3 EXPECTATIONS TO FREE YOURSELF FROM

There are three underlying expectations we need to release ourselves from to live a positive life #midlife #women #letgo

LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS

I read an interesting article a while ago on letting go of expectations. Three that were referred to really caught my eye and I felt that there was more that could be expanded upon for women in Midlife. The three expectations that I feel women in their 50's and onwards need to release immediately are: 1) Things will always go your way, 2) Things will never go your way, and 3) Eventually, you will arrive. 

I've been guilty of all three of these and thought I'd have a deeper look into them and why they take hold of us. If you battle with any of them, perhaps there's a few tips you can take away with you for further consideration.

EXPECTATION 1: THINGS WILL ALWAYS GO YOUR WAY

From the original post: Some things will turn out how you would choose. Others won’t. The more you let go of your expectations about outcomes, the more you can be present for whatever is actually happening in your life.

I'm not sure that everyone expects everything to go their way, but I know I have a definite expectation that if I've done due diligence, and if I'm doing it all to the best of my ability, then A + B will = C. My husband tells me that this is linear thinking and there are no guaranteed outcomes in life - there are too many contingencies that can't be figured into the equation so simplistically.

I used to do this a lot with my parenting - forgetting that I was dealing with two completely different children who had expectations of their own. The number of times they "surprised" me by not responding how I expected them to would fill a book! You'd think I would have learned, but no.... I'm still guilty of putting steps into place that I'm sure will give me the outcomes I expect - only to be "surprised" (and often disappointed) when they don't work out the way I'd so carefully planned.

So, what's the solution? I'm not sure there's a perfect answer - or I wouldn't still be repeating the same routine! But, it boils down to not expecting everything to work out just the way you planned it in your head. You need to allow for differences of opinions, unexpected deviations in the path, and that your idea or expectation may not even be the best one for all concerned. Giving grace, being flexible, letting go of control, all makes it easier when things don't pan out quite the way we expect.

EXPECTATION 2: THINGS WILL NEVER GO YOUR WAY

From the original post: Is it better to expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised when things turn out all right? Not really. You’re still wasting energy on an unhelpful expectation, and you’re blocking hope and imagination at the same time.

This expectation is defeatist, and it's a trap that's easy to fall into - always worrying and assuming the worst. Non-worriers ask "why would you worry about something that may not even happen?" and my answer has been that it's best to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't happen. What a ridiculously negative way to live! For so many years I've chewed over situations working out all the worst case scenarios so that I can assure myself that I have a plan in place for each of them. Crazy stuff!

A while ago I saw this fantastic little video clip about worst case scenarios and it still makes me smile when I watch it ('we all know string art is a gateway craft'). It's funny but it has a hidden truth underlying it, one that we need to keep applying to our own lives - and that truth is that the worst rarely happens! Expecting the worst, planning for the worst, mulling over the worst, lying in bed thinking about possible solutions to the worst, just eats away at us.

Expectations mean we suffer twice - Melissa Camara Wilkins #midlife #women #letgo

So, what's the solution? As my mother would say "worry about it when it happens". Very simplistic but also also very sage advice. I could never wrap my head around it until recently, but now I can see that it's really the only sensible thing to do. It doesn't hurt to have some contingency plans floating around - that's why we take out insurance, but to live with a constant expectation of doom is draining and sucks the joy right out of us. Let's expect the best and deal with the few not-so-great occasions if, and when they arise.

EXPECTATION 3: EVENTUALLY YOU WILL ARRIVE

From the original post: Your life is not a Google Maps route. At no point will you “arrive at your destination.” The whole thing is a journey, and there will always be more to learn. You’ll be growing and changing forever. Don’t let expectations about “getting there” steal your joy in being here and now.

I think there's a lot of Midlifers who are expecting to arrive. Whether it's retirement from work, the kids leaving home, the mortgage being paid off, or whatever else you hold as your yardstick for having achieved your life goal. It's great to tick things off our list: being debt free, successfully launching the kids off into the world, finishing up the 9-5 routine, or whatever. These things feel really good, but they're not the end of the road. Reaching the goal doesn't guarantee that your life is now a success.

We can't give up because we didn't arrive at our goal in the time we expected to get there. We also can't sit back and stagnate because we succeeded at something and think we've arrived. There is so much living still to be done, so many new experiences waiting for us. Setbacks happen, successes happen, but neither defines us.

