Expectations cause pain and disappointment…

I have a mind full of expectations and it hurts.

My mind tells me I should do better, know better, be better — I can’t live up to these insane expectations and I disappoint myself over and over again. These expectations do nothing but cause pain.

Here is my top ten list of current expectations and disappointments. Ugh.

Top ten ways expectations cause pain

10. My revenue hasn’t increased to the goal number I set at the beginning of the year.

9. I haven’t launched my Deep Dive retreat yet; it’s written, beta tested, I have rave reviews, and all I need is the sales page, which I cannot seem to put together mid-move. What is wrong with me?

8. I’m reacting to the move with sleeplessness, exasperation, and impatience. I should be handling this so much better. I should be rising above my sadness, regrets, and fear — I teach this stuff!

7. I’m not getting rid of enough stuff as I pack, and I’m certainly not packing fast enough.

6. I’m worried about living with someone after living alone for so long. Many habits will have to change, starting with how I get up in the morning: my tried and true method of setting the stove timer as an alarm which forces me out of bed just won’t work any more, will it?

5. I’m scattered; I’m starting to misplace stuff as I pack. I should be much better at keeping track of stuff even through this major life change.

4. I don’t know how to handle myself around being attracted to someone. I expect myself to be cool and sophisticated. I am so not!

3. Moving to a house with a stove that doesn’t have a power burner and a wok burner means I have moved down in the world.

2. Same stupid story as #3 about moving from these blond bamboo floors to shiny pergo floors.

1. I’m too fat! I certainly should have dropped the extra pounds that have attached themselves to my midsection by now (why yes, even in the middle of a move I always have time to worry about how I look).

Who says any of this is true?

What am I doing and believing when I have these expectations and judgements of myself?

My thoughts are inspired by my friend and mentor Molly Gordon. She talks about expectations and how they keep us from being present simply with what is. Her eloquence and grace about this as she traverses her journey of a cancer diagnosis and mastectomy is powerful. You can see a recent video where she talks about this right here.
Top ten ways to release expectations

The only thing I know how to do is to turn these expectations into loving and compassionate affirmative statements. Let’s start at #1 and work down the list.

1. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am healthy. I take excellent care of this body, the vehicle of my consciousness and my loving heart.

2. Pergo floors = easy upkeep, and I don’t have to deal with carpet.

3. I love to cook on gas stoves, and I can make this one work for me.

4. I know how to be transparent and tell the truth, which I am doing and which is being well received.

5. Moving is hard! I am showing up for change and uncertainty and while I may lose track of things as I go, I can keep going.

6. I know I will find a way to wake up without hitting a snooze alarm. I trust myself.

7. I am a well-trained declutterer, and I keep decluttering and releasing as I go, here and in my new home.

8. I am gentle with myself, I take care of myself. I maintain balance and restorative self-loving thoughts and activities. I sleep well.

9. My clients are ready and waiting for me, and the work of the sales page proceeds with ease.

10. I am fed, housed, and my needs are met. I am well compensated for my work, and I thrive.

Can you relate? Did I miss anything?

Jump into the comments; let’s talk!

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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  1. I can DEFINITELY relate! I am in the process of moving as well (also to live with someone!) My move is less than 10 days away & I haven’t finished purging & packing either. This will be my 16th move since 1989…it seems impossible, but it’s true..and I consider myself an expert packer. I love how you turned each expectation around into a positive affirmation! Great job.

    • Stacy, thanks so much for your comment today; it means the world to me.

      Best of luck with your move. Stay in touch and let me know how you go.


    • Heather, wow, thanks. And yes, transformational. For someone like me, needing to transform my go-to habitual icky responses is a never-ending practice. And with this move, it’s all so magnified!

      So grateful for you!

  2. Sue, sending you love and light. Moving is stressful and as with any stress it brings out our inner most vulnerabilities and fear. Although I haven’t moved my housing in awhile, I left my job to work on my own over a year ago and I have experienced many limiting expectations. I, like you, work to have awareness and turn things around with my thinking when I can. I love that part of your article when you show the reader how you turned those expectations into intentions/affirmations. Lisa xx

    • Lisa, thanks. I almost never use the “top-ten” structure, but it was really revealing for me to go down the list and then back up again in a positive way.

