reverb11: great expectations

Prompt:  Expectation: What is an expectation you fiercely held for 2011 that you wish to let go of before 2012? What steps are required to putting it to rest?

My entire life I have depended on the word SHOULD. I have been told what a young lady SHOULD do/say/be. If I could do/say/be those things then I would be enough to rescue us. I have also spent much of my rebellious teenagehood and reckless 20's working against expectations of what/who I SHOULD be. In one way or another, SHOULD has been some kind of gauge against which I could measure myself. 

I have always been concerned about familial expectations and obligations, sometimes too much so. I used SHOULD for validation and acceptance, but it wasn't always authentic. The SHOULDS rarely came from me.

My goal for 2012 is to relieve myself of the word SHOULD, to create, instead, a new set of expectations, ones that are achievable, realistic and not damaging to my ego. 

Years of a habit are hard to break, but expectations are not reality. They are what one aspires to, or hopes for and when they strangle and constrict, well, it's beyond time to let them go. 

I don't think expectations in and of themselves are bad or frought with trouble. But I do think we have to be careful with them by making them clear, particularly if we expect things of others. No one I know is a mind reader, and if I have expectations of people that I hold without being transparent about them, how will they ever manage to live up to them? Is it fair? No. Is it common? Yes. 

In 2012, as I have in previous years, I strive to be intentional. I want to understand my own reasons behind actions and try to make those clear to those around me. It isn't easy to do this because some days, I am a neurotic mess with no explanation of why I have done what I have just done while people in my life look on incredulously. But it's a goal I have, to meditate more, slow myself down long enough to be specific and intentional about the energy I project and receive. These kind of expectations, while great and often challenging, are at the very least, my own.