“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget how to live.” – Albus Dumbledore
You might be faced with expectations from your family, friends and even yourself this holiday season. You may feel expectations to finish college, get pregnant, get a promotion, or finally land a job as good as your cousin Ben. These expectations can overwhelm and smother your mental health.
In sessions with clients, I find myself referring to this concept a lot. Comparing yourself to others, living in what might have been, or trying to live up to unreasonable expectations for yourself will do little other than make you miserable. If your dream is to be as thin, as popular, or as successful as someone else, then you are busy living in their dream world. You’re neglecting your reality.
Today, people constantly subject themselves to social media influence. That subjection causes a great deal of comparison against an unattainable standard. You are comparing yourself to an idealized image that someone is putting forth as reality. No one is happy and perfect all of the time. You neglect yourself and your mental health when you try to live like an Instagram model.
Back to Reality
When Harry is looking in the mirror at his deepest desire, Dumbledore warns that he could get lost in that dream and forget the other things in his life that are important. When you are living to fulfill an expectation or a standard of perfection, you will be neglecting the other important things in your life; to the point that you may believe they don’t exist. For example, you may be trying to compare yourself to an Instagram influencer. All happy all of the time. That may lead to you feeling bad about yourself because you aren’t all happy all of the time. This can lead to isolation from your friends and loved ones which will only exacerbate the problem. Now you have ended up in a vicious cycle of trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Coming back to reality and living in the moment seems impossible sometimes, especially when you have been in this cycle for a long time. However, when you start to do things for yourself and enjoying life, you may find that your life has more meaning than you originally gave it credit for.
If you would like to explore how to break the cycle of comparison and expectations, please feel free to contact Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832-421-8714. We would love to accompany you on your journey back to yourself.