Each one of us has patterns of behavior that give people—including ourselves—expectations. These expectations determine what other people anticipate from us. Some of these expectations are set from childhood. One of my grandmothers still chuckles when she thinks about me as a toddler. She says I liked to sit off in a corner, entertaining myself, and that I was fine in my own company. As an adult, that hasn’t changed much, but based on my behavior, the expectation was set that I was comfortable being in my own company. For that reason, no one in my family has been surprised that as an adult I am comfortable with solitude.
While this is a harmless example, consider the impact expectations have on your behavior. Consider how your life has been shaped by the set of behaviors you established a long time ago. Now think of what happens when that behavior no longer meets your needs or matches up with who you are trying to become. What if you have a history of being overly cautious? Irrational? Unfocused? Does that mean you have to remain overly cautious or irrational or unfocused because it is what you’ve always been? Are you able to use that as an excuse to continue exhibiting these behaviors? No, and absolutely not! You are never required to live out the expectations of others and you would not be wise to use expectations of others as an excuse for anything.
If it can be seventy degrees on Tuesday and get down to thirty degrees by Thursday, you can alter your life pattern. If one city always gets fifty inches of snow every season and one year it gets eighty-five inches, you can change your routine. The key is, you have to think of changing, you have to want to change, and then your behavior must reflect the change you desire. The expectations you think you have to live up to (or live within) are only permanent if you permit them to be permanent. You are always welcome to change your life the minute you change your mind. Shake things up a bit. Make your life changes your own lead story.