Saturday, 19 April 2014

How to let go of any expectations you may have

As part of the centering work I offer at the beginning of a yoga class, I’ll often say to the students to “let go of any expectations you have may have.”

What I mean when I say this is to let go of any expectations they have for themselves and their body, and of any expectations they may have for others in the room.

But I believe that letting go of expectations is good to practice on and off the mat and I’m constantly reminded of this every day - sometimes, several times a day. But it doesn’t come easy. I’ve spent many sleepless nights, tossing and turning because I can’t shut my mind off. It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that letting go became easier for me, and the more I practice, the more relaxed I am able to live my life.

Here are some things I do to help let go of any expectations:

Learn to go with the flow

This is harder to do then it sounds. I used to get really stressed out when I was running late because my doctor was behind, or plans got cancelled on me last minute and other things in my life got delayed because of it. But when this happens, I now try to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. I've realized that days hardly go the way I plan anyway, so what’s the point of making plans set in stone? There are a lot of people living in this world trying to get things done, too. Shit happens. Maybe my lunch meeting goes longer than scheduled and I can’t do my errands like I had planned – that’s ok. I don’t know when I’ll get them done, but I will when I can. When you start to practice this 'go with the flow' on small, meanial things, it's easier to apply to the big scary things in life - like having or not having a baby.

Stop being so hard on yourself

Life is not in your control. You are one person trying to do your best while cramming a million other things into it. Maybe you have children and on top of trying to care for them and being the best mother that you can, you forget a friend’s birthday. IT’S OK. Just be honest and do your best. Stop the negative thoughts, change your frame of mind, and be your own best friend.

Stop being so hard on other people

So your friend forgot your birthday. Is it that big of deal? I’m sure there are a lot of other people who love you and remembered it, so be grateful for that and know that the (unnecessary) guilt your friend is probably carrying should be enough weight on their shoulders without you adding to it. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Just remember that.

What white picket fence?

There is no such thing. As much as it may look like someone else’s lives are perfect, they aren’t. Get over the superficial things in life and stop caring what other people think of you. You are only expected to be you, and to be honest. You don’t have to impress people, and they don’t have to impress you. We’re all in this together. Those white picket fences that you see in movies don’t exist. Be realistic and true to you.

You will be disappointed sometimes, and that’s ok.

Sometimes, people just suck. And I guarantee that you are going to hurt someone’s feelings at some point too. Maybe not on purpose, but it will happen. And you need to be ok with that. Feel your feelings, and move then on from them. Remember that know one or nothing in life this owes you ANYTHING. All the love and support you get are just a bonus.

Start living in the present moment

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Nothing. It's not in our hands, we can't control other people, and we don't know what the future holds. All we have is right now. Today. This minute. Slow down. Take a deep breath, and appreciate the day you are given. There is always something to be thankful for.