. Maybe it can be ok if you go get a well deserved massage after work, and your child misses one dance class; maybe it can be ok to schedule a “skip” day from work and school, and have fun with your family; maybe it can be ok that the only way you can take a call or get any work done is by letting your child run on the playground, and let the judgers judge?
Expectations, whether internal or external usually lead to disappointment, so can we agree to be ok with letting go of perfection, and embrace the joy in our lives?
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you ever feel the pressure of expectations? Have you ever felt the freedom of letting them go?
For many of us these expectations are so ingrained in our subconscious. It makes sense when you think about the two women sitting in the chair 100 years apart feeling their burden. That’s why it can take some outside support, and learning how to turn off our thoughts to get to our real life’s cravings. If you are interested in receiving this type of support, The Have It All Method is a 9 week virtual coaching program that offers just that, and a new session begins March 21. To learn more visit http://www.kalusion.com