Soul Food with Pia Richardson: How to avoid disappointing ourselves with unrealistic expectations

Pia RichardsonGeraldton Guardian
Soul Food Cafe and Tea House owner Pia Richardson.
Camera IconSoul Food Cafe and Tea House owner Pia Richardson. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian/RegionalHUB

After a long hiatus, drowning in the demands of a new business, I find myself finally able to come up for air — and with that my creative juices have slowly begun flow again.

When pondering what I might write about I settled on something that has really been showing up a lot in my world at the moment — unrealistic expectations. Whether it’s of ourselves, of others or of life in general it seems to be more and more that I see people placing these expectations on various things and then spiralling when they aren’t met.

We live in a world of instant gratification — our every demand can be met quite often with the touch of a button and at lightning speed and it is my belief that we have begun to expect this level of precision in areas of our life where it has no place.

It is my experience that most people live in one of two states — we either acknowledge the humanity in ourselves but expect more from others, expecting people to accept that we can’t be perfect all the time yet demanding an unrealistic level of perfection of others. Or we acknowledge the humanity in others and expect more from ourselves, excusing away all sorts of bad behaviour yet beating ourselves up for the smallest things.

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Neither is especially useful and while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to strive for more, it becomes problematic when we cannot simply accept things as they are. The thing is, life can be so much easier when we let go of expectation and begin to look at things objectively.

One of the most profound things I ever heard was the phrase “expectations are premeditated resentments” and it was when I first learned this I began to look around at all the resentments I had in my life and how I had in fact created them.

So next time you find yourself feeling frustrated at the internet cutting out or someone not showing up for you how you imagined, or yourself for some silly mistake — take the time to ask yourself “how important is it?” or “What is the takeaway from this?”

And for sure there will be times when your frustration is completely justified, and that’s OK, but something truly wonderful happens when we can take a step back and just . . . breathe.

Pia Richardson is the co-owner of Railway Health Hub, managing director of Crossroads Life and runs Soul Food cafe. She is a life coach and hypnotherapist with a passion for community wellbeing.

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