The Freeing Nature of Letting Go of Expectations

“When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are, instead of what you think they should be.” – Mandy Hale

It has been a couple of weeks since I put out a full blog entry.  For those of you who know my personality, you will know how out of character that is for me.  When I first started An Undefined Life, I decided that I was going to put out a post every Friday.  Normally, when I make a statement to myself like that, come hell or high water, I will kill myself to make sure that happens.  For this reason, I am writing this post as a kind of celebration for myself.  The fact that it has been over two weeks since I last posted, marks overcoming a hurdle in my life and writing this blog for the past year has helped me leap over it.

I am enough no matter what.

People will still like me whether I post every Friday.  And even more so, it doesn’t matter if they do or not.   I cannot preach about self-care and not take the time I need for myself when I need it.  This journey through An Undefined Life has taught me many things, but this is probably the most important lesson of them all.  For this aha moment, I am so grateful to all of you for bearing witness to the journey I have gone through.

I, like most of you, live with a chronic illness.  There are times in life when I need to ease up and take a step back because health stuff needs to take precedent.  Sometimes my life needs to take precedent.  Whether it is family issues or a hiccup that needs to be dealt with.  It also doesn’t have to be something major.  This two week break wasn’t due to illness.  I went to visit some friends in Saskatchewan.  And that is OK.  The picture at the start of this entry is a place called Elbow Saskatchewan that was so beautiful.  I would never have seen it if I did not take that break.  Sometimes we just have to refill our cup.  I can get so hard on myself if I am not painting enough, sewing enough, tending to my garden enough.  Sometimes you just have to tell yourself, “It is ok to rest just because.”  I know how hard it is to do that.  To let go of that control and to feel that I am really not that important.  That sounds harsh but it is so true.  Whether I paint art for a week or whether I put out a blog entry every week, is really not going to change the world.  I had a similar crisis when I stopped working as an assistant principal.  All of the thoughts about “How will the school manage without me?”, “Who will this child go to if I am not there?”  So many worries and stresses I put on myself.  And you know what?  The school survived just fine.  The students found other people to talk to or gained more independence by solving their own problem.

I am really not that important.

That is a hard thing to understand for many.  Especially for me.  I just met up with a committee that is reconvening after the summer for the first time this calendar year yesterday.  When I went to it, I was beating myself up over the fact that I had not done certain things I was planning to do over the summer break.  What I found was that everyone showed up and no one judged me that I didn’t do certain things, and probably didn’t even notice.  We had a very productive meeting and are well on our way to planning a great year for our members.  The worry was for nothing and whether I did them or not did not matter to the outcome.

For me the phrase, “I am not that important” is quite freeing.  It allows me to realize that whether I do something today or tomorrow or even the week after, is really not that important.  It can allow me to remove some of the stress and pressure I put on myself to make sure everything is perfect.  It allows me to stop being so task focused and spend more time looking around to smell the roses and look at the scenery.  It allows me to be calmer and follow a slower pace.  It allows me to have realistic expectations of myself and step away from the drill sergeant inside of me.

That bully is still there throwing out “shoulds” and “have tos” at me, but I allowed it to be silenced or at least ignored for the last few weeks.  Thank you for allowing me to express my journey and come to this place.  I hope you can all allow yourselves to see boats in the harbour or smell the fresh smell of rain today because

we are all enough.

Much love, Christine

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