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Expectations. We all have them. We all have them set upon us by others. But how do we live up to them?

Simple. Sometimes we don’t.

I recently came across quotes by Marianne Moore and Virginia Woolf, and they seemed to really give a wake up call to me as a reminder that we are not all perfect; we all have our flaws. And sometimes, we allow the expectations placed on us by others to keep us trapped.

We must remember that in order for us to achieve our own goals and our own dreams, we can’t always be defined by others. Sometimes these definitions are placed on us by society, and sometimes they’re placed on us by teachers and parents.

As a teacher I know that I place expectations on to my students for them to try their hardest in my class and to always have their assignments turned in on time. However, this sometimes isn’t always possible because…well, not to be cliche, but life happens. There are outside forces that affect all of our lives we have to be able to recognize what is best for each one of us.

Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be held accountable for the things we do and the choices we make. But at the same time, we shouldn’t allow what others think of us to limit what we attempt in life either.

If you dream of traveling, but have never done it…find a way to realize your dream.

If you want to become a writer, then be willing to take a chance and write.

If you want to move to a new place…don’t let others’ negative thoughts dissuade you.

Allow yourself to escape from the “cage” that we allow to be placed around us, and be willing to fly free. If we don’t, then Virginia Woolf’s words become truth:

The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.

Instead, allow yourself to make mistakes when breaking free. It is when we make mistakes that we truly learn. If we don’t get bumps and bruises along the way, then we are not truly making a journey…we’re just following a path. Allow those mistakes to shape you. Allow your flaws to shine through and show your true self.