I have found that family expectations are both problematic as well as helpful as I have grown and matured. My family’s expectations revolve around our shared histories and aspirations as well as their perceptions of what I might be successful at or enjoy in life. On the other hand, my life outside of my family has developed to a point where I gain encouragement and confirmation about my abilities and projections from other sources, such as my peers, my work, and through socializing.
My ultimate priorities are up to me and only I can determine whether or not I am meeting my expectations no matter what my family believes. That being said, pressures and expectations from my family has helped me to identify certain paths that I might prove successful for me in the long term. My family usually has my best intentions in mind when they discuss their expectations for me and that can be a comforting and confidence inspiring motivation. Additionally, if I have doubts about meeting my expectations, my family is there to advise me on what they feel I should or should not be doing in a particular situation based on their wisdom and previous experiences.
In contrast, I often feel that my family’s expectations for me are based around what they knew of me as a younger adult or child. Instead of asking me about my current goals and projects, often times they will revert back to telling me what my dreams were as a kid, or even worse, what dreams they had for me when I was a kid. I understand that they are trying to be optimistic and positive influences on me, but at the same time I have grown up outside of my family and have created new ideas and goals for my future; not the necessarily the future that they always have had envisioned for me.
Prioritizing family expectations is a balancing act for me because I want to make my family proud while at the same time living life according to my own principles. This can be a difficult terrain to traverse, but ultimately it leads to more open and honest discussions about the best way to live life. In our family, these discussions can at times become heated, but they are always interesting and we come out of them with newfound respect and hopes for the future.
I have found that sometimes not living up to family expectations has been the most fruitful decisions I have personally made in my life. Making my own choices and following my dreams in spite of my family’s expectations has paid off. My family is proud of me for having the courage and the ambition to follow through on what I believe in. If that is in fact their ultimate expectation for me, then I have found the balance necessary to surpass those expectations in the face of all obstacles.