“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”
~Michael J. Fox
We’re back from our getaway…and it was INCREDIBLE.
Eric and I had soooooo much fun together…unplugging, reconnecting, and adventuring galore. We were spontaneous and flexible, which made the whole trip even more incredible.
I didn’t start off the trip in a spontaneous mindset though…it was only after we embarked on our adventure and had an interesting conversation about expectations and how they impact our lives that I changed my outlook!
Expectations are definitely a huge topic that I want to cover on the blog, so I might as well start laying the groundwork for that now.
What are EXPECTATIONS?
This is how I would define expectations:
expectations are a belief about how a person, place, thing, activity, event, etc. should act/look/feel/be/speak/take place/go/happen/and so on.
How do expectations impact my life?
They impact my life immensely — sometimes I don’t even realize how many expectations I have. My #1 top strengths according to Strengths Finder 2.0 is Futuristic. This means that I’m constantly thinking about the future, and with that come expectations that I place on my future — onto myself, onto others, and onto the world [to be clear, when I say “future” that can be any time starting 1 second from now and going through 1 century from now].
Take our Valentime’s getaway, for example. I had unknowingly created expectations in my head for how the weekend would go. I was mentally planning out activities at various times and places. Sometimes I’d say them out loud, and sometimes I wouldn’t…but I always had them in my head. My reasoning for not saying them out loud was to “make space for spontaneity”…but unfortunately I was still making said plans in my head.
How do I deal with an expectation not being met?
WELL…not well, quite frankly. And it’s something that I’m working on a lot. I am a notorious control freak…you can ask my peeps. In my life, I somehow developed the belief that if I could control everything, then everything would be OK. PSH! That obviously doesn’t work…especially considering that control is basically just an illusion to begin with.
At the beginning of our trip, when one of my expectations wasn’t met (usually it was a secret expectation, aka – I hadn’t voiced it out loud), I’d get disappointed. Not necessarily for a long time — just briefly in the moment. And I didn’t even fully realize what was happening!
I started talking about it with E — it was very interesting to notice and observe my responses to certain choices that we made. He is the epitome of a person who rolls with the punches, so I’m very grateful to get to learn about being more laid back from him! I finally grasped that it wasn’t my unmet expectation that would lead to disappointment — it was my LACK OF ACCEPTANCE that lead there.
What we concluded was this: holding on to expectations can squash spontaneity & happiness. We believe that it’s ok to have expectations — just as long as we’re not attached to them. And by that I mean, if things don’t go the way we’ve planned — THAT’S OK! JUST ROLL WITH IT. Accept it.
What’s the point of being upset about something that’s already happened that we can’t control? I can want to do a certain thing or want something to go a certain way…and when I fully & authentically accept how that thing actually turns out, I’ll spare myself a lot of grief & disappointment!
This doesn’t mean that I have to give up on expectations and goals in my life — it just means meeting an un-met expectation with acceptance. Then making a choice about how I’d like to proceed.
If my expectation/goal was to sell 1,000 books and I sold 400, I can decide if I want to leave the 400 sales as they are, or if I want to move forward doing something different in order to reach 1,000 sales of my book. The key is that I’m not beating myself [or anyone else, for that matter] up for what happened — I accept it, learn from it, and decide what to do next.
I’m still figuring out how to meld this go-with-the-flow mindset with a goal-oriented life…and I’ll be sure to get back to you when I’ve worked that one out. 😉 Since I’m just starting to ponder the impact of expectations on my life, I recognize that there are holes in my logic…which I do intend to fill!
All in all, our Valentime’s Vacay was incredible. I’m grateful that we were able to take a 4 day getaway and recharge our batteries! And now…a photo gallery of our Valentime’s adventures in Antelope Canyon [in Page, Arizona]!!