I’m guilty of setting my expectations too high and feeling disappointed when things don’t quite match up.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit, but it was one of the things I was worried about before my wedding. I wanted everything to be perfect and was concerned that I would feel upset it they weren’t.
We see so many people on Instagram, blogs and youtube showing the highlights. The staged photos of them sitting on window ledges in their 5 star hotels with the perfect backdrops behind them…
The reality is usually that the view is of a carpark and the widow ledge isn’t wide enough for one bum cheek…
Oh, yes I’m just sitting here looking out at these gorgeous vans with my cup of tea.
You see bloggers with their towels or robes wrapped round them, promoting the latest beauty product. The reality for most of us is that the hotel towels are so small they won’t cover your modesty and often I don’t even remember to bring my products on holiday so I have to make do with the hotel toiletries.
My favourite expectation vs reality came when a blogger (that I actually like to follow) was caught out for photoshopping the scenery in her photos at the Taj Mahal and in NYC. And the number of influencers I’ve heard that photoshop the images of themselves, to slim down their legs/stomachs/arms, is just plain scary.
Blogging itself often doesn’t live up to people’s expectations. It is far from the glamour that is shared online (for most people), perhaps that’s not the case for the beauty and fashion bloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers.
But for me, I joke that it is the worst paid job you could ever do.
I battle with PR companies to be paid for work, I then have to chase to actually get the money once I’ve done the work (one PR company took 11 months to pay). Collaborations are sent over, then the scent goes cold. You think you’ve got a job coming in and then it gets pulled. It can be scary when you’re relying on the money to pay rent etc, and it’s why I’ve worked as a nanny the entire time I’ve been at uni, to ensure I have guaranteed income alongside the blog. But I’m constantly anxious about cash flow. It’s really hard work but luckily, I love blogging.
I think the problem lies with people thinking that life is what we see in those 3 inch squares. A witty caption, a carefully curated image, the perfectly staged moment.
Social media has set the bar so high.
Reality is uglier, funnier, harder, less polished.
We’ll portray the perfect flat lay, the styled outfit but real life is actually the pre-race photo taken in the garish hotel corridor…
Or the post race photo in McDonalds.
When we set unrealistic expectations of people, situations or things, we can be disappointed when they are not met.
Personally, I’m finding it a real challenge to balance my Dietetics placement, marathon training, social life and blogging. Mine and Tom’s schedules have barely overlapped for the last 6 weeks, with us spending a total of 4 days/evenings together in that time – a combination of his work and mine.
The reality is, I’ve been dealing with some horrid physical manifestations of anxiety at the moment, including the ever so glamourous night sweats. Apparently, it’s something that a lot of us struggle with as a result of high expectations. We focus on what’s wrong and as a result, feel anxious and start to obsess, creating a self-fulfilling property and endless cycle of high expectations leading to low self-esteem and increased anxiety.
I need reminding often that just because I’ve seen something online, does not make it real. There can only be so many big ‘Instagram’ moments, and that the real joys in life are the small things that add up to make your day that bit better.
Like the free coffee when you finish your stamp card at Cafe Nero, or when someone holds the door open, or you get thanked for working hard. When the trains run on time, or you were able to snag a good parking space. When someone was kind to you. Or you were able to show kindness to someone else.
For me, the little things are getting a DM on social media from someone saying how much they enjoy my blog or following me. It’s when they tell me that they were inspired to sign up for a race, or that they’re training for their first marathon.
Whilst I’m not saying that we should lower our expectations of life, I do think that for many of us, myself included, they might need to be adjusted.
“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.”
Setting such high expectations often sets us up for disappointment. Whether that’s your hotel room view (lol), or your relationship, career, family life or social situations. Looking for the positives, the good things in every situation, has helped me focus, not on whether something is perfect or Instagram worthy, and instead on whether it is good enough.
And laughing when things don’t go quite to plan.
It always helps.