"Expectation Hangovers and How to Leverage Disappointment!"
Let’s face it. Life is full of surprises that aren’t always the kind we would wish for. What makes these unexpected, unwanted surprises even harder to accept is our attachment to the way we expected things to go. This particular brand of discomfort – the kind fueled by a life drunk with expectations and the resulting crash from failing to meet them – is profoundly sobering and uncomfortable. I call it an Expectation Hangover® which I define as: “The myriad of undesirable feelings or thoughts present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:
- A desired result does not occur
- Things don’t turn out like you though they would or wanted them to
- You are unable to meet your personal and/or professional expectations
- An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what we want or planned.”
The symptoms are similar, but far more miserable and lasting, to those caused by a hangover from alcohol: lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, confusion, denial, anger, poor work performance, diminished creativity, strained relationships, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, regret and a disconnection from the Uni-verse.
When our expectations are met, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Often risking little, we feel safe, in control and on-track. Achieving our goals is intoxicating and we are compelled forward towards them, sometimes disregarding our underlying motivations (which often come from our ego). We don’t like the unknown and we cling to our plans like a road map instead of allowing our inner knowing and the Uni-verse to lead us.
While striving for goals has value, holding expectations and attachment to the way life “should” go sets the stage for disappointment.
Disappointment. Uh oh. Most of don’t like it when the Uni-verse seems to miss the memo on how we think things should be. But the truth is the Uni-verse doesn’t miss anything. We are the ones who are missing out when we do not seek out the lessons from Expectation Hangovers.
When we keep fighting for what we think we want, never slowing down enough to actually learn the lesson that our Expectation Hangover is attempting to teach, it is impossible to clarify what we truly want andneed. We’re too drunk with expectations to notice when we are headed in the wrong direction.
The result? We continue to wake up with Expectation Hangovers: A career path that was planned and executed with precision becomes tainted with doubt and lackluster. A relationship with “the one” suddenly becomes the one thing we can’t get right. A salary or promotion that was counted on is not a reality. A home that was dreamt about still remains a fantasy. A pregnancy that is wished for isn’t happening. A parent who we could always lean on suddenly isn’t there anymore. A lover or spouse leaves. An illness interrupts our life. A job and the financial security that came with it is gone.
And then there are the Expectation Hangovers that are more spiritual in nature when we start to realize that although we have checked off everything on our life checklist, there is still lack of fulfillment. This is a pretty direct call from the Uni-verse that it’s time to wake up.
So what do you do? How do you treat Expectation Hangovers? It takes a lot more than two aspirin, some greasy food and staying inside with the lights low. There are no “quick fixes” for an Expectation Hangover, but because we don’t like not feeling good, we look for an external way to ease the discomfort. Rebound relationships, abrupt career changes or miscalculated risks, addictions (drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, work, shopping) and numbing oneself with prescription drugs are common. Slamming the door shuts out our ability to see any light at all. We lose faith and sink into the quick sand of victimhood and hopelessness.
But if we slam the door on an Expectation Hangover, we miss out on walking through a doorway of transformation!
Often life has to throw us a curveball (or several) so that we look in a different direction. The problem becomes when we desperately try to dodge the curveball, attempting to get out of feeling uncomfortable, and we miss the lessons that are available to us. If things are not turning out like you had planned or want them to, that is actually really good news. The Uni-verse has a BETTER idea in store. But first you have to let go of the plan you have been attached to so that your Higher Self and the Uni-verse can conspire for you.
Instead of thinking about how to treat an Expectation Hangover, consider how you can LEVERAGE it. Ask, “What am I learning?” rather than “Why is this happening?” Keep you mind out of judgment, regret and shoulda/coulda/woulda thinking. Remember, you did the best you could. You didn’t do anything wrong. Your worth and value are not attached to anything or anyone external. Security from any outside source is an illusion – your ultimate “safety” is in Love. And control is really over-rated…surrender is much sweeter.
Think about some of the most inspirational people you know. I guarantee you that part of what makes them so inspirational are the Expectation Hangovers they have been through. They leveraged their hangovers for their growth and learning. Instead of trying to snooze through the alarm of disappointment, they woke up!
Your Expectation Hangovers are gifts. Each one has been an opportunity to let go of something external that you have clung to for worth, safety or Love. I really get that disappointment is not at the top of your wish list. However, if you learn how to respond to Expectation Hangovers from the perspective of a student rather than a sufferer, I 100% guarantee you will walk through doorways of transformation that will lead you to more Love.
Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor dedicated to helping people answer the questions who am I, what do I want and how do I get it? You can check out her website here: http://www.christinehassler.com/.
Feelings of guilt and shame when you don’t live up to yours or others’ expectations.
