Hot Mess Handbook: The great expectation

by LK Elliott

Did anyone notice in last week’s Hot Mess Handbook that the words “right” and “wrong” were in quotations? If you did notice, do you know why?
Every day humans tend to classify their life experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, high or low. There are two issues with viewing life in this way: First we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and second we are not accepting life as it comes to us.
Disappointment is simply a result of our expectations not being met; nothing more and nothing less. So walking around with expectations of what life “should” be like is setting ourselves up for a lot of disappointment. Having no expectations of life would lead to virtually no disappointment in your life. Some of you may be thinking “that sounds like you are setting your standards pretty low”, but allow me to explain. Letting go of expectations does not mean not having ambition, goals or dreams; it simply means that you recognize that while you are in control of your actions, you are not in control of the outcome of those actions. You must find acceptance in the current moment, regardless of what that situation is. “Act without expectation” as Lao Tzu instructs, and know that if you are putting in the efforts to make each day a success, eventually whatever you are striving for will come to you. It might not come at the time in which you planned, but it will come. Be aware that your deadline is an expectation.
Reflect back to a birthday when you wanted something very specific, and possibly expected it. If you didn’t get the gift that you were expecting you would probably be disappointed in whatever you were given, regardless of how magnificent it was. This is a perfect analogy of how life works: every day you are given wonderful gifts in the form of connections, lessons and situations but if you already have an end result expected you are going to miss the splendour of the current moment. That unexpected visitor that you pushed aside may have been the key to your wildest dreams coming true, but you were too focused on the work you expected would get you the results.
The message this week is to embrace all of life’s experiences and try to get away from labelling situations as good or bad. Everything that happens to you in a day is meant to happen just as it is, or else it wouldn’t have happened. Accepting the ups and downs in life is critical not only to enjoy life, but to take advantage of every situation that presents itself to you. After all presents are gifts; are they not?
Try to identify one situation this upcoming week that disappoints or frustrates you and find one positive from that moment. Try and think how you could take that unexpected obstacle and use it to your benefit. Be resourceful and have faith that the universe always has a better plan for you, than you could ever make for yourself.

If you would like to know more about how to beat stress and feel your best, check out Confessions of an Ex Hot Mess:
Instagram: @lk.elliott
Twitter: @lkelliott_