Great Expectations - why do some feel the need to live up to them?


As I spent a lovely afternoon with my son visiting my sister at her home in the mountains upstate New York, I couldn't help but ponder over the many thoughts that have been crossing my mind a lot lately. Now that I am back home, I'd like to share with you my thoughts and even questions,and hopefully you will share yours on this topic as well. I asked my self many things, one of which was why do so many people feel the need to live up to other people’s expectations?

I am relatively a very observant person by nature; I can easily sense things and consider myself to be a good judge of character. Lately as I look around at my day to day surroundings and the people in it, I can’t seem to help but notice how people engage in friendships with others just for the pure sake of having friends and being part of, without not necessarily even liking the people, their views, likes or dislikes.

I notice housewives with a lack of zest for life coming in and out of their pretty homes, disregarding any negative emotion because they have the house with the white picket fence, kids playing in the back yard, SUVs parked in the garage and delicious stew simmering in the pot on the stove. How dare they complain, It's the American dream. After all is this not what most people strive for? Well, isn’t it?

It is like a big trap. If you don’t do this you are wrong, if you do not participate in that, you are different. If you do not live this way, you will not be happy. If you do not believe in that, you will fail. So here you are now tangled in the web and you can not get out. You are in a life, living according to everyone else’s expectations, but your own.

Still, It is very nice to be able to say that there are many who have not been prey to this trap, those that stand firm on ground and refuse to not be sucked into a mindless fantasy of what things should or shouldn’t be.

Although, they don't deny society’s right of views and opinions they also do not feel the need to have the same. They knew where they wanted to be, and are where they want to be. As long as these people do not harm others or themselves in any way they are content. No ifs and ands, straight shooters I call them. These people consider them selves successful and have precise goals; ultimately they are and will be happy with their own expectations.

And then there are those who still fear they will be alleged as different and so they continue to participate in a mindless portrait of a life. Doing things as others do and laughing at jokes that are not funny, just because every one else thinks they are. They will sit at a dinner table in the company of less than interesting people, just to avoid being perceived as different and the housewives will continue to pretend just for the sake of not seeming like the grass is indeed greener on the other side.

So based on what I have observed walking up and down these colorful streets of mine, I ask you, do you ever feel pressured to do things or live a certain way based on other peoples expectations?

Madison O'

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Comments 11 comments

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Synchronicity. I just had a very long family visit and allow me to copy what you wrote:

"It is like a big trap. If you don’t do this you are wrong, if you do not participate in that, you are different. If you do not live like this, you will not be happy. If you do not believe in that, you will fail. So here you are now under the net and you can not get out. You are tangled in a life, living according to everyone else’s expectations but your own."

That was exactly how I felt, and it was very difficult in the sense that some people, especially family, have this hold on you because we are "programmed" to feel this way about family.

I have had many tests...spiritual tests, and this last one I felt was the most difficult of them all that there were times I had felt that I was going insane. I do not know that I passed...regardless, I did the best I could. It was a time to learn more about compassion and kindness to myself first.

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

As regard myself it is something I've experienced too when younger, but with age belonging to a group for the sake of it or living based on others expectations has become unimportant. Nowadays I do mostly what I want to. It's better to be free alone than trapped in company. That's my opinion. But since we live in world full of people with different ideas sometimes we have to adapt. Very interesting and thought provoking hub.

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC Author

I'm sure you did do the best you could, You seem like a wise woman. "compassion and kindness to myself first" thank you for the reminder of something some of us tend to forget.

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC Author

Hi hypnodude, thank you so much for reading my hub and commenting. I really appreciate it!

Joanne050291 6 years ago

Great article Madison. I really enjoy reading everything you write. I feel the same way. What works for one may not work for another. I have a lot of alone time and sometimes long for company but deep down I enjoy my solitude and the ability to make decisions for myself on how I want to spent my time. Today it was helping a friend. In helping her I forgot about me for a while....sometimes that is a really think. Now that I think of it, I did this another day this week. I was going to the movies and really wanted to go alone and then someone asked if they join me. It made me feel good to be able to do this and although we didn't really talk much it was nice to not be alone in the movie theatre. I'm single and a lot of people have a significant other or a family and I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on a lot, however, I have my two puppies who keep me quite busy and a lot of great friends. I no longer spent time with people who I don't want to spent time with. I am also trying to not isolate and spent too much time alone thinking of past or present. When we are with other people it takes away that noise of what if' should start working on a book!!

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC Author

Thank you Joanne for visiting hubpages and commenting on my article!

JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

I love this hub Madison! You really make a good point. See I don't have many friends. When I get those chain letters that say to send to 10 friend or what not Im like I dont got 10 friends. Gee am I pathetic? Nooo I got 3 good true blue soul friends that are with me in the good and bad not just when my world is fair. That is all I need and want. I dont get it either with people who have tons of friends just for the sake of being miss social butterfly.

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC Author

The good ole chain letter...they annoy me very much. 3 good friends, that's all you need...good for you:-)Thank you for reading my hub!

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

because at times people are scared not to follow what is expected of them, the socierty is such a nuisance indeed, Maita

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC Author

Hello Maita, Thank You:-)

Larry Okeke profile image

Larry Okeke 4 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

Hahaha, i observed it myself some time ago, but there's something we are all forgetting here; at times, what you really want may be to please the society or let it absorb you. When thats the case, i don't mind dancing along with crowd. Nicest hub! Up up and useful!

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