Live Up to Your Own Expectations

Image: Rene Zellweger (center) in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Miramax.com

My September 2017 Resolution Stats

(See my original resolutionsJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay, June, July, and August stats here)

  • Averaged 300+ minutes of exercise per week (v. good, twice goal)
  • 2 recipes tried this month (v. good, at goal)
  • 9,000+ written words for the month (v. good, all writing projects combined)

Be the One and Only

Who would be so masochistic as to invite a bachelorette to a couples’ only dinner party? No one you need or want in your life, I can assure you.

COSMO: You really ought to hurry up and get sprogged up, you know, old girl? Time’s running out. Tick tock.

BRIDGET: Yes… is it one in four marriages that ends in divorce now, or one in three?

MARK: One in three.

COSMO: Seriously, though. Office is full of single girls over thirty – fine physical specimens, but they just can’t seem to hold down a chap.

WONEY: Yes, why are there so many unmarried working women these days, Bridget?

The whole while Cosmo rubs at Woney’s pregnant belly. Bleh!

The smugness, the judgment, the superiority.

It’s not that Bridget chooses to be a spinster. She simply has not yet had the good fortune to hook up with the right man, a least not yet. After all, Mark Darcy is seated across from her while his self-absorbed girlfriend Natasha fawns “ownership” over him. If only Natasha knew that her own days of spinsterhood were fast approaching. What would she say then?

Don’t Let People Tell You What to Do

There will always be people who will try to put others down in order to raise themselves up. It’s a sad and unfortunate reality. If you think about it, you could probably name at least 5 times this has happened in your own life.

Take this example. I submitted a non-fiction story into a writing competition back in 2010. When I showed it to someone I hoped would support me, literally, the first thing I was told was “the first sentence is grammatically incorrect”. Sure, I sarcastically thought to myself, that is going to help. After all, the piece had already been submitted. There was no changing it at that point. This person thought it was more important to belittle my attempt than to give me a pat on the back for at least trying.

Don’t worry. I won the contest, and my piece was published with fanfare.

That was not the first time my writing would take an unnecessary hit. I recently attended a writer’s conference, looking to inspire my fiction writing. I was stoked, energized, and actively brainstorming at the time. This same person asked about my ideas and naively, I shared them. They quickly shot them down. “I would never want to read a book like that,” they said. “Maybe if you thought of writing as just a hobby, it would be okay, but not a career”. Essentially, I was being told to hang up the dream. All this without reading a word I had written and hearing ideas that had not yet been fully formulated.

What may be intended as “helping” can sometimes come off as being condescending. Think before you speak. Is what you say constructive or simply a way to fuel your own ego?

We are all faced with this sort of negativity every now and again. Try not to let it steal your spirit.

Make Your Own Rules

The ego is fragile. Some people do not realize that supporting others is a far better way to boost your own ego than to tear someone else’s down. Being a light of hope for someone else allows you to be a part of their growth and even their success. Instead, people focus on building themselves up as someone to look up to, as someone to aspire to, when what they really do is draw the disdain of those they see as beneath them.

Who wins in that game?

I bet some of the couples at that dinner party wished they were single like Bridget. As it turns out, Mark did. You can tell by his rapid quip on divorce. A woman should be married, not single. A woman should be pregnant, not childless, they said. I may be married with children myself, but those were my life choices. It is not the way it has to be, and Bridget knows that all too well. She is not foolish enough to believe she has to settle into those social norms.

The lesson? Don’t let someone tell you how you should live your life. Don’t let them demean you. Take the good they offer but don’t let them wither your hopes and dreams. The only expectations you need to live up to are your own.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Joe | 1st Oct 17

    I constantly debate with myself with just how necesssary or helpful it is to seek feedback with something as subjective as writing.
    I feel your pain.

    • Tanya Feke | 7th Oct 17

      Yes, writing is subjective, but writers also need to connect with a reader. In that way, there’s always room to grow with constructive feedback. As for the trolls, I’ll pass.

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