Step 4 – EXPECTATION
“Expectations lead to disappointment. So I stopped expecting. You have to have hope to have expectations. But that was then. I’m not living like that anymore,” Holding My Breath – Letters to the Father I Never Met, excerpt
Expectation is our fourth step. Remember something you were really looking forward to? Like seeing a good friend, or family member that had been gone a long time. Maybe you’re engaged to be married and looking forward to the wedding. Perhaps you’re newly sober from alcohol and drugs for 29 days expecting your 30-day recognition chip at the AA meeting tomorrow. Maybe it’s a date with someone you’ve just met, or your first child. Expectation moves us forward. It’s the gas in the car on the freeway.
Our expectations can be positive or negative. We’ve all heard the term self-fulfilling prophecy. It means when we predict something will happen it usually does. That’s because our mind is creating it to be so. Predicting involves our thoughts. We know our feelings lead to our thoughts. And, our thoughts/beliefs determine our behavior. What are yours? Do you always expect the worst? Are you scared to expect something good because you’ve experienced great disappointment in your life? Cognitive distortions, or thinking errors are created by pain we’ve experienced. Today you have the opportunity to change lanes on the freeway. You can do this by claiming the power you have. You’re a hero…a survivor! Right now you can choose to expect the goodness you were created for. When you begin expecting the best, watch what happens.
A double leg amputee at a year old, Aimee Mullins competed as the first person to participate in NCAA Division I track and field events. She set Paralympic records in the long jump and the 100 and 200-meter dash. USA Track and Field’s Disabled Athlete of the Year was awarded to her along with numerous distinctions.
What do you think her expectations were in training for those events? Did she have any? You bet she did. She could have easily said “I don’t have legs so why expect anything?” She has an easy out, right? As survivors it’s often easy for us to give up. We have an easy out too, right? Wrong! Each of us has a purpose in this life. Others need us around – whether we realize it or not. Your life is making an impact on others. In order to fulfill our purpose we need to have expectations for ourselves like Aimee. Not setting the bar so high we’re perfectionists. But aiming high enough to reach the expectations we have for ourselves to flourish.
Some of us struggle with a sense of worthlessness. This is created through abandonment, neglect, and/or trauma to name a few. It often drives people to become perfectionists. People find their worth by being highly productive. Usually, it’s at the point of hurting ourselves emotionally. The project always comes before the person’s wellbeing. These are unhealthy expectations. We find our worth in doing, unable to just be.
We know that expecting the best in children creates better kids. Expecting the best in people usually brings the best out in people. Expecting good creates good. Think about someone you admire – a person you consider as whole. What do you think they’re expectations are? What are yours?
- Write down your expectations for entering the beauty of healing and wholeness?
- Create Post it Notes of your expectations – place them around your place
- Think about the last time you expected something to be great and it was
- Write down how you made that happen
- Write down the results from it being great
- What does great look like?
- How does it feel?
- Are these the things you desire more of in life?
- Are any of these results part of your expectations?
- Add them to your goals list if you like these results
- Share your expectations with your counselor
Having a difficult life can position us to expect the worst-case scenario. Experiencing trauma colors our expectations. Interacting with horses it can be easier to expect disaster than a good time if you’ve been abused, neglected, or in war. Today, my instinct is expecting tragedy. Staying on the FREEWAY I’ve got tools that help me take control of my worst-case scenario expectations, and expect the best. Walking to the barn gives me time to assess where I’m at and center my thoughts on looking forward to the good that’s ahead.