We all have our own set of values and while this is very positive, there’s also a risk we can become over-enthusiastic and expect others to behave a certain way. However, is there a single way to live life or view the world? Could you be limiting your personal growth and enjoyment when you expect others to live according to your rules?
Equally, if you’re hard on others, the chances are you’re also hard on yourself and your self-esteem and happiness suffer.
Life is simply more enjoyable when we accept others and ourselves.
Use these strategies to remove your expectations and be less critical:
- Become aware of critical thoughts both towards yourself and about others. We can’t help these thoughts – our minds automatically produce them. However, if we are aware of them, we can evaluate if these thoughts are fair. If they aren’t fair this is your cue to change your thought process. Monitor your thoughts and remind yourself to be more reasonable with yourself and more open-minded with others.
- Pause for five seconds and take a deep breath. In most cases you’re safe until you voice the thought. When you find yourself feeling judgemental, stop and take a short pause. You’ll interrupt your thought pattern and give yourself a chance to think before you say something you might regret.
- Try and understand that all of us, including yourself, are doing the best we can. That’s not to say that everyone is living up to their potential. But everyone has their own unique past, tragedies, upbringing, health issues, and way of viewing the world. Faced with the same experiences, you can’t be certain you could do any better.
- Try and avoid stereotyping. There are CEOs with tattoos and wonderful parents that may work in the sex industry. Do you really believe you can judge someone based on a couple of characteristics or facts?
- Carefully consider whether the characteristic you complain about in someone else is something you could be working on yourself. For example, do you find yourself criticising someone who exemplifies confidence and strength as haughty or arrogant? Is this because actually you wish you were more self-assured and assertive? Ask yourself is this something I could work on myself?
- The past doesn’t have to equal the future. We all make mistakes. Understand that we can learn from our errors. It’s not fair to judge yourself by your greatest mistake or to judge others by theirs. Do our greatest mistakes really provide an accurate view?
- Try and let go of your expectations of others. If you expect others to live by the same rules you will set yourself up for disappointment.
- If you have a habit of buying in to your critical thoughts about yourself and others, you’ll get more out of life if you can reverse this tendency. This is a great opportunity to be patient and understanding with yourself. The people that annoy us can often teach us a lot about ourselves.
- Finally, make an effort to learn more about someone you don’t like and you might find that your first impression was incorrect.