The last week was the kind of week where you come in the door and plop down on the bed. Emotionally and physically drained from the demands of the day. I felt utterly useless outside of work and utterly overwhelmed while there. How can dashed expectations in a new situation completely obliterate hope? Is my resilience really that shallowly rooted? My mind began to race and anxiety set in, and naturally my life was going to be hard drudgery for the next 20 years. But you’re expected to work – and hard -and you have so many blessings, so it’s okay to be a little miserable. Or so the lies that anxiety whispers in your inner chest says. It is small, but strong; a deviant bully to truth which completely wipes out reason and the Spirit. The price is high and the predictions false when you listen and believe this hectic silent message. It is a vortex and we need to learn how to stop it when in full spinning force. The problem with having high or even no expectations when walking into a situation is one way or the other you are caught off balance – your inner equilibrium completely disrupted. It’s interesting how fast a tide can turn from the gentle waves of accepted routines and certainties to all out existential wipeouts. I tried to brace myself expecting the pulse and temperature of the current to change beforehand, but the experience does the talking. Amid self-talk, resolves, and friends that reminded, listened, laughed and helped me forget, I gathered my footing and collected rules for myself. Our own doctrinal counterpoints underpinning the reminders that apply to many situations and hopefully lead to truth and calm. For me, here’s what I need to remember to stop the spiraling vortex of expectation.
1- You were not hired to be a circus performer. This one came straight out of my friend’s mouth when I was listing my newly concocted “expectations” in my own version of my job description. You don’t have to constantly be the most engaging and entertaining. Be authentic and if that means calmer and quiet than certain people’s expectations then so be it.
2- Live in the moment. Aren’t we sick of this phrase yet? But it is true. When I focus on the task at hand time takes care of itself. So when it’s the weekend, leave Monday’s anxieties till Monday. When you get to watch a movie, or go out, be fully present. The clouds lift when you are mentally and emotionally conditioned to do this. Which leads to….
3- Set boundaries. Keep your word to yourself. This is just as important as keeping your word to bake 50 cupcakes for Scouts, or to go do dinner with an old friend. What do you need to do to make yourself feel grounded? Yoga? Consider it an appointment. Leaving work at work? Stay the extra half hour so you are not letting the task list whip you at home.
4- You can be uncertain and believing at the same time. Have faith and live in the known and unknown grasp that whatever it is you want can happen.
5- Do what works for you. I love the quote “comparison is the thief of joy” by Teddy Roosevelt because it is true! When I started comparing my job or self to another’s style misery sets in, self doubt reins supreme, and the storm of despair is full blown. Do not let other’s expectations of what you should be doing or how it looks decide for you.
6- Find the fun. What is it that reboots you and reminds you that life is wonderful? Who is it that helps you along this road? Go do it, find them, allow yourself time for this. Expect it even.
What reminders do you need in your life? Share some of your wisdom that brings serenity now! How have expectations been a good or bad thing in your daily life?