So much of our happiness and perceived success is based on our expectations. How can we possibly expect to feel satisfied or accomplished in our work if, whenever we come close to achieving our goals, we raise our expectations instead? We are always within striking distance of our goals; we come close, but no cigar. We are trying to hit a moving target. Is it any wonder we feel so unsuccessful?
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“A lot is never enough for women who do too much. Whenever it looks like we may have the experience of successfully completing a project, we add on other contingencies and set up the possibility of doing even more than we had originally thought possible.
Sometimes we even make tasks more complicated than they need to be so we can keep busy. We feel safer when we are working. We get panicked with slack time. We feel it is almost impossible to let ourselves savor our successes. And, if we would be truthful, we have many of them.”
No amount of achievement is ever enough for the woman who does too much. As soon as we come close to finishing a goal, we find more to do! We fill our hours with as much work as possible, stretching out even menial tasks until they are convoluted and complex just to keep from being idle. We can’t stand to have spare time. Every minute must be put to use, regardless of whether that be good use or not. It doesn’t matter to us if we get meaningful results, as long as we are kept busy and appear to be making progress. We don’t allow ourselves the pleasure of savoring our successes, because we are too focused on finding more work to do. We can’t simply let ourselves be! Our expectations are kept just out of reach to keep us constantly striving for more. If we never stop pushing, then we maybe won’t have to face the fear and discomfort that loom over us when we find ourselves with downtime and nothing to do. We must learn to recognize the many achievements we have and celebrate them. It’s okay to be successful! It’s even okay to value and appreciate our successes. We need not be so hard on ourselves. Setting the right expectations—ones which are realistic and attainable without being a detriment to our health—is a key to happiness and contentment. In order to feel successful, one must allow oneself to be a success, and that means letting ourselves have a win now and then.