Feelings of disappointment when you or other people don’t live up to your expectations.
Unknowingly, even though I am a very forward thinking, modern woman, if you will, I have seemingly still bought into the notion that I need a someone to take care of me financially.
It is a very romantic idea.
I can very well take care of myself. But somehow, the older I get, the more this idea seems to pervade my mind. Along with the ideas that I should be married by twenty-five at the latest and have at least one kid by twenty-eight.
I have also felt significant pressure to be skinny, to have a career, to be something, but I keep on falling short and then feel like I am letting everyone down.
But I can’t seem to figure anything out.
The more I try to find myself, the less I seem to know.
I so love helping others, but fail to help myself. I place others above myself.
Finding our way through life, some of us are brave enough to break the mold, forging our own paths, some of us just do what we think we are supposed to do.
We repeat the dysfunctional patterns of those close to us and that of society.
It seems as though I keep on falling into expectation, into expected roles I think I should be playing.
Fear of being my unique self is keeping me from breaking the mold.
I used to be so sure of who I was and where I was going.
But maybe this is a good thing.
Maybe now is the chance to be my true self and stop being what I think I should be.
Now is the time to shed light on my true inner self.
When I wrote The Story Of An Imperfect Woman, I ran it by my hubby to get his blessing since it referred, not only to my quirks and imperfections, but also to his. He gave me his blessing, but then he said, “I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to tell everyone all of these things.” I asked him why, and he said, “But what about your reputation?”
I had to laugh.
I mean this guy knows me and loves me, in spite of all these imperfections that are a big part of who I am. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. And finally, I don’t either.
I remember, back in my thirties, when I felt like I had to:
• Never make mistakes at my job (after all, someone could die)
• Be the perfect wife (or my husband might divorce me)
• Keep a tidy house (or the neighbors would think I was a slob)
• Look perfect (after all, those women’s magazines tell me it’s so important)
• Be perfect in bed (or he might trade me in for a younger model)
• Behave perfectly (or others might not respect me)
• Be the perfect mother (or I might screw up my daughter)
Of course, even if any one of these had been possible, these things were mutually exclusive. By definition, to even try to be perfect at one thing, I’d have to be imperfect at another. It’s enough to make even the most awesome woman bonkers!
I now consider myself a recovering perfectionist, and I no longer expect myself to be perfect. And yet, when my husband said, “But what about your reputation?” I felt the old familiar twinge. Oh yeah. What about my reputation? What will people think?
I thought about it, checked in with my Inner Pilot Light, listened to the still small voice within me, and started to laugh. I mean WHO CARES about my reputation? Who gives a flip what people think? So what if patients decide not to come to me as their doctor because I refuse to be some plastic version of myself who never makes mistakes? Why would I want those people as patients to begin with?
Who gives a flying freak if some society woman doesn’t let me in her country club? Who cares if the neighbors think I’m a slob or the people from my church discover that I took a sex workshop or that I’m twice divorced or that I have a bit of a pooch around my middle these days?
I mean seriously? What am I trying to prove?
I know my husband means well. He wants me to be successful in business, pleasure, friendships and life, and he supports me 1000%. But if someone like him can still question – after all I’ve done to put my truth out there on the internet – whether I’m crossing the line by revealing how imperfect I am, it only shows me how much further I have to go to help encourage you to learn to love yourself exactly as you are so you can free yourself from the burden of trying to be perfect.
Imperfection As A Screening Tool
The way I see it, sharing my imperfections with you is kind of the perfect screening tool. In other words, I’m not trying to please everyone. I only care about pleasing my people – and if you read this post and decide you don’t like me anymore, then you’re not part of my tribe. Good for both of us to know, right?
I met one girl with bright pink hair and hairy armpits and she said she used her hair as a screening tool. If people didn’t love her because she had pink hair and hairy armpits, they weren’t her people.
The more you pretend to be perfect, the harder it is to find your tribe. Why not make it easy for everyone? Why not let your freak flag fly and see what happens?
The Gift In Imperfection
I’ve learned an incredible lesson since I started Owning Pink over 2 years ago. It turns out that my imperfections are not only a good screening tool, they’re actually the keys to the kingdom. In my vulnerability, authenticity, fearlessness, and sometimes uncomfortable level of disclosure, lies the secret sauce. If I was writing this blog and showing you some vanilla version of myself, I suspect most of you wouldn’t be here. If I was telling you what I thought you wanted to hear instead of what was actually true, I doubt I’d have 5 million readers and over 100,000 Twitter followers.
People care what I have to say because when you’re brave enough to expose your imperfections, you give them courage to do the same. And when we can build community based on truth and authenticity, rather than masks, false perfection, and being phoney, we heal, connect, and thrive.
