If you’re on the expectation train like me, don’t worry, our stop is next! Expectations can be so dangerous. They can rob us of our joy and progress. This week on the blog I’m sharing a little bit about the disappointments I’ve faced this year, and how to finish this year off without the weight of expectations.
Dear little sis,
Are you a planner? I know I am! I like to plan out every second of my day. If we’re honest, I plan more than just my day, I have a plan for my week, year, and life all crammed into my brain right now. Sounds great, right? I’ve had doctors and mentors say, “Oh, I love that you have a plan,” and I’ve felt proud about that. Sometimes, it does more harm than good.
How many times have you felt disappointed or upset because something didn’t go as planned? This is me more often than I’d like to admit. So, as many of you can probably relate, when covid hit I struggled. Plans were basically useless and all the current plans that were in place seemed to get thrown out the window. This made me feel a lot of things, disappointment, anxiety, fear, and sadness to name a few.
I was reminded many times over quarantine by my mom to just take things one day at a time. Stop trying to plan so far in advance. We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. We don’t know when covid is going to come to an end. So, we can’t plan for a future where it does or doesn’t exist.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan because plans are good to keep us on track and our minds focused. What we shouldn’t do is have expectations. I bet the reason you felt all those disappointments at the beginning of quarantine wasn’t because your plans were cancelled, but because your expectations for summer and graduation weren’t met.
When we place expectations on our relationships, futures, our body, and our success we get let down and it can rob us of so much joy. When we take expectations away, we’re allowed to just live in the moment and experience things one step at a time. This allows us to be grateful for the things we do accomplish each day instead of beating ourselves up for the things we didn’t.
Don’t do a workout program expecting to get results, do it because you want to show up for yourself every day. Do it to feel stronger and healthier and be proud of the fact that you did it. Stop putting pressure on your relationship to go a certain way. Allow it to take its own course and be your own without feeling like you should be progressing at a certain pace. Ah, the killer one here, stop expecting this year to be the same as years you’ve experienced in the past. We know it’ll be different, and we refuse to accept that. It’s okay, but if we want to end this year feeling joy we have to let our expectations for it go.
So, how do we let go of expectations? For me expectations often creep into my mind without me really even knowing it. There are a few ways I recommend trying to release the expectations we do have control over.
1. Pray about it
The first thing you should do in any situation is pray. Always run to the Father before anything else. When I find myself struggling with expectations and disappointments, I try even harder to find that quiet time in my day where I can just be with God and leave it all up to Him.
2. Take things one day at a time
It can be so easy to glance at our weekly schedule and have a mini heart attack. The long list of to-do’s and never ending task list can leaving us feeling really disappointed in ourselves. Instead, just focus on today and what needs to get done right now. Then, at the end of the day before you start thinking about tomorrow, allow yourself to be thankful for all you did accomplish that day.
3. Don't plan too far into the future
This one can be especially hard for college students. I struggle everyday with trying to plan out my entire career and life. The thing is so much of that can change so why let it become a disappointment when something takes you in a different direction. Plan for what’s right in front of you, but don’t worry about what your life is going to look like in four years.
I’m in college pursuing a degree in genetics, but who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll be speaking at a conference you’re at! Life changes and sometimes for the better. God has a plan for you and that’s what matters.
4. Own your own experiences
This one is so key! I’m telling you this has been a game changer for me in college. When I was a freshman I was putting so much pressure on myself to make my college experience exactly like everyone said it was supposed to be. This is your college experience, no one else’s.
Stop pressuring yourself to fit into these molds that aren’t for you. You are unique and wonderfully made with a plan and purpose already crafted by the master artist. Your purpose and plan is your own.
5. Make the best out of it
The fact of the matter is we’re all going to have expectations wether we want to or not. So, when our plans fly out the window and our expectations aren’t met, the best advice I can give you is to just make the best out of it. Don’t waste time being upset over things you can’t change. Know that it’s for the best and this is leaving room for something better.