The Monthly Pessimist: Setting the bar low for people who keep it high

May 10, 2019

By Joe Sandomenico
Staff Writer

Having expectations is like being a hypocrite: you can hold high expectations for everyone else, but as soon as someone does it to you, it is such a problem. There are so many places where this occurs, it’s like the whole world is an expectation. They’re in school and workplaces, and they play a major role in romantic relationships, friendships and among family.

Not to be extreme, but standards and expectations can literally ruin a person’s life. Say you have two people showing up to an interview. One is wearing crummy clothing because he needs this job, and the other is wearing a nice suit and is ready to answer anything the interviewer throws at him.

Now, the first person does not get the job because of the way he dressed, or maybe the interviewer didn’t ask the best questions, but he had more motivation and a better work ethic than his competition. Say getting the job was his last sliver of hope to turn his life around. Now his life spirals out of control, and he has nothing else to live for.

You can also see the negative effects of holding high standards in school. Your parents hold you to an unreasonable level regarding how well you must do, and you have all this pressure to succeed. Instead of enjoying your high school experience, you’re worried about what will happen when your parents find out you got a whopping 95 on your history test instead of a 100.

Not only your parents, but your teachers expect so much too. They assign homework like it’s nobody’s business. You already need to do 25 hours of community service every day just to have Ivy League schools look at you. Now you have to do an hour’s worth of homework for every class every night? There are literally not enough hours in a day.

Don’t even get me started on relationships, whether it be friendships or dating relationships. Friends tend to create this image of who they want you to be: someone who is always available and willing to talk about anything. However, if you aren’t around for a week or two because you have family matters to attend to, it’s the end of the world for them. But when they aren’t around for a month, it’s fine because they’re allowed to do it, and you aren’t. Apparently, that makes all the sense in the world.

Dating is even worse. Parents plant this idea into their kids’ minds to never settle for anything less than the ideal: the one who is attractive, athletic and easygoing. This applies to both guys or girls. What parents don’t tell you is that it’s okay to settle for the “less than ideal” as long as that person makes you happy…because that’s all that matters.

In general, expectations can cause a lot of damage. Hypocrisy comes into play when it is okay for everything to go your way, but when it goes someone else’s way, it becomes an issue. If there’s one thing that holds true, it is that the higher the standard someone holds, the more he or she will fear falling short of that high bar.

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