Exorcising Expectations

I am super in to alliteration titles lately, I guess. I’ll try not to make it a Thing. But. Maybe I will. Always Awesome Alliteration.

It’s become almost a theme in my life lately that something I hear in church sparks a blog post, and this week was no different. It’s a little crazy how very relevant I always find the messages, and how easy it is to bridge into my every day life and Writing World.

At the beginning of the message this week, the pastor shared the video of Susan Boyle’s first audition for Britain’s Got Talent. If you’ve never seen it (who even are you), here you go:

Confession: I have watched this video so many times, I could practically quote it. Related: I still tear up every time I watch it. Sitting there, watching it for the eleventy-ninth time, I could feel the stupid giant grin on my face.

The message the followed was about expectations. Watching that video, you can see how it relates. When Susan walked on stage, people had specific expectations based on her outward appearance, on her slightly nervous babbling. And she Blew. Them. Away.

How often do we do this in our lives? We are nothing if not individual bundles of expectations, based on the way we see the world. We expect to be treated in certain ways, and we treat others based on those expectations as well.

A friend of mine recently told me something that I have repeated so many times in the past couple of months, to myself and to others. She said, “I guess I just go into every interaction assuming that people like me. If they don’t, I’ll find out, but until then, it’s a lot easier to assume they like me.”

We certainly can’t control what other people think, or what their expectations of us are, but we can control how we see the world, and where we set our expectations. I didn’t realize until that conversation how much I looked at every interaction as a challenge to EARN someone’s approval. Looking at those interactions from the perspective of already having that approval was, honestly, life-changing. I mean, why wouldn’t someone like me? I’m delightful 😉

I need a really fancy segue into the next part of this, but I’ve got nothing.

In life, we place so many expectations on ourselves and on others. I have always told my friends who call me pessimistic that I am a realist, and that I like to keep my expectations low in order to protect myself.

Well, I’m calling bullshit on myself. (Sorry, Mom!)

Almost every one of my expectations for my life have been blown out of the water. A year ago, I never expected to find an agent, or get a book deal. I mean, I always HOPED for it, and worked very hard toward that goal, but I kept my expectations low. “I’ll still be querying a year from now,” I told myself. “Expect the worst while hoping for the best,” was my mantra.

It makes me wonder what other low-bar expectations I’ve set for myself that I need to do away with.

What I’ve realized is how much of a disservice I’ve done myself, and God, by keeping my expectations low. Would I tell my kiddos at work what I tell myself? DREAM BIG (aim low). Uhhh, no. Do I tell my fellow writers that? Absolutely not! So why am I different? Why do I get to expect only small things from myself?

So I’m doing away with expectations. I’m embracing all the possibilities that life has to offer. I’m trusting that God knows what He’s doing, and I’m trusting in myself and my abilities. And I’m accepting that I’m not psychic. The best way to know what’s going to happen in life is to live it, every moment. And I intend to.

PS: Of course, the flip side of this is expecting too much of ourselves, which I talked about in my previous post on perfection. (Yay, alliteration!) Check it out.

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One Response to Exorcising Expectations

  1. Amanda says:

    Awesome. I love this. You should be a therapist…oh wait. 😀

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