Do you often think you should be able to do better?
To do everything everyone else is doing: The ones who always have a perfectly clean home, are never late, never drop any balls plus always bake to meetings and gatherings, remember all birthdays and never get annoyed.
Of course nobody really lives up to these standards, but the expectations of how you should be can be really strong. And whenever you don’t fill the expectations, you blame yourself and feel guilty. You might even think you should just be different – someone who deserves to be respected and accepted.
At the same time I’m sure you believe that all people are equally worthy, and there’s no contradiction about that. Of course everyone else is valuable just the way they are, it’s just you yourself who should be different.
Trying to be someone else is probably not what you really want
Let’s recall Disney’s version of Aladdin. The one where Aladdin didn’t feel he was worth princess Jasmine’s love without money, power and status, so the genie made him a prince. Prince Ali!
Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa…
The story of course ends with Jasmine not being impressed by the prince, seeing through Aladdin’s disguise and revealing that he loves Aladdin the way he is: A street rat.
Who was Aladdin really trying to please by pretending to be a prince? The story includes society’s expectations about who is fit to marry a princess, and these internalized demands made him hide his true self and take on a completely different role.
Which ambitions are your own?
Our society is just as full of all sorts of expectations and myths about what makes for example a good mother or spouse. How a woman should behave or how a man should act. What kinds of families or relationships are acceptable, where you should live and how to raise your children. And on top of it all, the expectations are often contradictory.
What if instead of blaming yourself for not fitting in, you’d start learning to ask yourself: What do you really need? What is good for you?
The true Aladdin proves to be brave, compassionate and generous. What parts of yourself are you overlooking when you concentrate on trying to be something different?