Expectations is first in my monthly series of observations surrounding thought forms, words and beliefs that influence the way I am as a parent and partner to my children and husband. In my last post I dove into a realization I had recently: if I truly was to Follow the Joy I need to unpack and discover where certain beliefs and thoughts really come from. If they don’t serve a joyful life then I need to let them go and replace them with something that does.
I’m going to spend the next year focusing monthly on different areas I find keep coming up despite having thought them through before, believing I had moved past them already.
I know growing and evolving as a spiritual being will continue until I take my final breath (perhaps beyond). I do not think after this year of looking deeply within myself all my personal discovery will be done with. I have always been a person who has looked very deeply within unraveling how and why I think and behave the way I do, this is not foreign to me. I was an actor before I had children… my whole focus was behavior, motivation, emotions, relationship. These discoveries have always been what has driven me. Though with children, the most profound of discoveries need to be uncovered and shifted or else generational patterns prevail without conscious thought and to me, that is not a life well explored or well loved.
There are things that continue to come up in my most difficult moments that affect the way I am with my kids. It’s almost as though I have figured certain things out in theory but in my most tired or rushed or hungry moments theory goes out the window and habit kicks in.
These months are to discover these habits, unpack them, unravel them and release them.
For the month of October I will be focusing on Expectation. This is a fascinating one. It spans my expectation of what I think life *should* look like ~ based on how I grew up, based on what societal and cultural ideas of what a life *should* look like are. Expectations can and do on occasion subconsciously impact my relationship with my children. When I do something for them, bring them something, maybe see bedtime going a certain way. It influences how I view our home, our daily life rhythm. It covers how I see us leaving the house, having to leave by a certain time. It exists when I ask my daughter something like “do you want to help me do X”. In theory I know she doesn’t need to help me, she won’t always want to and that is OK. But despite knowing this, in my hardest moments I can revert back to expecting her help (regardless of what she is already doing in that moment) and that leads me down a path of frustration and resentment and I don’t want to live there.
So for the next month I will rise each morning with the reminder in mind that today I will look out for these moments where expectation lives and clouds my way of being with my family. I will look deep into where these expectations come from, notice if they are based on how I was raised, what was said to me as a child, perhaps a habit that took shape in school as a way to protect myself from feeling vulnerable, maybe expectations I myself didn’t meet as a child and feel subconsciously ashamed about.
I will do this lightly and gently. I will do this with compassion in heart ~ no judgement. I do not want my focus to be so far inward and so overly critical that I forget to focus on my children too. I will keep an eye on myself; over the month noting what I have discovered, sharing with you here at the end of October what I let go of and what I replaced it with.
*Should* ~ I wanted to note this word. Within should lives expectations. Many years ago I stopped using should as much as I could. It is a heavy word that doesn’t leave much room for freedom of choice or thinking beyond expectation (and often judgement). But here I am with a left over should or two that pop up periodically, which now need addressing. And I love that. It brings me closer and more warmly to becoming the Mother and partner I love being.
Where do you find expectation lives in your world? Does it cloud or influence your relationship with your children or partner? Do you recognize when you are subconsciously expecting something ~ an action, a response, a thank you, a situation, an opportunity? Maybe expecting a morning to move a certain way, or a child’s ability to handle a situation? I’d love to hear about your journey as well.
Thank you for being here and being a part of Follow the Joy. ❤
2 responses to “Month One ~ Expectations.”
Expectations are definitely one of the biggest causes of blow ups and stress Imo. Whether that’s between spouses, friends, or the parent/child relationship.
They can be super hard to let go of, and it can be hard to let go of the guilt of not meeting other people’s expectations too!
That’s probably where I struggle most, I take steps to better my family in this regard.. Then I find myself still battling outsiders expectations (extended family for example)… That’s tough.
I struggle to find that balance, because (whether I like it or not) there are responsibilities and expectations that go along with work, and functioning in society, that clash with what a harmonious home life looks like for us. *sigh*
That is part of it, balancing outside responsibilities and having them interweave with the harmony you have in your home. When I heard Sandra Dodd reference the unschooling home as a “nest” it hit me. If we can nurture a nest where all feel safe, all feel loved unconditionally, all are listened to and respected ~ that’s huge.