Great Expectations

Today, I wanted to recommit to my work here on the blog. It sounds kind of crazy because you have probably heard that before. I have since learned some important things about myself to make my plan more likely to happen.

I have recently read the book  “Better Than Before” by Gretchen Rubin. I don’t know if I have read her other book “The Four Tendencies” or if I have just learned some of the information about the tendencies. I only know that I have been familiar with some of the information in the book “Better Than Before”.

In “Better Than Before”, Gretchen said some things about the four tendencies that actually clicked with me in a whole new way. I am an Upholder, this I’ve known. This means that I respond to both internal expectations and external expectations. I can meet expectations from others like deadlines in a class or I can set my own. Obligers have a really hard time setting internal expectations for themselves, They do best to engage in groups or in other things in which other people are affected by their choices. A Questioner has to know the why behind everything that is expected of them. Some might choose to do it even if they don’t agree with the why, they just need to know the why. Other Questioners will refuse to do what they don’t agree with. Finally, there are the Rebels. They reject and avoid internal and external expectations. They have to use reverse psychology on themselves. One example was given to help with spending less, instead of creating a budget they were “avoiding” the marketing schemes. The results were spending less money but the way they did it was to give them something else to avoid.

As an Upholder, the thing that stood out to me this time was expectations, more specifically “clear expectations.” As I thought about it, when I gave myself clear deadlines like to post every Monday, I did so much better. Every time I have been successful at blogging, making YouTube videos, or whatever, it was when I had a clear expectation of myself. So, I have set some clear expectations, one might call them self-imposed rules.

The other thing I realized with myself is that I have to be careful about setting too many expectations. If I have too many, I will drop things off and they may be my most important things. For this reason, I have an idea of what I want to do each week and I’m careful to work on high priorities first. I look at each day and ask myself what I can clearly expect done knowing how I feel and what else is on the agenda.

I thought it interesting as I thought about art classes. In an art class or any class really, I would excel. I rarely do art when I am not in a class. At first, I thought maybe it was an Obliger thing. But I never did it to please the teacher. I now realize that an art class gives me an assignment, which is a clear expectation. Without the class, I don’t really know what kind of project to work on.

When I wasn’t working on a recent project, I realized that the problem was I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was needed. Taking a moment to talk to the client and get some clarity was what it took to get me moving. Along with this, if I feel like I might do it wrong, I also won’t move forward. I need to know what I expect of myself and what the client expects then I can easily do the work.

There are other dichotomies mentioned in “Better Than Before”. Do you like new experiences or familiar ones? Do you like starting or finishing? Are you a night owl, or an early bird? Etc. Each one of these is helpful. I don’t like finishing things; I love starting things. I can use this strategy in my crochet and knitting work. As I get to the part of the project I don’t love, I can push through by reminding myself that as soon as this one gets done, I can start a new one. I’m working with my desire to start things.

Why am I sharing so much about myself? You might not be an Upholder, in fact, it’s likely you aren’t. What you can take away is the idea that knowing things about yourself allows you to work with and around your tendencies. 

If you are an Obliger, you can build in accountability and people that care. Maybe self-care is hard for you, so you join a class or you engage a friend to make sure you are doing what you need for yourself. Your natural instinct will kick in so you don’t disappoint them. This isn’t a wrong thing, don’t beat yourself up for not doing it for yourself. It’s just not the way you are wired. We need people like you in the world. Instead of beating yourself up, recognize the beauty of you and work with your nature.

A Questioner would need to understand the why of taking care of themselves and then set rules for themselves. An Upholder tends to be more instinctual about not overdoing it and setting rules in place for themselves. A Rebel might need to look at what they are avoiding. “They say I’ll run myself to the ground, well I’ll show them,” and then they take time for themselves just to prove “they” wrong. Whatever works for you to get the job done is perfect.

I’m grateful for all of you. Your unique gifts to the world. You are designed the way you are for a reason. Whether this came from early wounding or just the way you have always been doesn’t matter. What matters is understanding yourself and then using that info to create a beautiful life by working with your nature not against it. I believe in you.
With love from my heart to yours,


This article was transferred from my blogger blog.

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