High Hopes and Low Expectations

I sometimes jokingly say that my philosophy in life is to have high hopes and low expectations. My “reasoning” is that by maintaining low expectations, positive outcomes are a pleasant surprise. But logically, I also know that this is a protective mechanism. Low expectations means a smaller likelihood of disappointment. It’s safer.

It’s taken me years to recognize this quality in myself, this tendency to err on the side of “safe” and “achievable” hopes and dreams. Remnants of childhood anxieties and low self esteem followed me well into my adult years and on the not so good days, I can still find myself lost in doubts and insecurities. Thankfully, these days are rare. Thankfully, most days are good days.

The single most important lesson that I have learned is that the rewards of dreaming big far outweigh the disappointments. It has been a hard lesson to learn. It means taking risks and letting go of control, placing my trust in others. It means taking a deep breath and stepping off the edge into the unknown. It means expecting more of myself.

As I look out at my school community, I easily recognize my kindred spirits- the ones who are struggling with their own doubts and insecurities, who feign indifference, who have formed a protective wall to block out disappointment and sadness.

My job is to offer a supportive hand as they take their own courageous steps into the unknown, as they learn to trust and place their faith in others.

My job is to convince them that dreaming big is worth it. That they are worth it.

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