Managing Expectations

Mindfulness

The topic of this blog has been a really big lesson for me, especially lately. Managing expectations. I have found that I often look so forward to events or situations in my life, that I put such a high expectation on them. Because of this, I notice that I am generally let down and disappointed. Then, I am angry at the person or situation who let me down. It’s an unfair and vicious cycle for myself and those around me. How can we expect people and the universe to live up to the expectations going on in our minds? The trick here is – we simply can’t.

When we live in the world of expectations, we exit the present moment. Thinking about what is to come, or what we think SHOULD be coming, only sets us up for disappointment and heartache. I recently attended a lecture by the wonderful Eckhart Tolle. In all of his pearls of wisdom, what I really took from him was that you can’t live your life in the “should’s,” the “could’s,” and the “would’s.” Through learning this, a lot of things began to make sense to me. I can’t live my life based on how I think one person should act, or how would my life be if I had made a different decision along the way, or even how could something like this happen to me. This way of thinking does not serve me, and it certainly will not take me to where I want to be in life. So, this month I am going to practice living without expectations, being accepting of the way things are right now, and noticing the positivity that will flow into my life because of this. Here are some tips on how you can do this too:

  1. Be centered and present. As always, present moment living is key here. If you are truly living in the present, you’re not going to be thinking about how things are going to end up in the future. You won’t have time to create these ideals in your heart. Use your precious time and attention for a better purpose. Set yourself up for success and happiness.
  2. Let go. Something didn’t go the way you wanted it to? It’s hard and it happens, to all of us. You can’t live your life holding on to something that has caused you pain. Let it go. Things happen in our lives to teach us lessons. Learn the lesson and move forward. Calm your mind, the idle chatter that brings up these feelings will only cause more strife. If you’re struggling with this, it is the perfect opportunity to recite your sacred mantra or journal your thoughts away.
  3. Accept. Acceptance of “what is” can be really tough. I know from experience. Sometimes you want so badly to change what is, you make yourself crazy in the meantime. We could write a whole blog on acceptance. In any situation, simply try to be at ease with what is, second by second, minute by minute. Before you know it, life will unfold in the way that you’d like for it to.
  4. Find joy in whatever comes to you. Sometimes things come to us that we absolutely do not want . The more we resist things, the more turbulence we will experience. It is a great asset to be able to find the value and meaning in any situation.
  5. Learn. If things have happened to us that we didn’t plan or expect, notice if there was anything you can do in the present to change. We are always growing, always learning, and that is what makes life beautiful.

How do you manage expectations? How do you feel if things don’t go your way? What is your best tool for coping with these expectations? Let us know!

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The Practice by Barb Schmidt

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