Relieve Anxiety

Letting Go Of Unhealthy Expectations

Woman closing eyes while letting go of unhealthy expectationsOur expectations are formed out of beliefs or teachings of how things “should” be. You may have certain expectations for people in your life; how they should look, talk, etc. You may also have certain expectations for yourself. Expectations in and of themselves are not harmful. In fact it is good to have expectations. However, unreasonable expectations are unhealthy.

How might we know when our expectations are unreasonable? Our bodies are created to send off signals when something is not right for us. Perhaps you know someone that creates anxiety in you at just the thought of engaging in conversation with them. My father was a workaholic. Every holiday or special celebration; I would have great anxiety at the thought of calling to invite him to the event. I knew that I would have to listen to several minutes of how busy he was and what a hardship coming would be for him. His words created in me a feeling of unworthiness. I would have stomach aches and ultimately be in tears at the end of the conversation.

There are some people that have a continual pattern of uneasiness from the worry that things will not go according to expectations. Many of these people are perfectionists. At some point in time they learned that things have to be a certain way or it is not acceptable.

It is important to have a clear intention of presence and at the same time let go of expectations. Imagine that you invited guests to your home for dinner at 3:30. However, things happen and it appears that it may be more like 4:30 p.m. The art of “Letting Go of Unhealthy Expectations” is to maintain your balance of body, mind, and spirit; to step forward as your best self and easily handle the situation for the greatest outcome.

You may become nervous, overly apologetic, and/or make yourself very uncomfortable when things do not go according to plan. You can spend a lot of time dwelling on what you perceive as a mistake or you can turn it into an opportunity to stretch your mind and/or spirit. Really take an honest look at the situation. If it is not a matter of life or death then go with the flow. Most people will follow your lead and be more relaxed with your attitude.

Therefore, the practice of “Letting Go of Expectations” is to accept whatever arises instead of trying to control your experience. What you can control is your ability to be present and at peace with the outcome.

Maybe you are doing things a certain way because that is the way it has always been done. Perhaps at one time it worked well for you. However, it is natural to evolve and maybe another way is better for you now. Letting go of or releasing expectations makes room for new ideas, habits, traditions, etc.

I invite you to take a quiet moment for yourself. Perhaps, you close your eyes. Bring to mind a time or maybe a pattern of expectations that are unhealthy for you. Take in some deep nourishing breaths. As you release your breath imagine that you are releasing any unhealthy pattern(s) of expectation. You can imagine putting them in a helium balloon and sending them off or something even better. Breath in the idea of being present to whatever happens; that life is unpredictable and that’s okay; that every situation is an opportunity to bring your best self forward.

I invite you to review other situations where expectations created an unhealthy reaction. How did you react? How could you have reacted? How might you react if it happens again? How might you regain your composure when expectations are altered?

Melody Lutterman is the creator of ValuableYou Life Coaching She is a ICF Trained and Certified Life Coach, Vision Leader, and Meditation Leader.

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One reply on “Letting Go Of Unhealthy Expectations”

I think we all have expectations of the way things “should” be, and letting go of them would be so liberating (and healthy). I’m going to try this, since I see a quite a bit of myself in this article. Thanks, Melody!

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