This blog post to you comes to you in a form many others do….as a work in progress. Not a blog post that will result in you having found answers but maybe thinking and relating to what I’m saying. Because as usual I don’t have the answers.
This seems an apt follow up to my post about resolutions. Because this is what the New Year becomes…you managing your expectations. We enter the New Year in a haze of not just fireworks but positivity. This new year could be and will mean great things for us…..we think wishfully as the sky lights up. And then it comes round to what I believe is called black Monday….nearing the end of the month when you realise you have not completed any of those resolution.
And without managing our expectations we can very quickly give up….resign this year to what last year was…almost to sign it off as a lost cause. To look at this year and go “Well so far….not what I wanted for you”- then sigh and leave it that way.
BUT no not this year!! I’ll be honest and say this was a couple of us on the team a couple of days ago. We felt tired, and upset and all in all very defeatist about the way this year was turning out. Until we forced myself to look at this year and say to myself it had been one week…one week I could not let that positivity that I started with go.
So even if the start of the year is not what you wanted….that by no means sets the tone for the entire 365 days…even though it may feel that way.
Many people see managing your expectations as a negative…as you looking at your life in terms of Plan B, I can almost hear people telling me I just need to have a little faith and impossible things do happen. I am the biggest advocate of being a dreamer…of thinking up your wildest dreams and actively pursuing them with a passion that is what life is all about. But at some points in everyone’s life you will have to manage your expectations. Whether it’s in the fallout of failure, or at the consequence of a mistake…it is an inevitability that at some point, life will fail to meet your expectations.
And in a perfect world there would be no failure…and there would be no need to reign in the dreamers and force them to look at their expectations for life and ‘manage’ them. But without doing it we become inhabitants of a ‘never never land’ with an attitude that prefers escapism to this dream land, to grappling with real life problems.
I for one do not want to live in a ‘never never’ dream land. I want to grapple and wrestle with life and still do it with a smile on my face.
We cannot stop ourselves from constructing these expectations, it’s automatic and sometimes even sub-conscious….it’s out of our hands our control but what is under our control is how we react when these expectations aren’t met.
So I don’t choose to look at managing expectations as a defeatist action. Because some expectations are simply too un-realistic. Managing my expectations for the New Year is already proving hard….10 days in…not quite what I had in mind…but then again when is life ever what we had in mind for it?
And so to return to my own story I sat there and just thought for a while. About what exactly about this year was making me un-happy and discontent, and what I needed to do, what I needed to eliminate to stop this negativity from continuing and I did those things. And when I had eliminated the causes, or at least temporarily delayed them (well one essay was done but no doubt there will be more that will drag on my mind!) I didn’t stop there. I Started to think about what things I can do to make me smile each day. I had said that I couldn’t stand to let this year turn into all that I had disliked about last year, and realised I couldn’t sit around and expect change to just happen and as I was discussing this with Debbie, this is what she sent back to me “Positivity is an action, a decision to purposefully look for those things around us which brighten our lives. It’s not something we can expect but something we can learn and train ourselves to be”. So I put my music on and I dreamed up things to improve each day; re-reading my favourite and most well worn paper back, my new art journal, a cycle ride to the lakes, new blog post ideas, new recipe to try, new skills to learn, dancing around my room for a solid half an hour to my music, little insignificant things that amongst a bad day and lot of work I just forget to do or put off.
We promised that this would be a space where we shared our journey and things we were learning along the way. And this is something we are learning….that our expectations for life are not always met…but they never will be if we then sit back in discontent.
What are you expectations?
What do you do in the fallout of failed or unreached expectations?
What things will you do to bring a little positivity to everyday?