I “should” be a better mother/person/wife/friend. I “should” eat more vegetable. My husband “should” wash my car every week. My kids “should” get better grades/always have clean clothes/sleep through the night. I “should” have a hot 4 course dinner ready for the family every night at 6pm. I “should” spend the holidays with family.
Should, ought, need, must, have to, supposed to be- I find myself using these words a lot. Depending on the context, I could be creating unrealistic expectations for myself and the people around me. Donald Miller said, “when you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
When I stop to think about this, do I really believe that all my problems will be solved or that I will be a better person if I have a hot dinner ready every night? Or that the kids will magically be better people just because I expect them to take and pass college courses in high school? What if they don’t have the same values that I do? My happiness cannot be tied up in what they do. I can have unfulfilled unrealistic expectations of my husband and when he fails to live up to my expectations, that can lead to resentment. Resentment leads to anger and anger leads to me not getting my car washed each week. And if my husband expects me to eat vegetables, well that is just not going to happen. Sorry.