Expectations have seemed to become a leading factor in my mental health, as well as in my relationships. Perhaps it’s because I’m already in such a vulnerable state, but even the slightest disappointment can break the fragile balance between joy and gut-renching anxiety.
I go out with my friends expecting
a) to have a good time with friends
b) to get some dancing/fun in
c) to feel a lift in my general down mood
But then I come to find that I can’t join in any of the conversations because I feel like I have nothing to add, and everyone would rather drink than dance and I’m too anxious to dance by myself, and because of these two things my mood ends up sinking to the point that I just want to run out of there, leaving without saying goodbye and sending a great big middle finger to the friends I was hoping to connect with, thus making any future relationships with them more difficult.
I hang out with my boyfriend expecting
a) to have his undivided attention
b) for conversation to just flow
c) for him to help me feel not so anxious
d) for there to be passionate making out/great sex at some point
But then I can’t help but notice how often he is scrolling through his instagram or playing a game on his phone, or how I don’t really have anything to say, or how I’m feeling anxious anyways and then feel bad about being anxious because I feel like it’s making him anxious, and then getting frustrated when I realize that there isn’t going to be any passionate making out/great sex, and then getting frustrated at my frustrations and consuming feeling of rejection and why I can’t just ENJOY his company when he’s done nothing wrong and it’s literally a war of emotions inside of me and I don’t know what to do with any of it.
I go to my aunt’s house (my only refuge) expecting
a) to eat yummy food
b) to be able to relax and unwind
c) enjoy the company of family
d) catch up on some much-needed sleep
But then I come to find that my aunt is repeatedly telling me the same few things over and over again, draining my patience until I withdraw from the conversation, only then to be questioned as to why I’m being so unresponsive until it’s now so late it’s practically morning and I have lost the ability to catch up on any of the sleep I was hoping to get and now because I have to sleep in a bit later to try and get at least a decent night’s sleep, I miss my cousins leaving to school which means I didn’t get any quality time with them and then I take advantage of all the unhealthy food to eat/binge my emotions into silence, only to feel disgusted and bloated and sick afterwards.
All of these situations would be disappointing to anyone. But the issue lies in the weight I give my expectations, because as Newton’s first law states, with every action comes an equal and opposite reaction. I put a lot of weight/faith in my expectations=the disappointment weighs that much heavier on my heart. If I could only learn to live more in the moment, to put my expectations aside as unrealistic day dreams, as unattainable ideals, then I would be much more content with the way things go. If I went in with no expectations, fully open to whatever may happen that day/with that person, I wouldn’t feel so rejected, so let down, by the lack of such expectations being met. I would instead be pleasantly surprised if they did happen, and hence much more thankful for the blessing the day/relationship has brought me.
So I guess my homework is to
a) Eliminate Expectations/lessen the degree to which they affect my mood
b) Be present in every moment as is, not consumed with thoughts about what I think the moment should be
c) Be grateful ALWAYS for every blessing you receive rather than taking them for granted.