Do you ever notice how often we put expectations we have for ourselves on others?
We feel we should do, act, or be a certain way, so we expect other people to do the same. And here’s the REALLY crazy part, we expect them to behave that way even when we are not behaving that way! (Double standard much?)
First of all, we can’t actually “expect” anyone to do ANYthing.
We can’t control other people, we can only control ourselves. An expectation is the same thing as having a “should” for someone. Such as:
-My husband “should” take out the garbage every week.
-My kids “should” be more grateful.
-People “should” use their turn signals.
Yes these things all logically seem to make sense and are without a doubt courteous actions, but if I learned ANYTHING from Byron Katie’s absolutely INGENIUS book Loving What Is, it’s that we simply cannot expect anyone to do anything…especially if our reason for expecting is because we feel like they “should.” Having these expectations and “should-ing” all over others is a recipe for major disappointment and suffering! We cannot control others, therefore we should not “expect” anything from them!
I know this, and yet I sadly “should” all over myself and others more often then I’d like to admit! A very real-life example for me occurs frequently between my husband and I. We both do not like to cook. We both do not like to do dishes (no dishwasher.) And we both love to eat out.
This is a problem when you are attempting to be both health conscious and budget conscious! Many times by the end of the week I will have hit my “guilt-threshold.” Meaning, I have eaten out or just “grabbed a quick bite” or a “quick cup of coffee” too many times for my comfortability level, and I start to impose my guilt and “should’s” on my husband.
He will want to grab brunch on the weekend (he loves going out for brunch), and I will start laying it on thick about how we’ve already spent too much money on food from out, we should eat at home to be healthier, and how “if only we were more organized and responsible we wouldn’t run out of food and have to eat out”, etc.
But how do you think this makes him feel? Exactly right. Somewhat attacked, confused, and uncomfortable with my imposed expectations. Then I start to feel even more guilty because I know I am “sneak-attacking” him with emotions that have been building up in me throughout the week and are finally bubbling over. Now we both feel upset. Ugh.
So how do we prevent this miserable feeling? A few ways:
1- Stop “should-ing” all over yourself and others. Why “should” you do one thing or another? Do you really feel that way or are these feelings you’ve imposed on yourself by comparing yourself to others?
2- When you have an expectation, it’s usually fueled and backed by emotion. Try to realize that and take the emotion OUT of it. Instead of feeling guilty or sad or frustrated about something that results in a “should”, ask yourself; “Do I need to feel guilty about this? What if I just looked at this situation in terms of facts instead of emotions? Are the emotions behind this making me feel positive or negative (if negative, are they really worth holding on to)?
3- If you decide you have a meaningful “should” or expectation for yourself (that is hopefully fueled by positive motivation), make sure you apply it ONLY to yourself. Do not force your standards on others…again, it only sets you up for frustration, disappointment, and misery!
Put these practices into place….and you can start living The Empowered Life! =)
Have you fallen into the "expectations" trap? Do you think you could implement these three steps to free yourself from guilt, misery, and disappointment? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
Do you believe in ‘signs’ or ‘nudges’ from the Universe or a higher power?
Do you ever feel like you get stuck in the SAME or similar types of situations all the time?
Do you feel like you experience the same types of personal struggles or pain over and over and you perpetually ask yourself ‘How did I let this happen AGAIN?!’
If so, you are SO not alone! In fact, you're pretty normal! Most of our life’s ‘road blocks’ tend to center around issues we’ve struggled with since childhood. My mother always used to tell me, ‘You’ll be presented with the same problem or situation over and over again until you figure out how to move past it or grow from it’, and she was RIGHT!
One of my biggest struggles?? Saying ‘No’!
And I'm guessing if you're reading this it's one of your biggest struggles too! Lately the Universe has been not-so-subtly sending me messages about how I MUST incorporate saying no to more things, events, and people before I reach my inevitable ‘crash and burn’ mode. This is the Merry-Go-Round I've been unable to get off of most of my life, where I put almost everyone's needs and feelings before my own and I try to show up in any way I can because ‘it's the nice thing to do.’
And although it really may be the ‘nice thing to do’ I have to remember (and so do you) that every time you say ‘yes’ to something you are saying ‘no’ to something else.
