Expectations are truly interesting. The fact that my human mind can come up with so many situations and scenarios based on absolutely no truth or exaggerations of the truth is really cool. Our imaginations are so powerful that they can really come up with anything, things that are SO bizarre or extreme based on one subconscious seed that was planted recently or way back before we can even remember having thoughts. It’s magical really.
But when I’m in the midst of anxiety it doesn’t seem magical. Not even a little bit. It seems like a curse that the mind is so powerful to be able to come up with some of the things it comes up with. It seems like the most evil of curses because the ego is so assuming that it thinks it knows how a situation is going to play out before it even happens or that it can read minds and tell what other people are thinking. And it’s usually coming up with the worse possible scenarios.
As a Gemini, I’ve previously thought that I was cursed with duality. The ability to have two seemingly contradicting thoughts and experiences simultaneously was extremely confusing at one point. The “two-faced” sign. Major ups and major downs. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, I’ve been what some classify as “manic”. This was before I realized the power of observing my thoughts. I was consumed by them. My powerful mind was running the show and it was not some funny rom-com, it was a horror-literally a living nightmare. I’ve realized there are really only two kinds of thought-experiences I can have and only one works out in my favor. Only one scenario has hope. Only one has peace. The one where I have power over my thoughts, not where they have power over me.
So what do thoughts have to do with expectations?Well, everything since expectations are just thoughts with a misinformed agenda. We place expectations on ourselves, we place them on others, we place them on places, things, situations. Just about everything we encounter has some sort of expectation associated with it. We place an association with what we think is going to happen and then we rate it. If it exceeds our expectations: it’s great/good, fails short: terrible/bad, and meets it: okay/fine. Or we expect something terrible to happen and guess what? It does. Or, its opposite and generally less frequent counterpoint: we expect something wonderful to happen and guess what? It does.
How interesting is that? What we think about happens. When I dread a Monday, guess what? It’s a horrible fricken Monday. I also learned to hate Tuesdays because I had a bad Tuesday once and then decided that Tuesdays were in fact worse then Mondays because no one expects it. But from that, I created an expectation that turned into Terrible Tuesdays. I literally came up with a name for it in my head. But I’ve learned that this energy I’m putting towards hating a specific day is creating the kind of day I’m going to hate. That’s the same for any other thing. What I focus my attention on materializes. Why focus on the bad things that could happen instead of the good things? Why use my imagination against myself? Why create anxiety and punish myself for nothing when I could very well create hope or faith with less energy and the reward of peace of mind?
So I’ve compiled some tools that I’ve learned through reading seemingly every book out there (just kidding but it’s a lot of books on the subject of well-being) that have helped me in my experience when I get on a path of self-destruction through my thoughts. I also use them to vibrate higher if I’m feel great already! They’re for good times and bad. Whatever that means🙃
• Writing out the thoughts that I want to remove from my mind. The action of moving them through and out of my body by physically writing them, pen to paper, is extremely therapeutic and it really does release a lot of the momentum and the energy behind them. And if you have a safe way of doing so – BURN THEM! On the flip end, writing out what I am grateful for and want to attract into my life has a magical energy behind that too. I do this when I’m feeling low and when I’m feeling high but it’s much easier for me to do when I’m in a good headspace because I feel that they’re coming true as I write them- like I’m attracting more of the good stuff and that it’s possible for me to have unlimited amounts of the wonderful things life has to offer. If you don’t feel they’re possible in the moment of your little writing workshop, I suggest sticking to the first exercise because doubt has NO place in dreams and aspirations. I prefer not to muddy unclouded water.
• Shifting my thoughts to someone in my life that I appreciate and love being around. Whether it is a romantic partner (my usual go-to since my boyfriend is the bestest ever), a close-friend, a family member, a pet🐶 (yes I consider them ‘someone’ and if you don’t idk if we’d be friends-😂 just kidding, but not really). It helps me to choose someone who shows they appreciate me as much as I appreciate them. I feel pets can be the safest choice since humans can be complicated. 🤷🏻♀️ The unconditional love of pets is unmatched.
• Taking 10 extremely deep inhales and exhales and counting them out in my head. I’ve been finding that six counts for inhale and seven count exhale is my sweet spot. That doesn’t mean it is for you, play around with it. See what feels best. When I focus on my breath and counting it, it’s really hard to focus on anything else. Also, breath = life so it’s a healthy habit in general. We tend to hold our breath when under stress and it makes everything worse.
• Opening up my favorite free-meditation app @insighttimer and doing a guided meditation. They have ones that are sorted by purpose and it’s wonderful. Side note because I they’re so amazing and deserve a shoutout: I actually invested in the full membership because I think it’s that awesome but you REALLY don’t have to pay for it and you get access to some unbelievable amount, like 12,000 meditations. It’s really helpful for me to use the guided ones when I’m in the midst of anxiety because if I just try to sit quietly or listen to soft music my thoughts go straight back to the thing I’m worried about. I’m work in process friends (I always will be).
• Moving: my favorite go-to has been yoga lately, just flowing around for fun and part of my intentions for the new year is to do this more. Choose what works for you, any kind of movement that you enjoy and get lost (& found) in. Blast some music and dance, go for a run (I’m not a runner so I don’t get this but hey, some people get meditation out of it- I salute you guys), do karate or jumping jacks, whatever floats your boat . Using your body to get out of your head works really well and moving is so good for our health.
There’s so many others but I feel these have helped me the most. Doing these things when I’m in the midst of a nervous breakTHROUGH has done serious wonders in my life. It got me out of my own way most of the time. And then once you develop a healthy habit to counteract the unhealthy one that once stood in its place things get better. Thoughts get better. Expectations and assumptions start to have less meaning. Things become beautiful as they are, not as what we they think should be or what we think they’re going to be. For example: I no longer expect Mondays (and Tuesdays) to suck. I actually had a really nice Monday even though it’s the beginning of my first full week back to work in a few weeks. If I woke up and thought, “today’s going to be terrible I hate Monday’s and everything is going to be super stressful,” I can guarantee you I would’ve had just that: a Manic Monday. A Panic Monday. I actually meditated for the first time EVER in the middle of my work day because I felt my stress coming up and thoughts flowing in, so I removed myself from them. And then they went away. It’s so simple yet so profoundly beautiful.
The lesson of past Erin is this: we don’t have to let expectations ruin our reality. It’s feels really shitty to be consumed by the mind and to use the imagination against yourself. And if you start to feel this happening, if you start to feel like something is going to go terribly wrong or your going to have a terrible time or something tragic is going to happen, whatever the story fear is trying to convince you is reality (hint:it never is unless we let it be) than maybe try one of the steps above, and repeat/ switch through as often as needed. I need a lot of them everyday. What do you have to lose? Worst-case scenario is you’ll be back right where you are (I seriously feel this won’t happen based on my experience) best case: you’ll feel a peace in a place that used to feel like a war-zone. And who doesn’t want a little more peace?
Love & light friends✨
P.S HAPPY MONDAY!
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