The Beast Of All Burdens Is Carrying Expectations Of Others

The Beast Of All Burdens Is Carrying Expectations Of Others

This beast is all about burdens.
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Finally, the results were in. I expected that they were listed in alphabetical order seeing that next to “#1” read "achiever" and under that, next to “#2,” read "competition."

I then read the word “individualization” and after that, “relator” and thought to myself, “those aren't alphabetized..." I quickly understood that before me, listed on the computer screen, were my top five strengths in order of relevance, not alphabetical order.

There it was at the top of the list: "#1 Achiever"

The word itself couldn't even stand to be in second place, burdened with the expectation of always coming in first.

"What a show off" I thought.

One of the biggest battles with expectation is not the expectation we have of ourselves but the expectation we have of others and their role in our lives. We are most concerned with the expectation in which we have no control over. We feel uncomfortable with this lack of control because we have no power over the means by which the expectation can be satisfied; it is entirely up to that other person.

In 2008, burdened with this expectation was my sixth-grade self. I approached the drama and jungle of middle school as a train hauling ass in a summer rain approaches an emergency stop without breaks…hot, heavy and messy.

Perhaps if we were talking about a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, this would sound fitting. However, when used in a sentence about middle school it seems incredibly disconcerting, which is exactly how I felt.

As middle school ran its course, my small mind tried grappling with the experience of what I call “the downfall of middle-school kind.” This is the time where young minds become curious and are tempted. One of the hardest temptations to abstain from is being tempted by others. By projecting the expectations we have of ourselves onto those around us, we eventually find that it's not the middle school jungle that hurts us, it's our expectations of the animals within the jungle.

In my experience, I became tempted by (and fell prey to) the expectations I had of others. We expect that people are good and that we are enough until the veil of elementary school is removed and we are tempted to think otherwise.

At any rate, days passed, and then years, and the train eventually came to a stop. I suppose one could say my personal downfall from my elementary school heyday was a difficult one and I didn’t cope well going from having expectations met, to having expectations tested.

However, just like those Disney Channel stars who transition out of their childhood roles and into adulthood, I crashed, burned and eventually made it out pretty okay.

The days were long but the years went by quickly and I slowly realized the truth behind the saying “your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness.”

As an achiever, something I always have been and always will be, I am one of those twisted people who finds pleasure in working myself into the ground only to prove something to my inner achiever and nobody else. It is my strength, it is my weakness, it is my double-sided quality. "Achieving" is what yields an immense sense of self-sufficiency but on the other side, also yields a yearning to aim for a target only you can see. This issue with this is, if only you can see the target, how can you ever expect someone else to hit it?

Where I once expected others to hit my target, I now understand that it often is the target that needs to be adjusted, not the other players.

Sure, there are times in our life when the cards are dealt and we’re stuck playing our double-sided card to its weaker side, only to fold moments later and walk out of the game feeling simultaneously empty and burdened by our unmet expectations.

Though we may feel this oxymoron, we continue to assume that if someone happens to be folding and rushing out at the same time as us, we'll still want to be the first one at the door…holding it open for them because we expect if that person is in such a hurry to run in front of us, perhaps they’re just trying to get the door for us, rather than get out of the door before us.

So, in summation (and for those not carrying this burden), what does it mean to be burdened with expectation? To put it plainly, it means that someone projects onto others the expectations they are both willing and ready to meet themselves. As a consequence of having these expectations, a burden is born and shouldered upon the sobering realization that their expectations can not be achieved because, just like the unseen target, they cannot even be seen.

And I suppose we now know what the Rolling Stones meant by never wanting to be someone’s “beast of burden”.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Profit Over The People

Diversity comes in various forms; whether it be culturally or fiscally, there are several ways to identify people as similar or different. The city of Miami, FL loves to advertise its diversity when it comes to attracting tourists, yet it is choosing profit over its people.

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The google definition for gentrification is "the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste." Which seems extremely palatable, but the gross and harsh reality is that gentrification is the destruction of housing in impoverished areas to then construct neighborhoods of higher value. And in that process, the homes, memories, and culture of those areas are erased off the face of the earth as if they never existed.

The residents of these homes do receive compensation for giving up their homes, but not nearly enough to find an alternative housing solution. This has been the case for the city of Miami for quite some time now; placing shopping malls and luxury condominiums on top of the memories and homes of families that have resided in the same area for decades on end.

According to the 2015 and 2016 census, Miami ranks second worst in the nation for income and poverty levels, yet officials deem it appropriate to further the expansion of luxury living and attraction by ridding of the low-income communities. The homeless population in the city of Miami has been a major concern for years; but instead of addressing said issue, they are simply contributing to it by further permitting these expansions to occur.

These construction projects not only contribute to pre-existing traffic problem in the city of Miami due to overpopulation but leaves those who once had a home, out on the streets. There is a total of 179,200 households in Miami-Dade County, 44% of those house children under the age of 18 years old and the household poverty rate in Miami- Dade County was 21.3%, according to the 2013 ACS.

What are the odds of there being households that fall under both of those categories; not only is gentrification putting paying citizens out on the streets, but their children as well.

Allowing the private agendas of public officials affect our neighbors in such a manner is merciless. A large part of Miami consists of low-income areas, yet they have been falling off the map little by little over time. They are starting from the bottom up, and what once was considered a middle-class community will soon be deemed a low-income area in comparison to new structures.

When will it stop? The living expenses in Miami are already unmanageable, but if this continues Miami will soon lose all of its original residences and cultures. Left in the remains of a once culturally thriving and accepting community will be a playground for the wealthy, built on the soil of what used to be home to a culturally, economically and experientially diverse community.

The unfortunate matter is that this isn't only happening in the city of Miami, but in various large cities across the country. Pushing low-income housing off the map, contributing to the homeless population, to then drive initiatives to relocate the homeless if they are found in affluent neighborhoods.

How can one rise to the occasion in hopes of creating a better life, if they are constantly being pushed down by institutionalized prevention? Gentrification is a national issue; a country that prides itself on opportunity and progress is slowly evolving into a country for the wealthy.

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