Boundaries & Unrealistic Expectations

Day after day, we are bridled with unrealistic expectations. These may be explicit or they may not be. The former comprises of things like social media or beauty standards. The latter may be things within our daily schedules; favours we’ve taken on board for others, things such as time taken out of our lives to dedicate to others, catering to partners’ emotional as well as physical needs, keeping friends happy, making sure family are happy with our every action and decision…

We want to meet all these. We want to remain the scheduled, do-it-all, scintillating individuals comprising perfection.

We may let such expectations get the better of us, and in doing so, forget to prioritise the concept of ‘self’.

The fact is that no-one can do it all. And even if it seems as though you are and it’s working fine, you are yet to experience the last straw that will snap the camel’s back.

The truth is that we all have boundaries. When our boundaries are crossed by the overwhelming task of trying to please others, we become bitter and we begin to resent the act of charity, hence doing everything for everyone but with a side of reluctance. An explicit example is religious expectations. I’ve had friends who were made to go to church on every holy day plus extra. Their families put pressure on them and they in turn felt they had to please their families. Even though they had many other priorities and different religious stances, they held a fear of displeasing their family members. They wanted to remain worthy and accepted or loved in a sense, hence sacrificing their own wants. Said friends in turn began to despise the act of going to church and religion itself. It works the same way with friends or even partners. We may throw ourselves into these relationships, baring it all, ready to sacrifice our time and effort. Ready to make ourselves available even when we are not. When we attempt to juggle all that is expected from us by others as well as what we need, we tend to not only put ourselves last, but also suffer a great loss of self esteem and worth.

Sometimes we are that friend. That friend that can’t say no to expectations because, after all, we love our friends! But do you love yourself?

People who love themselves and who have truly mastered that art know that saying “no” to expectations doesn’t kill anyone. Nor does it make the people that really love you to do otherwise. It only gives you enough space relative to your boundaries. Asserting what you are and aren’t capable of doing for others only makes people respect you more and give you your own space.


WHY might we set such expectations for ourselves though? Isn’t self love meant to be the centre of all else?

Well, whether or not it’s us who set these expectations, the case is most likely to be that they cause us to be unhappy or frustrated or just stressed out. 




  1. What do I need to do for myself?
  2. Have I made sure this is done?
  3. Am I really comfortable/available to take on more?
  4. Do i feel like I’m doing what I want to do?
  5. Am I REALLY happy doing this?

Amongst your friends and loved ones whose needs (including yourself), whose needs are being met the most….


Are you foregoing yours?

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