The Power of Expectation -- Athlete Blog Post
The Power of Expectation
There's an old Shakespearean adage that says “expectation is the root of all heartache”, and through the course of my life I have found that to be astonishingly - and sometimes unfortunately - true.
Of course you can delve into life scenarios from so many angles with that, but for the purposes of this brain dump, I am going to limit it to digging through some of the reasons why my expectations for myself were both the worst and the best things I could have ever put together.
Generally people are always striving for and looking for that one overarching goal/purpose/passion in life, but what they fail to realize is without establishing a true sense of self and a true WHY you are merely operating on ideas of what you expect your life to be like at any given moment.
These expectations are usually adopted through out the course of your life through many different seasons and they can be so powerful that without proper introspection, can control your life without you even realizing it.
Social norms, neural imitation patterns, and parental upbringing are the main shapers of what we assume life to be like.
I know this was the case for me.
Like most, I have made life decisions I am not overly proud of and have been knocked on my ass countless time. I was left begging myself with the question of “Why me, what did I do to deserve this?”... And one day my best friend said “well, Candy, what did you expect?”... Thats where the problem was.
I EXPECTED (also read as assumed) my life to go a certain way based mainly on things I had been told about myself growing up.
“You are smart, you are athletic, you did not come from a well off family, you will never be able to afford college, you will never make it on your own, you will be just like them.” The list goes on.
It wasn't until October 2016 that it finally clicked.
Kinda like one of those epiphany moments you see in the movies.
Over time, I had built up all of these expectations for myself over the years that had become more of a hinderance than anything I used to help propel me to do anything great. But for what purpose?
That day I realized the things I told myself and that inner dialogue I had with myself every day was what was truly running my life. “You need to work harder, you need to be a better mom, you don't have enough, YOU AREN’T ENOUGH.” I had single handedly self-talked my way into two very toxic relationships because I expected to end up like my mom.
I allowed myself to become a fully functioning alcoholic because I expected to be unable to kick the habit just like my dad.
I let one of the biggest parts of me disappear, just to fade away into a mediocre life paying bills and living just to die, because what else can you expect from someone who came from where I did?
Emily probably does not even remember asking me that question that day ...
But it really was the turning point of my life.
It also coincided with the time I took the first step to try to find myself again.
I started CrossFit. I picked the hardest, most competitive thing I could think of to get into at my age and as a new mom to my third child.
I knew that if there was any chance of me pulling myself out of this downward spiral I was on I had to find that side of me that I let fade away all those years before.
So what was I doing when I was at my happiest?
I was always a competitive athlete. I am the best version of myself when completely engrossed and obsessed with a purpose. I walked into that gym expecting to never go back. I walked out a completely different person.
If even for one hour, inside those walls nothing else mattered. I could express myself in a way I had been unable to for so many years.
I was happy.
I made myself a promise that I would actively work AGAINST every negative expectation I or anyone else ever made for me from that day on.
I would spend every day striving for better. At this point you’re probably thinking I am going to tell you that you should never set expectations about anything.
On the contrary, it is the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
The magic lies in what you do with those expectations.
Do you take them impulsively as absolutes?
Or do you step back, assess, and evaluate whether this serves you in where you want to go in life?
When I changed the way I saw expectations my world drastically changed.
There became 3 simple rules I followed (and still do) when I found myself having those feelings and thoughts cross my mind:
1. Why? -- this is always the hardest to TRUTHFULLY answer.
2. Does this expectation serve you in what you want to accomplish in your life?
3. Is this expectation extrinsic or intrinsically born?
No matter the scale, each expectation or limit you come across can be broken down to a more manageable, less daunting obstacle by honestly addressing each of those questions.
Find what you love and let it kill you.