      Blessed be.

  3. Sending you huge, ginormous hugs Sue! I love how you turned around all the icky self-talk and reframed it AND shared your raw vulnerability with the rest of us. We learn from each other and you teach like a boss 🙂


    • Ginormous hugs right back at’cha, Peggy.

      And thanks for the awesome kind words. As in “awwww….” ?

      Love and light,

  4. Thank you so much! I really needed to read this. I’m so happy I landed on your page. Look forward to your newsletters.

    • Mary, welcome, I’m so happy we’ve connected.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for subscribing; let me know if you have any questions as you go.


  5. I love your list of affirmative statements 🙂

    I believe managing expectations is a huge life/soul lesson I am too learning in this life. It comes up time and time again.

    • Anna, yup. A huge life and soul lesson and I am so happy to be learning it! Worth the pain and struggle.


  6. I can SO relate to the moving issues Sue! The biggest move of my life (so far) was from California to Maui and beyond the obvious issues of dealing with belongings, jobs, shipping the car, and hysterical relatives, nothing could have prepared us for the culture shock because it was (and still is) a whole different ballgame from coming on vacation. It’s so MUCH better these days, but when we moved here a couple of decades ago the locals were not at all happy about the influx of mainlanders and the first year was pretty brutal.

  7. Sue, I don’t know how anyone does anything but move. I can’t believe you are putting pressure on yourself to do all this and I feel sad to know you’re struggling in this way. I’m taking a moment to say hello to the expectations, the kind-of-criticizing voices, and acknowledging that they want what’s good for you, even though they say it in nasty ways. I really love that you have connected with their good intentions by converting the expectations into self-loving affirmations. Keep at it!

    • Shulamit, well it’s true. Sometimes I do nothing but struggle, until I can find a way out and a way back in to my heart. The good news is I can. Sometimes it takes lots of help and then lots of extra help. But as you can see, converting the expectations to affirmations can lead to a place of grace and ease.

      Or maybe just less struggle, she said, surrounded by 100 boxes waiting to be taped together and filled.


  8. I am so happy to read you have turned those negative statements into positive affirmations- You will survive , I am seeing you as going on a new adventure that is bringing you more love
    Big hugs and love Suzie xx

    • Suzie, I am trying. Some moments go better than others. I am tender and raw as I move through this change, but I’m moving through, with moments of joy and peace.

      Love and gratitude,

  9. Really liked how you named your specific expectations/disappointments, Sue–and then addressed each in turn. I find the practice of getting really specific–and naming–can be a powerful one…making things less overwhelming, vague, hidden, scary…and somehow, just through the witnessing and naming, causing things to shift.

    • Hey Dana, thanks so much. I like the way you see this, it’s a process, and I’m learning as I go. Makes the time I’m in the misery soup less each go-round. Phew.

      Blessed be.

  10. Sue, what a relief to read the second list! I could feel myself relaxing. Moving is stressful. It always brings up lots for me, but it shakes a lot of old habits free as well, and makes space for surprises. I wish you well with it, and congratulations for opening to adventure!

    • Juliet, relief — exactly. My whole body and psyche opened up when I began to affirm.

      Making space for suprises! Thanks, I am and will continue.


  11. As I read your post, I could relate in so many ways. I moved back to Jamaica in March of this year after living in the United States for over 25 years. I wasted a year being angry,resentful, fearful, etc. I say wasted because I knew I was going to do what I needed to do and return anyway, but believe me, I tried to change my husband’s mind.

    There will always be some degree of fear in the unknown and you’re going through that now, but in addition to turning the negative into positive statements, I hope you’ll be able to translate them into action. Know that sometimes the situation is usually not as bad as we imagined it. Hoping your move goes well and everything falls into place for you. Your positive attitude will be a huge plus! 🙂

    • Yvonne, welcome, and thanks for your comment.

      I take your suggestion right into my open heart.

      Love and gratitude,

  12. Hi, I love the positive approach to the not so good expectations we usually have. Thanks for sharing a very interesting post. Will definitely share this with my friends. Great Read.

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