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The Trap of Expectations


The Trap of Expectations

Higher Practice

“Give up defining yourself—to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life.” —Eckhart Tolle

A common trap along the healing journey is getting stuck in unhelpful thoughts like, “I need to have a perfect diet in order to be healthy,” or “If only I worked out six days a week, then I’d be healthy.”

When you tell yourself you need to be perfect, it often leads to limiting beliefs about yourself.

And it’s amazing how in the end of the day this gets us the opposite of what we want: less freedom and more pain and suffering.

A strict, linear path of self-care is ultimately not supportive to your well-being as a whole.

Just think about your life. It’s rarely static or fixed. Life is always moving, changing, and evolving—so your approach to self-care and mental health must also be flexible and adaptable in order to align with the flow of your live.

Here’s a simple and important exercise to help you understand and adjust your mindset into an effective and fluid way of achieving your goals...

Grab a piece of paper and pen. Write down a list of twenty-five statements that will help you achieve health and well-being.

Try not to overthink or edit your responses. Just explore what’s there in your consciousness. Allow yourself to be surprised. But keep in mind this new mindset of flexibility, fluidity and imperfection.

I’ve heard clients respond with the following:

  • “I’m going to do yoga around five days a week to stay connected to my body.”

  • “I’m going to eat less sugar once a day, because it makes me tired.”

  • “I’m going to try and sleep by 10:00 p.m. so I can get eight hours of rest every day.”

Do you see how these are statements of intention and can lead you to living life a more fluid and fulfilled life?

We all have our own versions.

When you look at yours, how do the statements feel to you?

I want to remind you that you are a complex and nuanced being.

You are constantly changing, evolving, and growing. Likewise, the context of your life is always in flux—your career, relationships, homes, and passions.

Do you recall what your intentions were fifteen years ago? Who were you at that point? What was different about your life and priorities then?

As you change, you will notice that your intentions and priorities change.

That’s why it’s important that you are living by your current priorities and not old, outdated ones that no longer serve you.

Like a gardener who is constantly trying out what she thinks will support her plants, always observing them and tracking their responses, you can garden yourself similarly.

What flowers are you cultivating today? If you find that you aren’t thriving in the way you want to be, you can try different strategies for nourishment and support.

Remember, a gardener knows that when she is tending her garden, there is no one solution that works every time. Weather patterns, soil quality, and seasons changing influence the way the earth holds or drains water.

Try experimenting with your physical and emotional this way, you can honor and celebrate your evolution, becoming adaptable and flexible to the changing seasons of your life and discover a new ability to dance with life in a creative and playful way.

When you change your mindset to a path of intention and leave any rigid expectations behind, you will find how incredibly effective you are at reaching your health and well-being goals.