Self Esteem Killer #1: Unrealistic Expectations

Post 2 of 7 in our Self Esteem Killers series

“Do the best you know how to do and when you know better do better.” –Maya Angelou

Breath…breath…close eyes…exhale…hold off the panic…ignore the buried alive feeling threatening to overtake you…

Recognize the feeling that comes when you focus too long on all the things you SHOULD be doing—or doing better? The anxiety produced by trying to keep all the plates of expectation spinning?

I do. I know the frantic panic that ensues when I feel like a total failure. I also know how I fight it, or at least how I fought it most often in the past. By trying harder, or working harder to ‘look’ like I had it all together.  I’d spin and spin and spin the plates trying to hold off the mess as long as possible.

Are your insides as uncomfortably churning as mine are at the moment? Can you relate to the heavy pressure, like a boulder being set on your chest, that striving to keep the plates spinning causes?

Eventually gravity wins and all the plates come crashing to the ground around us and with them our confidence shatters as well. As long as we had all of life handled, all the plates spinning, we felt confident our abilities and value…but then they fall. The unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves for how many plates we can keep spinning is where we find our first self-esteem assassin, also known as perfectionism.

Somehow we know logically that we can’t possibly do all the ‘good’ things there are for us to do…but we keep trying. We keeping adding one more plate, one more expectation, and that is when the killer finds us.

4 Self Esteem Killers and How To Overcome Them

Post 1 of 7 in our Self-Esteem Killer Series

My goal is high school was to blend in…blend in with the wall. I pretty much succeeded, neither picked on nor popular I walked through school mostly unknown. The goal was always to draw as little attention to myself as possible.

I don’t know if your high school did this but mine gave each grade a ‘theme’ for homecoming. The theme was a part of all the homecoming festivities. It’s what you decorated the halls, the float and oftentimes yourself in for all the fun activities that homecoming week brought. My sophomore year our theme was Star Wars. Today this would be an awesome theme however I was in high school right between the times of its popularity.

During this colorful week, Friday was dedicated to dressing in your theme with the culmination being the pep assembly at the end of school before beginning the rest of the homecoming festivities that evening.  For some reason, maybe I was a closet Star Wars junkie, I decided it would be fun to go to school dressed as Princess Leia—and WOW did I go all out! I wore white shoes, white tights, white skirt, white shirt, I pinned a white sheet to my back and twisted my hair into two perfect buns on either side of my head. Oh, I wish I had a picture to share with you!

Imagine my horror when I went to school and not one—not one—other person in my class of more that 250 were dressed up in our theme!!!!  Truly mortified, with nowhere to hide and more importantly, no clothes to change into, I spent the day ‘standing out’ in a truly extreme way…