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Looking after ourselves

Community Guide

Managing expectations on ourselves about work

Following on from last night's Topic Tuesday we thought it might be helpful to have a place to continue the discussion. Something I thought was interesting about the topic was on managing expectations when it comes to work.


Would anyone like to share how you manage expectations about work, either that you might place on yourself or that others might have on you?


I know I'm really hard on myself and I can become pretty frustrated at myself when I don't meet my expectations. Do others experience this? And if so, how do you manage that?


Tagging those who joined in the discussion but if anyone would like to share their thoughts and experiences with managing expectations about work, or with anything else that might have come up from last night's discussion, please do 🙂


@Lauz @outlander @Shaz51 @BlueBay @Snowie @cutiepiekitty @Lise07 @eth @Fracturedlight @Tam28 @Nessie 


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

Great idea @CheerBear, thanks for starting the thread.


I can be incredibly demanding of myself (moreso than others are of me) and tend to think in absolute terms -  that if something isn't "perfect" then it's "rubbish". Even though I KNOW this not to be true it's difficult to get over the automatic feeling. 


It has helped a bit to learn about schema modes and the concept of a "demanding parent mode". That way, I can try to see my attitude/expectations as maladaptive traits that I can work on, rather than an ideal to strive for. So, when trying to set more realistic expectations for myself I will still feel like I'm failing (at being perfect), but I can try to offset this by viewing it as progress in tackling a maladaptive mode.


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

Hi @CheerBear I am my own worst enemy when it comes to expectations. All I can see is what I did wrong and can't help pointing out the wrong bits rather than the good. Would love to hear any tactics people have for beating this. I suppose it is just repeating what you have been taught to do growing up, and it is hard to find a way to retrain the brain


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

Hi @Lise07. I can very much relate to the idea that if something I do isn't perfect then it is rubbish. While it can drive me to put lots of effort into the things I do, it's also been hugely problematic for me at times. I really like the way you approach expectations by seeing what you do as progress towards tackling something maladaptive. I'm curious about how you do that, as in is it self-talk, rewarding yourself etc.? If you feel up to sharing.

@cutiepiekitty there's another thing I can relate to - seeing only what's wrong not what's right (and having some very stubborn versions of wrong and right too!). My psychologist would say that 'shoulds' and 'not good enoughs' are two big problems for me along with black and white thinking (I argue he is wrong with that last one 😉😆). It's very hard to see beyond certain things at times. You touched on early life experiences leading to this if I'm reading correctly, and think its part of it for me too. Very tricky to relearn a lifetime of something that's been reinforced!

Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

@CheerBear Exactly. It is very hard (seems impossible) to change what you have lived with all your life and grown up with. The lies told to a child stay with you and don't just disappear.That is something I hope B can help with.


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

@cutiepiekitty @CheerBear @Lise07  

I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself and my expectations are too high. I always say a negative comment before a positive. And if someone gives me a compliment I always find a negative. 

At wirk I ha e to get things done right otherwise I see it thst I’ve failed. 

It is very hard when this type of thinking or behaviour has been ingrained in you for many many years. 



Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

hello @BlueBay , @CheerBear , @cutiepiekitty , @Lise07 


mr shaz likes to do a prefect job , or he thinks he has failed the customer


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

Great to keep this conversation going - love this topic even though it is a super tough one!


That negative self talk that you have mentioned @BlueBay can really impact everything we do like you said. 


One thing that is great to see in this conversation is shared awareness. I know it's a bit cliche but it really is good to recognise the strength you show in having self awareness around some of the thoughts and behaviours you have that impact your wellbeing. Makes it a bit easier to recognise it and try to redirect the thoughts or change the perspective a bit like you mentioned too @Lise07  Maybe there is something here about giving ourselves some positive reinforcement when the expectations come up in some way...


Keen to see what stratagies people may have as @CheerBear mentioned or maybe you have been told/heard of strategies that could be helpful but haven't used yet or weren't sure about? Enjoying following along with this theme. 


Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

thanks for the tag @CheerBear
just following along for now, I don't think I have to much to offer in this aspect though

Re: Managing expectations on ourselves about work

@CheerBear This is something I'm trying to do right now, so sharing it helps me get a grasp on it.


One of the things I struggle with is allowing myself to struggle with things, if that makes sense. In the past I have mostly dealt with stress by keeping my feelings bottled up and pushing through. As a result I often feel kind of (or very) "off" without having a good sense of why. 


I'm starting to realise that I do this because I'm scared and uncomfortable with feeling vulnerable, so I've been trying to tell myself that acknowledging my needs and trying to get them met is the "brave" option. 

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