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Let Go of Expectations = Let Go of Stress

These days, many people struggle with feelings of overwhelm. Even at times when everything is remarkably quiet, people are stressed out; stressed about everything else that's going on, all the things that need to be done, and the seemingly never-ending to-do list. And also, the stress of failure for not getting “everything” done, the guilt of taking time to rest and recover.

So, let’s talk about stress and how we can think about it in a different way. Someone once asked me if I ever get stressed out and I replied - never. Their reaction is typically disbelief. “Who doesn’t get stressed out?” Me. I don’t. There are only two things in this world that should make us feel the feeling of stress. One - if you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, or, two - if you have unrealistic expectations from others put on you. Think about it, what is causing you to feel stressed is a story that’s going on in your head, unrealistic expectations is making you feel “less than." So, anytime this feeling of stress comes up, check it. Don't allow it to come in. Don't allow it to step foot in your life. You wouldn’t let any stranger into your house, so why are you going to let these feelings you don't like into your head? Check them at the door. Ask yourself, what is it about this that's causing me to feel stressed out? Is it an expectation I have with myself? Maybe we need to check that. Is it an expectation that somebody else has of me? And am I okay with that?

People have expectations of us all the time - of our time, our money, our energy, what we give, what we don't give, how we help and how we communicate. Everyone has expectations about people. But it doesn't mean that we should let those affect us and how we feel. Ignoring those expectations can be difficult and can feel uncomfortable. But look at the facts, go to the source, and ask who is at risk and what is actually going on? Fear of not fulfilling other people's expectations of us is what’s causing us to be sicker and have more issues than anything else. Nobody can make us feel a feel. We get to control our reactions and responses every single day. That's it. You take it in and you determine what it's going to mean to you. You attach the meaning to it. You get to control how you feel. Part of that is paying attention, especially when things are scary or uncomfortable. What feelings are we allowing other people to make us feel and how is that affecting the stress levels in our lives?

If you are feeling stressed from the weight of expectations you can shift your thoughts to gratitude. You could think of what would make your life better. What you could do to help other people around you. Anything that will shift your focus off of the negative and onto something beautiful because it's a hell of a lot nicer to be in that space of gratitude and joy and fun and laughter and happiness than it is to think about misery.

Start by making a list of all the things in life that are causing you stress right now. Then, look at every single one of them and create an action plan around removing it, solving it, or reframing it. It can be overwhelming, so tackle the list by deciding what the most important items are. Then, put the items in that selection in order of importance. Figure out how long it is going to take to do these things, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not take a minute to look at how look it’s actually going to take to do them – usually, it can be done faster than you think.

So, take control back of your space, of your mind. Stop letting other people get all up in it and change your headspace. They're just not worth it and they have no right to be there. You are in charge of yourself. You can make things beautiful.

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