Welcome back! As always let’s take a deep breathe in and out so we can get present! Last post I talked about SELF Care Empowerment being a way to choose how you want to show up in this life. Here, I want to provide some more clarity, talk about expectations, their impact on your actions, and how you might approach them differently.
SELF Care Empowerment is seriously incorporating self-care into your daily life. It is not about the one off pampering you do on girls day out. I am not talking about exercise, a massage or a hair cut; yes, all of these are critical if you enjoy them. I am talking about what you do and how you think and act all day long so that the joy you received from those events is sustainable not just momentary. SELF Care Empowerment is learning to say no when you are over committed, it’s learning to take a really deep breath on your way out of the parking lot into traffic or before you pick up a phone, it’s about looking for gratitude even in desperate situations. It’s about being that person that can turn frowns upside down both with yourself and with others. It's about owning the power of how you show up in each moment of the day.
As I mentioned in my previous blog the first key to living a SELF Care Empowered life is changing the way you look at life. Many of us are taught by well-intentioned parents, teachers, the media, co-workers, and friends how we “should” act and show up depending on what they learned, heard and experienced. We then hand down those same teachings and examples. As women we are still shrouded by the history of our gender roles, some of which I honestly believe are just inherent to who we are and are actually our greatest assets, like intuition/empathy/nurturing - we are the species born to be mothers. Of course, as with any asset if they are abused they no longer remain assets, but become liabilities. Those liabilities, for women, have turned into putting others before ourselves, needing to be the best in every role we hold from mother, to daughter, to career woman, becoming more "like men" to fit in with the ongoing gender role careers or becoming "successful". As the expectations rise, so does the pressure to be "more", and finally, the disappointments we experience can take over how we show up.
So, Let’s talk about expectations – I call it the nasty “E” word. Web definition – a strong belief or need that something will happen or be the case in the future. In my long time experience, lots of anecdotal research, as well as many articles reviewed online (Huffington Post - "Great Expectations Great Disappointments") (Tiny Buddha – "Are your expectations setting you up for disappointment"), expectations can easily lead to disappointment and resentment. I am not saying you should never have an expectation – first of all I don’t think it’s possible, but what I am saying is let's look at how we set expectations and then get stuck on them. That’s where the issues rise and we find ourselves annoyed, disappointed and/or resentful. It’s kind of a set up. If we were to drill it down further we would see we set an expectation for someone or something, most of the time we never communicated it to that person or pet :-) (or traffic jam), we didn’t check to see if it was even achievable, we have no part or control over it’s implementation and finally without even realizing it we decided how we will react to the outcome, met=happy, unmet=sad, disappointed, angry. We become left to the mercy of the outcome........
So what are we to do with expectations? How can we take our power back? I am sure you were taught that they drive achievement, most of us were. I researched a lot of articles online about the link between expectations and achievements, but they really only related to school, which is a whole other topic! What I did find, and has been my overall experience and many of those around me, is that having goals (specific, measured, and communicated) are what really allows us achievement and success because they are based on specific actions, that can be measured, are communicated, and finally, they are flexible and can be revised as appropriate. Whereas expectations are a "want" or a perceived need that occur without planning and participation of how it will happen. Expectations can give you some pie in the sky hope and excitement which is great for stretching and motivation, but since it is not a plan for moving forward, it is very much left to chance. (KnowledgeAdvantage.biz – "Beyond Expectations"). So if you are stuck to expectations, they leave you without options, and that's when you struggle.
I’d love to tell you I know how to never have expectations, but since I have not been able to completely get rid of them myself, I can’t. Plus, they do make me dream of what might be and help me to stretch the possibilities and that’s kinda cool. What I can share with you are the keys I have found to limiting the attachment and navigating through them. The key to expectations if you must have them is not to be attached to them! Yup simple, but not always so easy. A lot of our expectations are rooted in limiting beliefs and assumptions, things we have heard over and over again growing up or still hear in the media, or the illusions we experience on TV. Did you know reality shows are scripted???? Yup. I know I used to think the ideal family was what I watched on TV – I'll let you fill in the visual, I don't want to fully date myself... If you were raised hearing a dirty child is a happy child, then clean children may make you think that they don’t have any fun. Expecting your spouse to pick up after themselves after 30 years of not, because they should? We are stuck on that particular outcome, we can’t let it go because it “should” have happened this particular way. "Should" That's a word for another day....
I hope you found this informative and helpful and continue to follow me on this empowered journey to SELF Care First! If you are new, please go back and take a look at the first post and sign up to follow me here on this Blog and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or sign up for a complimentary SELF Reboot Session, but definitely come on back for my next post on self care empowerment! Til then, enjoy the journey!