Managing Expectations - #WritingPrompt Wednesday

I know I'm a day late on this, but better late than never. I also did a FaceBook LIVE on it today in "Heart of the Matter" - click image to join and watch the LIVE discussion:


So let's get into this week's topic. As always, your exploration is your exploration. To get you going i.e. to see what comes up for you, here are some of my thoughts that might spur you on.....


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Can you be okay with WHAT IS and with WHAT ISN’T?


I believe that asking and answering this question can ground you in the here and now, or in the reality of a situation.


How often do you worry about a particular outcome whether it be personally or professionally? How often are your expectations tied to an external outcome - either another person's behaviour or the result of a particular circumstance or situation? Both of which are out of your control because so many external factors can affect the potential outcome of something that hasn't even happened yet.


What about the people in your life? Can you be okay with someone for WHO they are right now?


Can you find empathy for someone who is on a different journey than yours even if you are both experiencing a similar set of circumstances?


We compare a lot, don't we? Many times we measure ourselves by the short end of the stick i.e. we're not as smart, not as rich, not as capable of coping as someone else .... not as good as them, or simply just not enough. Period.


Isn't it time we throw some of that empathy we have for others at ourselves once in a while? We're doing the best we can do right now.

A lot of us are triggered by what people say or do because we have expectations regarding their behaviour. We want them to be or to act in a certain way, and when they don't, we get triggered. Our heart hurts.


Let me ask you this: In this kind of situation, how much of that heart hurt is about them, and how much is it about you and your expectations?


In most situations, it’s not about them at all, it’s about an unresolved issue you may have.


Communication is key. People can't read minds. If you expect someone to ‘read your mind’, then you can’t get upset if they don’t do the thing you expect them to do.


There is nothing wrong with communicating what you need, what you like, or what you don’t like. If you don’t communicate clearly, and you build up expectations for a particular outcome, then there's a 50/50 chance you'll be disappointed unless you have built up a solid practice of accepting WHAT IS.


We just got through the holidays. For a lot of people, being with family is fertile ground for trigger-type situations. That's because we know our families in a different way then we know others.


So much goes unsaid and is generally assumed when it comes to our family members. For a lot of us, we'd never behave in other personal relationships or even work situations as we do within our own families. For some reason, with most families, communication goes out the door and assumption walks in. Am I right?


Maybe it's habit or maybe it's simply bad practice, but within our families we have a deep expectation that they will automatically know what we want or what we need. Again, people are not mind-readers. Our family members may have super powers, but mind-reading is not one of them. The onus is on us to clearly communicate what we want/need, and to not make assumptions.


This Christmas I found myself repeating one particular phrase over and over, so much so that it became a bit of a joke. The phrase was 'IT IS WHAT IT IS."


Honestly I must have said that phrase at least 20+ times in as many different situations. After a few times, I noticed how helpful it was in preventing unnecessary worry, stress and anxiety for something that may or may not happen, or about the reality of a particular situation. I found deep acceptance of the moment inside of that phrase.


How do we manage our expectations?


I believe it takes a lot of self-exploration and awareness. It starts with becoming aware of the stressful energy in our body, knowing full well that our thoughts, not the external circumstances, are creating that stress. Here are a few simple easy to do suggestions.


Stop the Story:

When you feel that stress energy, ask yourself if you're holding onto some kind of expectation. Then ask yourself about the story you've attached to that thought. If there's a story, stop it. Stop making assumptions about something or someone else. Read Don Miguel Ruiz's book, "The Four Agreements". It took me only 2 hrs to read and it changed my life forever.


Communicate:

You are responsible for what you say and do. You are responsible for expressing your needs and wants, as well as setting boundaries. Stop thinking people should know what you want/need, or should act or react in the same manner as you. Get real about that.


Hold Space:

Let other people be WHO they are, where they are in their lives. Stop imposing your opinions and beliefs onto someone else. Accept them for who they are, even if you don't agree with it. They have their lives and you have yours. Let them grow in their own way. This one thing alone can change your life as well as all your relationships.


Get Still:

In order to become more mindful, we need to get still and reconnect with our heart, our spirit, our intuition, our soul – that part of us that is all-knowing. - Remind yourself in the moment to accept WHAT IS - Do the awareness work….. write, create, walk, become present, be in the now as much as possible - Do visualizations, meditate – get the conscious mind out of the way so you can see the self-limiting beliefs in your subconscious mind because that's what’s really running the show.


Practice:

If we can practice mindfulness around expectations, we will significantly reduce stress hormones in our body.


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I wish you well on your writing exploration of this topic. Remember to be patient with yourself as you dig deeper into your own thoughts and feelings on these topics. This is for you, no one else. That being said, if you feel called to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them.


Also, if you're interested in exploring these topics through discussion rather than (or in addition to) private journaling, I invite you to join "Heart of the Matter" - our private Facebook Group. We delve into many similar topics on our weekly LIVE broadcasts.


Michelle Myrick

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