Are you the type of person who always expects the worst? When good things happen, do you wait for the other shoe to drop, thinking to yourself, “I don’t deserve this. This won’t last. I’d better not get too happy.”
But lately I’ve been presented with several opportunities to check my expectations, and it’s made me realize that I often make things out to be worse in my mind than they end up being in real life. Here are a couple of examples:
My husband and I booked an extended stay at a remote cabin that doesn’t have internet access. I plan to use my time there to recharge, but my husband runs his own business and needs the internet to do his job. So I started looking into mobile internet options, like a hub that connects to the cellular network to give us wireless internet for our laptops. I realized that I needed to call my cellular company to discuss a few of the details. And I was dreading making the call. Anyone who has ever called a cellular company knows how it goes. It takes forever to speak to a real person, who usually ends up hanging up on you because they don’t know how to help.
So I put it off.
I kept writing “call cell company” in my day-planner, and then making up excuses to not do it. Finally, one day, I bit the bullet and called. To my surprise, a real person picked up. She was extremely helpful, answered all of my complicated questions, and gave me her direct line, so that I can call her back when I’m ready to purchase the equipment.
Here’s another example. In a few months I’m going to import my cat from the U.S. to Canada, and then possibly export her to the European Union. There are all sorts of forms, fees, and tasks involved in this process. Again, I had a lot of complex questions and I needed to speak with someone at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. And again, I procrastinated. I made up all sorts of stories about how there was no way I would get through to a real person who could help me. I wasted time scouring the internet trying to find the answers to my questions instead of just picking up the phone.
And guess what? When I called, I got a real person who put me in touch with another real person who was extremely helpful and gave me the direct email address of a veterinarian who answered all of my questions.
Final example. I’m a Canadian, currently living and working in the U.S., which means that I have to file American taxes. Taxes are painful in general, but trying to file taxes in a country that you’re unfamiliar with is even worse. I paid an accountant to help me with the process, however after I’d mailed my forms to the IRS I realized that the accountant had asked me to fill out the wrong forms. When I emailed him about it, he was terse and didn’t give a very good explanation as to how we should proceed. Instead, he asked me to come in to pick up the revised paperwork.
Before dropping by his office, all sorts of stories were running through my head about how incompetent he was, how this was a waste of my time, and how he was probably going to mess up again the second time around. Instead, when I arrived, he explained exactly what had happened and took me through the revised forms until I was confident that they were filled out properly. I was in and out in fifteen minutes.
All of these situations happened within a one week time-span. At the end of the week, I was in awe at how my expectations had driven me into such a downward spiral of negativity. In my mind, I had decided that the universe was an unfriendly, annoying place where everything was a struggle.
Instead, the universe opened her arms and did her best to show me that life doesn’t always have to be hard.
Things can be easy. I don’t need to fight and struggle and push my way through everything.
Often, our expectations jade us into believing that everything is going to go wrong. That we don’t deserve happiness. That the world is a difficult and dangerous place.
I encourage you to change this mindset. A Course in Miracles teaches that:
Every time we shift our perspective from fear to love, we experience a miracle.
@BethanyButzer (Click to Tweet!)
If I’d approached this week from the perspective of love, I would have had a vastly different experience. Same circumstances. Different approach.
The next few months are going to involve a lot of change and uncertainty for me, which is why I’m thanking Cheryl Richardson and Marie Forleo for these two mantras: “Everything is figure-outable” (via Marie) and “Things are always working out for me” (via Cheryl).
How might you shift your perspective today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
Image courtesy of Jason Ortega.