The Danger of Expectations in Your Life
What is an expectation? Expectations are defined by Dictionary.com is “the act or state of expecting”. Sounds harmless, right? It could be…unless it becomes a habit of expecting certain outcomes. There can be positive expectations or negative expectations. It depends on how we are programmed to interpret them.
Expectations tend to become a ruling giant in our lives leading to all sorts of emotional triggers. One of the primary triggers is anger. We get angry because “life didn’t turn out the way we planned” or our circumstances are dire. This is why we need to REFRAME these expectations and situations in our lives. “Reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning.”1 Expectations cannot predict outcomes. People determine outcomes. Attitudes determine outcomes; hence, we have to REFRAME our expectations to create the outcomes we desire. Unrealistic expectations form in our minds from childhood. We don’t even call them “expectations”. They are really just self-induced judgments that we allow to run the program we call our mind.
Take responsibility for your part in creating your life…right now. Uh-oh….I just told you to take responsibility for everything that has happened to you up to this point? Yep. Sure did. I don’t mean that people haven’t been cruel, you have faced harsh circumstances, your environment has conditioned you to feel the way you do, you were born on the wrong side of the track, you are chronically ill….all or some of these conditions may exist in your life.
What I am asking you to do is stop being a “victim”. What is done…is done. Can you go back and change anything? No. We only have this moment to make a decision regarding what and where we go next. And that decision is solely……YOURS.
Moving forward involves the dreaded “F” word…..Forgiveness. Often we confuse “forgiveness” as forgetting the pain and trauma inflicted on us by another. Or we indicate “forgiveness” is some moral character virtue we have to perform because it is the right thing to do. Both are wrong. Forgiveness is telling yourself that I will not give energy to the hurt, pain, etc. because unforgiveness only hurts me.
One of the easiest ways to connect to the process of forgiveness and personal accountability is through the lens of gratitude. If you really consider your plight in life right now, you usually can find someone with a more difficult situation.
You have to find something to focus on that brings the aspect of gratitude into your awareness. Now I will be the first to say…this is not easy. But remember I told you….change is not easy. Living life abundantly is worth the effort.
I cannot put enough emphasis on this point. Taking responsibility for your actions is crucial in walking away from living in a life of bitterness and being a victim of living in the expectations that nothing can ever change.
Do you have a dream or something you want to accomplish?
In conjunction with being personally accountable for your life, you have to decide….WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT? How do you want your life to look? What do you want to create that doesn’t exist right now in your life? Essentially you have to “RECHARGE” your old programmed thought patterns. Ok, you know I love definitions so here goes per Merriam Webster…..Recharge: to charge again. I love this definition. There are times in our lives when we just have “to charge again”. We go along doing and believing this way, and then we have to shift and change what we are doing for our own good. This is exactly what I am talking about. What isn’t working? What do you want to change? How do you need to change your thought and behavior to achieve these results? So in effect, you have to Recharge your life.
Victims of trauma, pain or simply plain bad life circumstances find ways to cope and protect themselves. I know this…because I did it too. Begin a practice of dealing with the negative thoughts that come into your mind.
Here are some things that will help:
- A morning ritual of quiet time. Journaling, yoga, meditation, exercise or just sitting quietly.
- Control your thoughts. Do not allow a negative mindset.
- Be grateful.
- Don’t judge yourself.
- Don’t expect people to act a certain way. You can only control you.
If you follow this plan, you will “turbo-charge” your recharge of your life changes. When thinking patterns start to change, so do the behaviors.
Reprogram the Computer – Your Brain
Changing your life and old patterns take time. Be gentle with yourself. Changing deeply formed patterns takes time. But it is in this stage you begin to see yourself in a different way – a changed way.
Our thoughts control the energy around us. Let me say again….our thoughts create the energy around us. Do you want to be in a positive environment – then you have to create it.
If you want good outcomes, then only visualize those good outcomes. Remember the way we feel not only affects our outcomes in situations – it can affect our health as well.
To Recreate your life, you must change your mental mindset toward what you think should happen to allowing things to simply happen. It is surrendering to the circumstances of life knowing that you can only change “you”. Only you can live in peace and joy. Only you can determine how you want your life to be and how you want it to evolve. Never allow anything to deter you from your path nor your peace.
Recreated lives know how to live in the storms…free from expectations and fear.
1 (Clark DA. Cognitive restructuring. In: Hofmann SG, Dozois D, eds.,The Wiley Handbook for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, First Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2014. doi:10.1002/9781118528563.wbcbt02