Expectations and Perception

January 2nd, 2014 by

In 2013, these words have taken on new meanings and taught me a deeper understanding of myself, life and people in general.

“Exceeding expectations”:

For so long I was focused on helping others meet and exceed goals/expectations.  Students, my children, friends, etc.  I was their cheerleader in many ways.  Many times it meant sacrificing my own time, resources, money, etc.  But, this past year, I became my own cheerleader, in addition to still holding my roles as mom, wife, teacher, daughter, friend, etc.  I allowed myself to focus more on me and I saw great results, gradually.  I became the one exceeding expectations.  And then, as I met small goal after small goal, my own expectations changed.  Many tell me I have high expectations for my students, my own children and family/friends (and I do) and most times people rise to them.  Sadly, when they don’t, it’s a real personal disappointment because I put that expectation out there.    So, I cautiously entered into my life change with minimal expectations and gradually increased them as I met them.  I was surrounded by support from friends, coworkers, neighbors, family, and GFW family.  What did I learn?  I learned that having high expectations is okay, but sometimes you have to break it down into smaller chunks and master it bit by bit.  Now, I need to apply this idea, one that you can exceed expectations, but it won’t happen over night and you will fall short from time to time, into other aspects of my life in teaching, child-rearing and maintenance of weight loss.  (come on…just 3 more pounds until I hit that 100 lb goal).

“Your perception is your reality”:

This word, perception, came up a lot for me in 2013.  I had never really considered it in context of how others perceive me, but more so in me gaining a deeper grasp on just how big our world is and how to change my own perception of where I am in this world.  For example, sometimes I get really jealous of those who have bigger, newer homes than I do.  Sadly, in my head, I do the “whoa is me” song and actually think things like, “You hold a Master’s degree but you have a small home, no garage, no dishwasher, you can’t go buy what you want when you want it.”  How sad it that?  Then, I went to Costa Rica on a missions trip and got just what I asked for, a real dose of a new perspective.  Descriptive writing is failing me right now, but suffice it to say that my experience humbled me and brought me to my knees spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.  I quickly gained  a new perspective of just how fortunate I am even if I don’t have granite counter tops, a master bathroom or the ability to take lengthy, lavish vacations outside of Michigan.  And then, after coming home I was striken with a sense of just how I could change my reality by changing my perception.  Also, by changing my circumstances.

Still, I haven’t fully come to terms with this word as perception relates to me and how others may see me.  I am always working personify a positive, friendly, yet  no-nonsense and serious atmosphere in my classroom and who am I kidding, in my home too.  But, I’m learning, slowly, that no matter how many steps I take to achieve this, it still boils down to that person’s perception, because after all, perception is reality.  So, I can’t control others’ perception, but I can control my own.  I can just keep plugging along and doing my best.  I dig into my Costa Rica experience a lot when I feel that “whoa is me” attitude coming on.

So, as 2014 rolls in, I choose to continue to exceed expectations and choose to have a positive perception as much as I can.  Hopefully my family and friends help to hold me to this as they already have.

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