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Expectations are directly related to our happiness
Several years ago, I got pregnant. It was my third pregnancy. I expected, what I expected for every single one of my pregnancies. Get pregnant. Have a baby. Right?
But that didn’t happen.
I got the two lines on my pregnancy test… went to the doctor’s… and learned my baby didn’t have a heartbeat.
I was devastated.
This event spiraled me into a deep depression.
Part of this was because of intense hormone swings and post pardum depression.
Another part of this – was because I started to notice the expectations of my life weren’t matching where my life actually was.
I expected a third baby -now that baby wasn’t coming.
I expected to have a bigger house, to have progressed in my relationship, my job, my paycheck…
All the things.
I expected more for myself than I had at that moment.
Inflexibility of expectations robs you of happiness
One of the problems with having expectations is that we are absolutely inflexible about – is we miss the beauty of the present.
If the present falls just a little short of our expectations we write the whole experience off as insufficient and insignificant.
So the day or the day after I learned my baby didn’t have a heartbeat, I got on Facebook and declared “2017 is the worst year ever.”
I declared this because of one piece of bad information.
I don’t want to downplay a miscarriage – because it was hard VERY hard.
But because of this one hard thing – I wrote off the entire year.
I sent it out into Facebook and the universe – look, this year sucks… here in the very beginning of March… literally the day after I got back from Disneyland… but who cares because THIS YEAR SUCKS.
In the following months it definitely came true. Thing after thing., medical event after medical event, ER trip after ER trip – it sucked.
But I hadn’t ever given it a chance.
I wrote the entire year off
The problem with doing this – is it’s our lives.
EVERY MOMENT MATTERS. Even the in between moments of devastation.
There isn’t an insignificant part to our lives.
How many years will we write off on the journey to our destination – or that expectation.
I’ve talked a lot about this… two months after my miscarriage… my husband’s heart stopped for eight seconds.
It was like God grabbing my shoulders yelling straight into my face – exactly that – EVERY MOMENT MATTERS.
Stop waiting for your expectations to be met to enjoy the moments.
You can read more about this experience and how to avoid writing the year off here.
Trade your expectations for preferences
One of my favorite pieces of advice for expectations is to trade it for preferences.
That way it’s not as tough when something you preferred would have happened doesn’t happen. When something you EXPECT to happen doesn’t happen that’s a harder sale to the brain that you’re okay. But when you just prefer it – you allow yourself a fare amount of flexibility.
So this year – 2020. Did anyone expect this?
Did any of us expect to be sitting in our homes for more than a hundred days? Did we expect to lose jobs? Blow through savings? Close businesses?
A lot of hard things have happened – impossible things.
We did not expect this. And as far as expectations go… for the huge grand year that was going to be 2020 – it has fallen well below that.
This reality can be a hard pill to swallow when we’re comparing what we wanted 2020 to be… to what it is.
But what if we change our wording?
What if we say – we would not have preferred this.
We would not have preferred to cancel our trip… I would have preferred not to have had to cancel my HIPLIVE event. We would have preferred to keep our job or held onto more savings.
We would not have preferred to be living in the middle of a tumultuous time.
When we prefer over expect, we can be flexible and accept our present circumstance because preferences don’t paint a picture of what SHOULD be.
By practicing being flexible – we are also able to more quickly rebound and evolve into what will serve our present circumstances.
More on the Podcast
- How people can actually get physically sick because of unmet expectations
- What research found about if lowered expectations will help you be happier
- How I changed expectations to preferences to better serve my son’s needs