This may not be a bad thing because maybe you are saying ‘yes’ to a workout and ‘no’ to lying on the couch binge-watching G.O. T. for 5 straight hours on a Saturday. Or maybe you are saying ‘yes’ to visiting a friend you really want to see and saying ‘no’ to alone time.
BUT- if you are stressed, depressed, anxious, exhausted, or just feeling ‘blah’, I'm willing to bet one of the MAJOR reasons is because you are saying ‘yes’ to everyone and everything else and FAR too often saying ‘no’ to yourself and your needs!!
Like I said, the Universe has been not-so-subtlety telling me I need to start saying no a bit more is several ways:
• I’m tired like, alllllll the time and have started having wavy lines/spotted vision and headaches
• It stresses me out to even LOOK at my calendar and everything I've committed to lately
• There’s not much (if any) ‘down time’ or ‘me time’ scheduled on my calendar
• I've come across several quotes from mentors/thought leaders I highly respect solely centered around power of saying ‘no’
(Okay okay Universe...I can hear you now!)
Two of these quotes are particularly awesome.
One Lewis Howes shared on his Instagram recently is:
‘You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.’
And the other one from Lisa Nichols’ brilliant book Abundance Now is:
‘Exercise the word ‘no’, and remember that it's a complete sentence.’
Damn. That's some powerful stuff right there. And so freakin’ true.
•It's ok to say no just because you want to say no.
•It's ok to say no because it's simply the right choice for you.
•It's ok to 100% unapologetically say yes to yourself. It's YOUR life. You need to stand up for you and be your #1 advocate...it's pretty much the only job you can't delegate.
In my next blog post I'm going to tell you how you can start gaining the confidence to say no, how to figure out WHAT to say no to, and how you can say no without feeling guilty (or at least start to minimize your guilt!)
So tell me in the comments below, do you struggle to say no? What do you struggle to say no to? Do you have a close friend or family member that struggles with saying no?
If so, SHARE this post with them and tell them to keep an eye out for my upcoming posts about the life changing ability to say 'no’ more so you can start to say YES to yourself! :) So stay tuned!
Love you guys! Mean it! <3
Can I just be honest for a minute?
I'm really frustrated. I'm frustrated with myself.
I'm someone who has big goals and dreams for the future. I want to be a life-changer. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be debt-free. I want to be a speaker. I want to be peaceful. I want to help others achieve their goals. I want to be an inspirer. I want to travel. I want to foster amazing and deeply meaningful relationships.
And yet, lately, I've let fear of what others think, negative self-talk, distraction, comparison, and a general feeling of unworthiness overtake me. I've been hiding from the world and myself. I've been hiding from what I love most; connecting with and making a positive impact on others.
Fear is a tricky thing. Many times we don't even realize we are acting (or not acting) out of fear. We just don't show up to the thing, don't reach out to the person, and try to fill our mind and our time with distractions. Hell...I'm the queen of hiding from my fear through distractions! My upcoming calendar is proof of that...I'm booked so solid I barely have time to think!
So what is the point of this post? Is it to therapuetically vent? Maybe a little...
I guess the point is, it's ok to have HUGE intimidating goals. And it's ok to be afraid. It's ok to want to curl up in a ball sometimes. It's ok to let people know you need help coming out of that tiny wound-up ball. It's ok to take baby steps.
One thing I've heard several times recently is that it's ok to let fear be a passenger in your car, but it is not ok to let fear drive. Fear may grab the steering wheel for a few seconds when you aren't looking, but try to get mindful and present and recognize what's happening. Recognize that you are not stupid or lazy or damaged or incapable...you are just someone who's learning, step by step, how to overcome fear. Being fearful of the ridiculously awesome life you are planning for yourself doesn't mean you can't have ALL the awesomeness, it just means you need to learn to "do it afraid."
You and me, we need to stop hiding. We need to call our "laziness", "lack of motivation", and "lack of happiness and clarity" by its real name: FEAR.
I'm so far from perfect...but I'm going to keep trying to step out. I'm going to keep trying to "do it afraid." I'm going to keep shooting for those amazingly awesome goals even when my own mind is trying to sabotage me. Because I can see you, Fear...I know I can't eliminate you completely...I might allow you to ride with me in the back seat...but I am not going to let you drive my car!