Expectations Are Your Enemy And Not Your Friend

Picnic in the kitchenJust over a week ago we were planning a family day trip to the countryside for the first time since the baby was born. We were very excited about the trip and despite the rain got up early to make our picnic. As we were about to leave the baby woke up for another feed, the weather took a turn for the worse and when my husband checked the traffic report it was dire. Despite our desperation to go we realised it wasn’t going to be a good idea.

We were both very disappointed and half-heartedly scrabbled around on the internet for an alternative plan, but none really appealed to us. We started to feel very downhearted and fed up. In the past this would have led my husband and I on a downward spiral resulting at us snapping at each other all day. But that day we decided not to let it get the better of us.

In the spirit of having our day trip my husband set up the picnic on the kitchen floor and insisted on having the door open to make it more real even though I was  freezing! He kept saying ‘Well at least we are not at the Glastonbury Festival in the mud’ – which I very much appreciated. – Since the year we went it was mudtastic and hence bickertastic (but that’s another story).

I in the meantime managed to arrange for us to go to friends nearby and we ended up having a lovely afternoon. We even had a glass of wine which may not be much to you but to us felt very grown up and indulgent! I’m not saying we didn’t have a few thoughts about still feeling we wanted to escape but we managed to put these aside for the most part and have a good time. We even joked about how we had travelled to another London borough even though it was only a 5 minute drive away.

When I reflect on this experience it wasn’t the fact that we weren’t able to go on our planned day trip that was the problem it was our expectations about the day that caused us to have to unhappy thoughts. In the past these could have led us to having disgruntled thoughts about our lives and worse! -Instead of appreciating what we have.

Because we both deeply know about the power of thought we just didn’t want to go there so were able to quickly jump out of our upset. It made me think about all the other times in our lives where we get excited and build things up, whether they be holidays, day trips or even other people -expecting them to behave in certain ways, only for the reality to fall short of our expectations. How much do these failed expectations affect us in our lives and how much do we really take responsibility for the fact that they are our thoughts and expectations and therefore problems of our own making and not reality?

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