Letting Go of Other People’s Expectations

other peoples expectationsHow are other people’s expectations holding you back from being a strong, successful woman?

These five tips for letting go of expectations are based on inspiration from Maria Shriver, journalist and author of Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within.

Here’s what she said at the Annual Women’s Conference:

“As long as I was trying to anticipate what people wanted from me, as long as I was trying to fulfill other people’s expectations, I was in a losing game,” said Shriver in 2007. “That’s what I want to focus on…letting go of other people’s expectations of you so you can own your own life, write your own story and live your own legacy.”

Shriver’s other book Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Into the Real World also focuses on authenticity, self-acceptance, and honoring who you are as a woman. And, here are five ways to let go of other people’s expectations for you life, inspired by Maria Shriver.

Letting Go of Other People’s Expectations

1. Figure out which person wants what for your life. Maybe you’re applying for grad school or trying to lose 10 pounds — who is the source of your goals? Do you feel pushed into a life, job, marriage, or routine by other people? Are you forcing yourself to be someone you’re not? To let go of other people’s expectations, determine who wants what in your life.

2. After you get real with yourself, get real with others. As hard as it is to express your true thoughts and feelings to other people (short-term pain), it’s even harder to live with the consequences of living up to other people’s expectations (long-term pain!). It takes practice to get and stay authentic…but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Are you at a crossroads in life? Read Starting Over at 50 – What Are Your Assets?

3. Expect backlash from people who have their own agenda. You better believe people will squawk if you no longer pick up the slack at work, do the dishes every night, or cover for your fellow committee members! Let ‘em complain. Let ‘em get mad. They’ll eventually get over it. You can even commiserate and agree with them: “You’re right – everyone does have to do extra now that I’m not doing X all the time.”

4. Accept your own fears, frustrations, and anger. Let yourself moan and groan and be scared. Feel your fears and anxieties – and find ways to work through your feelings without losing sight of your goal. It’s okay to have feelings, but it’s not okay to let them cripple you.

5. Find your tribe. Surround yourself with people who want to see you become authentic, real, and focused on your own expectations of yourself. Who do you admire and connect with? Spend time with her or him. Soak up that delicious energy, and let it intensify your own energy.

Because of other people’s expectations, Maria Shriver gave up her career as a journalist to support Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. She’s turned it around and is figuring out who she is in her own right — but she had to get lost to find herself.

Another thought: how are your own expectations holding you back? If you want to step forward in confidence, read How to Have Faith in a New Beginning.

What’s the biggest expectation other people have of you…and can you let it go? I welcome your comments below…

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