Having worked with clients and students for many years, I’ve noticed that we are often extremely skilled at deluding and torturing ourselves. How do we do it? We speak using virtuous-sounding euphemisms for what are actually harsh and fear-inducing judgments. In my opinion, that is the case with the phrase ‘high expectations.’
When someone says “self esteem” –– and this goes for “confidence” too, because people often talk about these things as if they’re things, as if they’re substances –– I point out that there’s no such thing as “self esteem.” It’s not a thing you’ve acquired. It’s just a label for an activity we’re doing.