So, what's the solution? Keep growing, keep trying new things, don't let a late arrival slow you down, and don't let ticking off a big life goal be the end of the journey. There's so much more left to do and it's those new destinations that keep life interesting - and keep us smiling as we go.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do any of these expectations resonate with you? Or do you have other expectations that are holding you back? It's time to leave expectations behind us and start living life on its own terms - surprises will come but that's what makes the journey so exciting.


RELATED POSTS


These are the three underlying expectations we need to release ourselves from to live a positive life #midlife #women #letgo

To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to share this post by clicking on a share button before you go xx
This post was shared at some of these great link parties
These are the three underlying expectations we need to release ourselves from to live a positive life. #midlife #women #letgo

51 comments

  1. Another great post Leanne and it’s good to know that you do listen to your mother’s advice. Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of your advice can be a bit "dodgy" but there's a lot of common sense in most of what you throw out there - the worrying one was a biggie for me and I'm still getting there - I should have been a middle child (they seem to worry a lot less than oldest kids do!)

      Delete
  2. I do like your mother's saying worry about it when it happens, and as you say it's quite simplistic but also sage advice. I'm getting better at these things as I get older (and wiser) but I have a tendency to have great expectations and am usually disappointed if I'm honest! Very thoughtful post Leanne and I enjoyed your take on this topic. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb - Mum often comes up with useful snippets of advice (with a few "out there" bits as well!) And I'm getting better at the expectations thing too - they can be really joy killers and I hate it when I allow things like that to get the better of me. I'm a work in progress but definitely improving!

      Delete
    2. Yes I agree, we're all a work in progress!! Sharing for #mlstl

      Delete
  3. Hi Leanne I’ve struggled with the ‘worry about it when it happens’ but I am improving which is a good thing, right? I have always set the bar too high for myself but I’m changing that too. I still have standards but I’m being kinder to myself and don’t beat myself up if sometimes I can’t reach the bar. Have a great week xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we're really alike on this one Sue - we both know that it's not great and we're both working to give ourselves (and others) the grace that goes with letting go of having everything turn out how we hoped it would. Still getting there though!

      Delete
    2. As long as we keep trying I think that is important BBB! We are off to another cracking start to #MLSTL. Sharing this for you :)

      Delete
  4. I'm definitely guilty of the first one. I find it unfair to put in all the work, and then "life happens" and you don't get your hard earned result!
    I try to move on quickly if that happens. Because life is too short to be bummed.

    Hey, I didn't see your name on the A-Z sign-up list, will you not participate this year?

    https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2019/03/2019-z-blogging-challenge-theme-reveal.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the same Tamara - it's that A+B=C thing isn't it? Do the work and you get the result....well you SHOULD get the result! I'm getting better at not being disappointed when it didn't go completely to plan.
      And No I'm not doing the AtoZ this year - it does my head in over April and with Easter and family visiting, I want to focus more on my real life. I'll be popping in and out to see what others are doing though - good luck!

      Delete
  5. Leanne, this is so good. Expectations do add undue stress to our lives and you managed to discuss 3 good ones to rid ourselves from. I especially suffer from expecting things to always go my way. Thanks for the reminder that there are "no guaranteed outcomes".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's strange how we develop the expectation persona isn't it? I'm not sure where we learn our lessons from, but I'm busy trying to unlearn a lot of it. I want to be cruisier and to not be so outcome focused - slowwwwly getting there.

      Delete
  6. Loved the video Leanne and these are great expectations to think about for sure! I know some people who retired, a goal they set early on and once there were miserable, too young, no hobbies , loss identity etc. I also HAD a friend who turned into bridezilla and never came out of it, her expectations were not met and she felt let down by family and friends! I try not to fall into any of theses but still have achievable plans and goals and insurance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It comes down to balance again doesn't it Haralee? I couldn't live my life with no planning or hopes or goals, but I also can't live a life that disappoints me every time I try to micro-manage everything and something doesn't go according to plan. I like having some flexibility and that means adjusting my expectations along the way.