Are you brave enough to share your imperfections?
Tell us one imperfect thing about you in the comments here. (I promise, we’ll all love you anyway!)
Lissa Rankin, MD
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Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, professional artist, and health care revolutionary.
"Here's a Surefire Way to Get Your Life Back Into Alignment"
One pattern that I keep seeing over and over again is that many of us do not have the skill set to be able to feel our feelings without judging ourselves or making our feelings mean something utterly dramatic.
Feeling our feelings IS the portal out of suffering, out of being trapped, out of bondage, out of solitary confinement, out of an unrealized life. Feeling our feelings is what will make us human.
On The Path, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. This is not new information. But I feel like we tend to focus on the spiritual part and ignore the human part. And in doing so, we forget that the whole point of this is not to just make us more spiritual, but to make us more human, too.
Our feelings, when felt and inspected, are signposts that show us the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. When we feel our feelings instead of making other people wrong, becoming violent, blaming others or acting out, we take a GIANT step towards becoming both more spiritual and more human.
And what does becoming more spiritual mean, anyways? To me, being more spiritual simply means being more LOVING. The most spiritual people who have walked the Earth - from Jesus to Buddha to Mohammed to Moses - all have LOVE in common as their bottom line. Being spiritual means being LOVING. And not just Loving to people who are like you, but Loving to ALL living beings, ESPECIALLY those who are not like you, who irritate you and who think differently than you.
The Uni-verse is a diverse place and when we celebrate this diversity instead of condemning it - we become more spiritual, that is to say, more Loving. And we begin to hate others less when we hate ourselves less for feeling what we feel. The other way to say it is that we Love others MORE when we begin to Love ourselves and our feelings more.
Feeling your feelings and not judging yourself or others - this is a place of spiritual mastery. Can you do it? What feelings are you avoiding feeling? And why?
I Will Fall As Many Times as I Need to Bring Myself Peace
Have you ever been in a heated argument with someone, only to later realize that you were really arguing with yourself?
That all the “if’s, and’s, and but’s” you were spewing to this other person were just you continuing to cover yourself in impenetrable lies, because you are so afraid of doing something, anything, differently? To just let yourself be?
This has happened to me recently.
The one theme that continually comes up in arguments I usually have are, “I just want somebody to care. I feel like I’m not important. I feel like I am always giving. I feel like no one cares about my feelings.”
But in reality, I am really saying that, “I don’t care for myself. I feel like I’m not important. I feel like my feelings are not important.”
Continually denying will eventually lead to an inevitable explosion.
Or, just a life led forever with melancholy.
I truly believe that I should be happy, no matter the circumstance or situation.
I do truly believe this.
But it seems the more I understand the philosophical/spiritual concepts that I talk of, the more greater the despair I fall into.
It’s like I get so far, get scared, and retract even further into myself. Building a bigger wall than was there before.
I am not happy.
Living another’s life will not bring me happiness.
Stepping out on my own and just being myself will.
I guess I just need to stop being afraid and start practicing what I preach.
Like Rabindranath Tagore so beautifully stated, “You can’t cross the sea merely by staring at the water.”
So I won’t be afraid to sink as long as I get to the other side.
Being a vegetarian for the past seven or so years, reverting back and forth to veganism here and there, I always thought that as long as I didn’t eat things that were heavily processed, I was okay.
So, I ate a lot of dried fruit and fruit in general, and ate grains and veggies a little too.
I was basically a “fruititarian”, if you will.
Which isn’t healthy either.
After a series of setbacks, I took another leap into researching the nutritional components of food.
This is whereby it became my mission to make sweets healthier.
Now, I would like to iterate here that it is perfectly healthy to indulge!!!
Just not everyday.
It is important to not feel restricted in eating, because this will lead to overindulging.
What I have found is a whole new world of food.
It is amazing that ingredients like cashews can be whipped into cream, bananas can by themselves, be whipped into a base for ice cream, that there are healthier sugars which don’t spike your blood sugar (agave nectar, stevia, xylitol, date sugar, etc.), but rather break down slowly.
Now, I want to help others too!
After all of my years of studying and creating delicious dishes, I feel that I can now help others come into a healthier frame of mind regarding food.
And I can bet you it will be delicious journey, if you doth allow!!!!
So, are you ready to let me help guide you to optimal health?
These tainted lips You’ve tried to kissed Just cannot seem To resist The heavy glows Of the falling haze Which foreshadows Of Our final days I taste the bitter Sweet, divine Tragic spells Of our time Nauseous with The luscious hues Of complicated Never-ending Pursuits Always failing Perhaps mis-perceived Losing everything I have received And with this loss I still have found No better feelings No higher ground It seems I’m fated Doomed, you see To lay forever In misery