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Expectations are just advance resentments.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I read that somewhere, recently, in some unlikely place and it has stuck with me. I constantly catch myself having expectations, and, of course, often they are not met, either by me or by someone else. This often leads to resentments, which are expensive emotional cargo. I have let go of some old resentments recently, which is very liberating. I don't need to add new ones in their place. I was working out this morning and it occurred to me that I need to shed my expectations about exercising and eating properly, as well. I have long said I exercise for strength because, if I exercised for appearance, I would have given up long ago. Goals are a form of expectation, which is why I focus more on commitment than goals. For example, I am committed to exercising nearly every day of my life which means I feel good about honoring that commitment to myself each time I go for a walk or run or hike or to they gym. If my goal was "exercise 5 days per week to shed x amount of pounds and x amount of inches", I would be disappointed. The results are, in a way, none of my business. The action is very much my business and my responsibility. Bodies are designed to move, generally speaking. As long as I can move, I will move. I read another bit of advice, from an unlikely source. An actor who had gotten in shape for a movie, talked about the process of getting fitter and stronger. He said "you basically just have to kick your own @$$ every day, for an hour". I like the simplicity of that advice. Of course, that will look different to different people. For one person, that might mean getting up off the couch and walking around the block and getting chores done. For another person, that might mean running hills. For me, it is doing more than I feel like, pushing harder than I initially want to, doing more than I think I can - working up a sweat and getting my heart pumping - in the gym, on the trail, wherever. Nobody ever got stronger by being comfortable, whether that be spiritually, mentally, or physically. So, my job is to keep expectations in check. Don't get me wrong, I still have standards and I expect myself, and others, to honor commitments but I don't do myself or anyone else any favors by piling up expectations left and right. It is hard to step back and let life unfold when one's instinct is to try and control and direct. It is a lesson I learn over and over and over again.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Expectations ARE premeditated resentments, and it's wonderful to hear someone say it. Kinda funny how our expectations for ourselves tend to be higher than the expectations we have for others, too. ;)

    1771 days ago
    thank you. i really need to remember that.
    1784 days ago
    Wow I love it. I never thought of it that way but it's true. You've given me something to thing about today, thank you.
    1818 days ago
    Super blog, Cannie - and thanks for stopping by my blog to encourage!
    "The results are, in a way, none of my business. The action is very much my business and my responsibility."
    How true. Keep on acting and the results will follow and they will be good, even if not always exactly what we expect...
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1818 days ago
    Hmmm...interesting. I like the approach. I get so fixated on where I want to be I forget about just taking care of business each day.
    1820 days ago
    1824 days ago
    Awesome!! Great advice - I needed to read this!! Thank you!
    1825 days ago
    Great usual! You nailed it....Do The Work.

    There are results going on inside our bodies that we can't even see!!!! And my internal health is vastly more important than my dress size. Of course, things can still go wrong internally, but at least I made the effort. I think that HAS to help our outcome.

    1826 days ago
    Great blog. I really needed to read your message this morning.
    emoticon Hattie
    1826 days ago
    Thank you for another wonderful blog Cannie. LOVE it!
    1826 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Commitment, commitment, commitment. I find that very intimidating, but that's the way it has to be -- practice the process and the results will come. But Practice the Process is the important part. Thank you, though you may have to remind me many more times ..
    1827 days ago
    "Nobody ever got stronger by being comfortable." That is a great line. So true.

    Nope, I don't set ridiculous goals either. I was reading a blog the other day and someone had posted pics of themselves and I thought, "I will never look like that!" And being married and almost 30, I'm totally ok with that. Might never have the shape I'd like, but I will keep working. I just want to feel as good as I did 15 pounds ago! :)
    1828 days ago
    Although I agree with the main idea of your article, about expectations and their "evil" hidden nature, the line I'm keeping from your blog is this: " Nobody ever got stronger by being comfortable, whether that be spiritually, mentally, or physically." - Even emotionally, if I may add. - That is a very big and important truth! Strength can only be acquired outside of our comfort zone, and the further we step away from it, the stronger we can become.
    Thank you for another great blog, Carole! This one can definitely be of help to many people.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1828 days ago
    I love this blog!! emoticon
    1828 days ago
    This is another amazing blog from our very wise friend. I agree with the others, I think there are a lot of us who are thanking you for sharing that we just aren't all able or even willing to use goals in a healthy way just yet or maybe ever. I have had fitness minute goals these last two months and to tell you the truth, my joy of exercise has vanished and I'm tired. Going back to the wisdom of our inner self, which by the way, is what most of us here are trying to re-cultivate anyway more than a perfect shape, gets sidelined sometimes by too many goals. As I get older, I think differently now and it's about quality. Quality food in moderate amounts, quality sleep, quality relationships etc..... Sometimes when we have too many or too big of goals, we sacrifice the quality of what we're doing in order to do it all. That's where I was headed. I'm not sure how you always seem to match the timing of my moods (cause apparently is's all about me! lol) but I am always amazed and grateful!!
    1829 days ago
    I think there are a lot of people on Spark who are thanking you right now. Not everyone can set goals and keep on going til they meet them. Life is complicated. Not everyone's body and brain chemistry is the same. Some people are more process-oriented than goal-oriented. People have different standards, different values, and different levels of commitment. Feeling inadequate or feeling like a failure shouldn't be part of a Spark journey. That's why I'm Sparking less, but I am grateful every day for having committed to Pilates and gotten stronger and improved my balance. You are a strong and wonderful woman exactly the way you are!!!!!!
    1829 days ago
    Very wise words! I decided this week that while I was still going to stay committed to a spark team, I was going to bow out of the weekly weigh ins, since it was needling away at me, and giving me a super dissappointed feeling in myself when those weekly weight loss goals were not being met. That in itself seemed to side track my efforts to commit to a healthy lifestyle.