      Delete
  7. Very intriguing.... I'm going to pull that original article to see all the other ones as well. It's interesting about the first 2 - expecting the outcome to be as you planned and then expecting the worst also! I've gotten better at planning and then modifying plans, but still not very good at then really enjoying the change of plan. I like how you've talked about all three - really made them seem real!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat - it's hard when you're an organized planner (as I know you are) to let go of the expectation that things should go perfectly. I've struggled with that so much over the years and Midlife is finally allowing me to let go a little and to not be scared of the outcome - it's always good - different but still good :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Leanne, Visiting from MLSTL. I did read the original blog post and actually found your interpretation more relatable! I will continue practicing to let go of expectations and go with the flow when plans change - enjoying the moments. Awareness is half that battle, isn't it?

      Delete
  8. Hi, Leanne - One of my favourite sayings is 'Don't should upon yourself...and don't let anyone else should upon you.' You make excellent points here. I completely agree that it is important to not let our self-imposed expectations keep us from enjoying the journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard that saying before Donna (it must be Vancourverian!) but I really like it and it's so true. I should myself a lot and all those shoulds suck the joy out of the "what is" of life. I'm going to keep that saying in mind now when I get tempted to let the expectations take over.

      Delete
  9. So much to talk about with this one. I'm absolutely guilty of the first - and am always convinced that if I do the work, do the planning, the outcome will be as I'd want it to be. As for no. 2? Nope, I'm a bright sider - things not going my way simply doesn't occur to me. And no. 3, that I'll finally arrive? Again no - I've usually rambled down a cute little road and changed my destination on the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the first is the same for me because A+B should darn well equal C when I've put in the work! Then the worry thing comes into play with the second - I've been an A1 worrier all my life and I still struggle with that one - getting better but still slip back all the time. I also like the meandering down the lane idea - I think the year ahead may end up being a meander instead of a straight road - maybe that's not such a bad thing?

      Delete
  10. Hi Leanne, I believe in this. expectations are like dreams. They propel us forward. But we have be realistic as well. Not all expectations will be fulfilled. Some will remain as dreams.
    There is an old adage I believe in: "If things don't turn out the way you want, make the best of the way things turn out."
    -- bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You summed it up perfectly Pradeep. My DIL asked if not having expectations meant that we can't have hopes and dreams. Your answer says it perfectly.

      Delete
  11. Hi Leanne - I sure hope and do my best to keep growing and trying new things. I agree with you that "There's so much more left to do and it's those new destinations that keep life interesting - and keep us smiling as we go" :) #MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We still have so much ahead of us don't we Natalie? And at this age and stage we get to really enjoy more time and more freedom to fulfill some of those things - but there will always be more if we keep growing.

      Delete
  12. I have a friend who said "I don't worry too much, things always seem to work out ok for me' which I thought was a wonderful attitude, as she'd been thru some pretty horrible and difficult life experiences. So I'm working a bit on that. Letting go of the worry. #MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely about choosing your attitude Lydia - not allowing life's circumstances to define you. I've met people who have great lives but are still bitter about small things, and others who've gone through a lot and yet still find something to smile about - I want to be smiling every day.

      Delete
  13. ‘Worry about it when it hapoens’ could almost be my mantra Leanne. There’s nothing like a few tough life experiences to make that an easy thing to do. I enjoyed reading this thoughtful post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and my mum would get along well Jennifer! It's so true though - if worry actually changed anything then it'd be worthwhile, but it doesn't, so I really need to put it aside and just face life as it comes along. I'm getting there slowly!

      Delete
  14. I've never thought of expectations this way before. It makes a lot of sense to rethink our expectations. I don't usually expect the worst, but I know I have been let down when my carefully laid plans did not turn out as I hoped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have such a linear model of thinking Michele and that's been good in some ways, but it's definitely set me up for disappointment at times. I need to release myself (and others) from that rigidity and learn to go with the flow more. Reducing my expectations is definitely a significant component of that process.

      Delete
  15. Your mother has good advice. I can not tell you the hours I have wasted on worst case scenarios. Nothing every happens and no one ever says what you think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had full conversations in my head that never happen Victoria, full in-detail scenarios that never occur, so many wasted hours that I won't get back. I'm busy overthinking my "retirement" atm - still need to take my own advice and leave it to work itself out.

      Delete
  16. Hi, Leanne - I've shared this post on my Social Media.
    Thank you for your continued diligence in hosting #mlstl. 58 already?! That's truly awesome (and 'twas a very good year). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna - I just love our #MLSTL crew who turn up every week. We're closing early because we're full all the time now - so it must be meeting a need - which is fabulous.

