DECREASE STRESS BY MANAGING YOUR EXPECTATIONS (As seen in BC the Mag)
How to decrease stress by managing your expectations
By Stacie Rose
Many schools of thought and modalities incorporate what we have come to call mindfulness. You may hear it in yoga, modern culture, in circles of friends and on social media. It's what we make of mindfulness that matters most. How we internalize, externalize, and synthesize the notion makes all the difference.
Perhaps getting comfortable with the term mindfulness has led you to that pleasant offshoot kindfulness. But something you may be missing altogether is a term yet to be popularized in the mainstream, and that's blindfulness.
Sometimes we may believe that we are practicing all the mindfulness we glean from our influencers on Instagram, the books we ingest, and the terrifically inspiring TED talks we take to heart. All well and good. But often, we suffer from blindfulnes. It's something like missing the delicate little details by focusing too hard on "everything." It's getting too micro with life and missing the macro, and vice versa. We zoom in and out with the precision of a phycological ninja, yet we ignore the whispers in the wind or grumblings of our own intuition. It's akin to not being able to see the forest through the trees, like forgetting to smell the roses and driving on the freeway to get there faster while missing the signs along the way. It's the journey, friends, not the destination! Easy to forget when you're going a mile a minute.
As we pour our energy into our personal lives, professional lives and everything in between, our expectations in this high-pressure world can be sky high. These include our expectations of others, as well as ourselves. With expectations being the drivers that move us, the goal posts, rewards, and bright lights at the end of the tunnels, we often stumble directly into our own blindfulness, missing the meaning in the moments, the magic and the very essence of life as it unfolds before us.
You may have heard that adage; you can only control so much. Often this notion has us spinning and spiraling amid the search for some semblance of control in the pursuit of perfection, or at the very least progress. This is not necessarily a terrible thing! However, if control or some variation of perfection is what we seek, we may fail to appreciate the small moments of splendor, intel, adventures and vibrations we experience en route.
You've heard of Serendipity?! It's a phenomenon that's not possible in an absolute or controlled situation. There is a certain amount of flexibility needed. We don't encounter or even leave room for serendipity when our expectations become an exercise in rigidity and ultimate futility.
It's the fluidity of life, open-heartedness and absence of absolute expectations that leave the door open for the element of surprise.
Getting directly to the point now, our expectations of ourselves and others keep us tethered to stress, anxiety, s
adness and disappointment.
Sometimes we get much more than we hope for. Sometimes we don't get what we want or expect, and that's the biggest blessing and gift from the universe. Often our expectations are not ones that will serve us or lead to happiness. Many times, our needless crusades in the name of expectations lead us further from our purpose, our people (the ones that matter), and ourselves.
This is not to say that we should throw our standard out with the bathwater or accept less than we deserve. It is not to say that accountability and boundaries are not necessary because they absolutely are. This is not a stab at mindfulness or kindfulness. Both are powerful tools, beautiful practices and philosophies vital to our wellbeing, as is connectivity to appreciation and gratitude.
Embracing these personal acts of kindness and self-nourishment, using the power of positivity and cultivating a growth mindset are ways we can support ourselves and others. Reevaluating our expectations and trying to approach them with more grace and fluidity are ways we can set ourselves up for abundance and the possibility of being uplifted rather than being let down.
It's all perspective and approach. It comes down to choices and intentional living. It’s breathing, nutrition, deep sleep, love, finding joy in simple things. It’s taking your health seriously and practicing gratitude. It’s taking a step back sometimes, practicing self-care and listening to your body and your heart. It may take time to rejigger things a bit. But most things worthwhile take time and perseverance. Hey, ya never know. You might even eventually defy your own expectations!....