Arrive Everyday, Without Expectations
As humans with experiences that shape our egos, we often make plans for the future based on the past. We tell ourselves to expect a certain outcome, prepare for it, and have a reaction ready.
When I look back at my history with anxiety, I see clearly that I spent so much mental energy preparing for all scenarios. My ego causing me to live in the past or the future in an attempt to control and manage situations. Very little of my time was spent being in the present because I was so busy in preparation mode. My ego thrived in moments of exhaustion, too, by creating a mental space that was causing me suffering.
The beautiful thing about living without expectations is it clears our minds from living in the past or the future, allowing us to live in the moment.
It takes work to acknowledge expectations we put on ourselves and each other. It will come to you in a moment that you are probably suffering with anxious feelings, worry, fear, sadness that something did not go the way as planned (living in the past), or those same feelings about something that may happen (living in the future).
This work is a part of the spiritual journey where we find ourselves letting go of tethers that cause our suffering. Every time we let go of an expectation, we are releasing the hold we have on the need to know and control, and in turn, it forces us to live in the present moment,
Here are some tips for identifying expectations in your own life:
1. Meditate! A meditation ritual is a key element to understanding how expectations are impacting your life. Journaling was helpful to me in this process.
2. In moments that cause you unease (worry, fear, anxiety), ask yourself "Is this because of an expectation I have? Is it based on something that happened in the past, or is it something that might happen in the future?".... and imagine yourself letting go of that tether.
3. Repeat "Be here now" to ground you in the present moment.
4. Breath. When I find myself in an uneasy mental space, I remind myself that the only thing I have control over, in this moment, is my breath. My go-to calming breath is: slow inhales, hold, equally slow exhales, hold. In many therapy practices, this is called Box Breathing.
5. Welcome and celebrate moments of being unguarded.
Listen to our episode on Living With No Expectations here - This recording was done outside a coffee shop on a beautiful spring day, where these conversations all started.
Living with no expectations? It's not easy, but you got this.