      Delete
  17. So interesting Leanne! I think maybe the 1st and the 3rd are more me. The 2nd is not my style. I can tend to want things my way because I think my way is the right way ... BUT ... I have learnt to have a more open mind in recent years and do listen to the opinion of others and do realise that there are quite often better ways than I might think! As for the eventually arriving thing - well I think perhaps I have done this a bit in the past - eventually I'll be happy, eventually everything with the kids will be easier, eventually I'll be slim again, eventually I'll be fitter, eventually this, eventually that. I guess one good thing that has helped me stop this is practicing gratitude and trying much more these days to be mindful and live in the present. Thanks for another thought provoking post! :-) xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Min - this living in the present gig is definitely the way to go. I just need to shut down the oldest child voice in my head that keeps trying to plan way too far ahead and who spoils my immediate peace by trying to be anxious about stuff that might not happen. At least I can recognize it these days and that's half the problem solved.

      Delete
  18. sending this to our oldest. Seems that these are all things that she struggles with often #anythinggoes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely an oldest child thing Jeremy - we are worriers, fixers, organizers and linear thinkers. I told my mum the other day that I should have been a middle child - they're much more chilled and relaxed!

      Delete
  19. Hi Leanne,
    Great post...especially the reminder that life is a journey, not a destination. I'm trying to get better at letting go of worry with the confidence that things will work out in time.
    Shared to SM
    Gotta love #MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm exactly the same - I'm practicing being in the now rather than worrying about where I'll be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. When my "monkey mind" starts taking me there I need to shut it down and think happier thoughts. And I'm so glad you love #MLSTL - Sue and I are stoked with the community we have there each week x

      Delete
  20. I used to expect the worst too. My whole life was lived that way for a long time. But as you mentioned in three, life is a journey. You never stop growing and you never stop learning. Somewhere along the way in my own healing I learned to stop expecting the worst because my journey is always changing as it should. These are indeed wise words. #Anythinggoes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle - it's an ongoing process for me. Each time something ends up working out, it reminds me that I could have saved the worry and just let things evolve in their own time and way. With age comes wisdom - and I think I'm getting a little bit wiser these days too.

      Delete
  21. Goodness me, this post has resonated with many. I used to behave as you wrote and I can easily slip back to some of those behaviours but with getting cancer and it bringing me more lessons about 'what I cannot control' has been very helpful. I am less likely now to worry about stuff I can nothing about and I know my husband would say I am so much better at this too!!! Denyse #MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's funny Leanne as I tend to be pessimistic person so 'expect the worst' in the hope that I'm pleasantly surprised. But I do wonder if it's a self-fulfilling prophecy and means I have a negative take on the world more often than I should.

    I like the idea of not expecting to 'arrive' cos that is SOOOO something I'm guilty of.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well, Leanne, true confession time. I've fallen into all of these traps at one time or another--like planning the perfect vacation or holiday, only to have someone get sick or make other plans. Getting wrapped up in "it's not fair" made it harder for me to adjust my expectations and enjoy the situation as it was. Other times when things are going well, I can be plagued with the thought, "This can't last. When is the other shoe going to drop?" Even if (when) something difficult happens, worrying about it in advance doesn't take away the hurt, it only spreads it out over a longer period of time. And finally, my whole blog was started from the confusion I experienced when "I arrived at my destination" and couldn't figure out what was next. Now before you decide I am a total mess, I have learned to let these expectations go--most of the time. It's a work in progress, but I am making progress. Thank for your post, which inspired me to re-assess my current expectations and reminded me to live in this moment. Happy day! #MLSTL

    ReplyDelete
  24. I certainly agree that having either of these three expectations can lead to pain. I tend to have a bit of 'other shoe dropping' syndrome. My personality tends to be a bit more laid back wiht letting things flow -- and the pain comes when I begin to stress and 'expect'. Thanks for another thought-provoking post!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is great Leanne, I especially like number three. It can be a trap to believe that and a relief not to.
    We will feature this post on the next Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  26. So well written as always Leanne - such a simple yet obvious way to break down every expectation. I hope you don't mind but I shared it on my PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x #MLSTL and #BloggersPitstop!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love that expectation 1 and expectation 2 are polar opposites of one another. I think it completely drives the point home.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Leanne, I love your mother's "Worry about it when it happens" attitude. I worry too much! I'll be rereading this one!

    ReplyDelete

I love it when you leave a comment and I reply to them all.
If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com