    Great blog. It speaks the truth!
    1829 days ago
    Strong and healthy is a great goal to have. Anything after that is gravy as they say. emoticon
    1829 days ago
    Thanks, that's a very interesting take on things. I should learn to do just the same, and will start as of today! (or at least try to...)
    1829 days ago
    As always, great blog! emoticon
    1829 days ago
    You are just so smart. I like what you said about the action being your business not necessarily the result. That gives me a lot to think about.

    I'm leaving to go camping and riding in Nevada for a few days so I will see you when I get back....hugs and say hi to P!
    1829 days ago
    Awesome blog - really well put emoticon
    1829 days ago
    Very good way to put it! I think you definitely hit the nail on the head.
    1829 days ago
    This is one of those "lightbulb" moments. You put that so well, it stares at you from the page. Our results are a bonus, not a guaranteed outcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it..
    1829 days ago
    What a wise blog. No way that piling up resentment (from excess expectation) ever did anyone any good!!
    1829 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Exactly what I would "expect" from you! You have, once again, met my expectations!
    1829 days ago
    I'm with you. Regardless of whether I can eat the way I want, my daily exercise is non-negotiable.
    1829 days ago
    emoticon blog!!! Your words are so very true!!!! emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
    This is so on time for how I am feeling.
    I exercise everyday. Not because it's going to make me a firm, young hottie . It's doing something that I know is good for my well being. My physical and mental being. Even on days when it's impossible to go the long distance or , swim laps, there is always something I can do. That commintment to exercise daily, try to stay in shape after letting myself go is my promise to myself. It's not the intensity that matters, it's just not putting it off and saying I'll form do it tomorrow. . I always feel better afterwards, even if some days more tired.
    I feel once I start putting off that daily exercise, what else will I put off? How soon will I just be laying around, snacking and letting myself go. Maybe not, but I'm not going to see if that would happen.
    I don't have expectations, I used to. Now i just take each day as it comes, make the best of it.
    When I had expectations, there were hard to fill. When I see results now I am sometimes surprised, happy. No goals, no expectations, just doing the best I can on a daily basis. I think that's called living a normal life.
    Hugs Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
    What wise words, Cannie! You know, I never thought about it the way you've presented it for sure, but you make a lot of sense! It IS more important to focus on the commitment than the goals! Eventually with commitment positive things DO happen. Putting a time line on accomplishing it can be very de-motivating if we miss the mark.

    That's what makes this journey so much more complex than it seems. We tweak things as we go along to fit our needs. And our "tweaks" may suit us but not work for someone else. so having pat expectations "If I do A, then B will happen in this timeframe" just don't work!

    HUGS and peace
    1829 days ago
  • DEE0973
    So, so very timely. I have yet to reach one of my weightloss goals in the last year. The only consistency is exercise and meals prepared at home 90% of the time. Thanks for this information and I will apply to my journey as neede.

    I've missed you
    1829 days ago
    Thanks for your blog. I feel the same way at times. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Good Luck in your journey!
    1829 days ago
    Well said. I recently arrived at about the same spot, knowing that x lbs and x months are not my friends. In the past, setting those kinds of goals kept me fat because my expectations were never very realistic.

    Strange how we learn (or don't) lessons and either apply them or unlearn them.

    1829 days ago
    So true - by managing your own expectations, you achieve so much more than mere weight/ inch loss and this was a perspective I have never explored before. Thanks for sharing it.

    emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
    A few months into my Spark Journey, I made this same discovery. I call it rewarding effort, not results. Just as you say, I can control my effort; I can't control the results.

    Learning to step back, and not to try to control and direct, is probably going to take me the rest of my life...but I need to keep trying. Thanks for the reminder!

    1829 days ago
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