Google dictionary tells us that expectations are “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” They are stories that we tell ourselves because we want things to go certain way.
Expectations and our ideas around situations and how they are supposed to go can stem from various places. Many times they stem from past experiences, whether it is a family function or that you are going to see the second part of a movie. They could be from what we have taken in from society – as a mother and women you are expected to look like x,y and z so you are constantly trying to live up to those expectations regardless of what you really believe. They could also be from how you were raised and what your parents told you was right and wrong, and how things should be done.
The problem with expectations in the majority of our life is that they just aren’t practical, realistic or helpful. There are few situations where these expectations play a positive role in our lives.
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
With expectations there are these stories of these perfect idealistic situations where we expect things to go certain way. We have this perfect vision of how things are going to go and unfortunately a lot of time things don’t go exactly like we had planned. Why?
Because life happens. We get too caught up in the feelings and emotions associated with the expectations. We have expectations for certain things because they happened that way in the past, why wouldn’t they work the same way now? We forget to take into account that we aren’t the same people as the last time this happened. We try to be the super mom that Sally next door is because if she can do it I can do it right? But we aren’t the same person with the same values, beliefs or situations as Sally. Expecting the same outcome isn’t going to work because we aren’t the same people. Our lives are continually changing and we are continually growing.
Getting rid of our expectations is about becoming more self-aware, changing our mindset and bringing more happiness and gratitude into our lives.
The chances of everything going exactly as you had mapped out in your head is so unlikely that we are going to be left with feelings of disappointment, frustration, failure and possibly anger. We start to focus on the items that went wrong and forget to see all the things that have gone perfectly. Expectations are very attached to our emotions – usually negative emotions so ridding ourselves of these perfect stories will allow us to make more room for the positive.
It is important to understand this about expectations, and to know that when we dig deep and figure out what is really important to us, when we understand our true beliefs and values, we realize that we no longer have to live up to these expectations. We can stop playing the comparison game. We can start feeling more confident in ourselves, our abilities and our situations.
“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”
I love getting together with my extended family and taking time to socialize and catch up with everyone. This didn’t used to be an issue but now with a little person (my daughter is almost 2) around I often found myself tired and disappointed by the end of the day as I barely got to talk to anyone. It has taken me some time for it to really sink in that I need to drop my expectations around these days. I spend most of the day chasing around my small child, ensuring she is fed, changed and keeping out of trouble (especially in someone else’s house) There is just no way that I possibly have time to go around and talk to everyone. I’ve learned now to throw those expectations out the door and focus on the time with my kid, and enjoy the food that I didn’t likely have to cook. Any socializing I get done is an added bonus and I have come to really appreciate that time. Instead of leaving the party feeling disappointed, frustrated and let down. I now leave with feelings of satisfaction, gratitude and happiness because although it wasn’t how it used to be, the fact is that I got to attend and I did spend time with some of the people I wanted to, plus my belly is probably full!
Getting rid of expectations doesn’t mean that you are giving up, losing motivation, aren’t good enough or whatever other stories are in your head. It simply means that you have come to acceptance, you are learning to get to know yourself better and live your life more true to who you are and not what others dictate.
It means you are getting rid of the negative emotions and feelings that so often are associated with expectations and are making more room for positivity. You are expressing more gratitude for the things that ARE happening and working out. You are living a happier life and are likely more fulfilled because of it.
So next time you are feeling frustrated or disappointed in something, take a step back and ask yourself why? Did you see this going another way and now it hasn’t? Why was that important to you? Are you able to change it for next time? Is the thing you were expecting something that aligns with you, your beliefs and your values? What good happened in this situation?
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”
Katie Kahvo is a wife, mother, sister, business owner, holistic nutritionist and life simplifier! She is passionate about talking with women, showing them how to live the life they are dreaming of through simplifying their lives and introducing easy ways to nourish their bodies through good food and self care. Come join her community over at katiekahvo.com/BOTrack