Monday Words: Appreciate Everything

Expect Nothing. Appreciate Everything. | The Fresh Exchange

horse image via: Bethany Legg

Early on in Mike and I’s relationship I would set expectations internally of what it meant to be in a relationship. I would never voice these expectations to him. Instead, I would let the disappointment of him not meeting my unrealistic unvoiced expectations. Till the accumulated disappointment would result in a fight, he was completely unprepared for. During one of those fights, I realized what I was doing and how unfair it was. I realized that it was incredibly hurtful to him that I wasn’t communicating my expectations whether realistic or unrealistic. I remember at that moment promising not only to him but to myself to be honest with about what I expected not only of him, but myself, life, and anyone else in my life. Expectations are just that expectant. When they don’t come to fruition, it leaves disappointment within its wake.

I have a tendency to be overly imaginative with how things should go. This plays well in my creative work, but it can result in feeling unappreciative of reality. Over the years, I have worked to expect far less. I thought in some way this was cheating myself. Shouldn’t I expect that I deserve or should have certain things in life? Yes, yes I should, but I had mixed up the difference between goals and expectations. The difference? Goals are things we work ourselves to make happen for ourselves. Expectations are things we plan to happen no matter how hard or how little we work to deserve them. Expectations are a form of entitlement when you break it down. That was a hard thing to come to terms with, but once I did I realized I wasn’t shorting myself any by choosing to expect far less out of life.

As a result, I have found so much more enjoyment in the smallest and most simple things in life. It allows me to no longer focus on what isn’t just landing right in front of me and instead appreciate all the small things along the way that take me closer to my dreams.

In our relationship, there is far more ease that in the last three years of owning a business has been vital to being healthy partners in and out of the studio. More than anything, I find so much more joy. It is easy to forget how in charge of our joy we are and the setting of expectations and feeling expectant of certain things in life can steal joy very quickly.

Without expectations filling my brain and emotions, I can notice the beauty of the day. Everything from the sweet morning snuggles with Mike to the warmth of a cup of coffee to the unexpected new opportunity in my inbox to even the preciousness of making dinner while watching the sunset in the neighborhood. Life is full of wonderful and beautiful things that can be clouded by disappointment so easily.

So, I challenge you today to name a few things that you have been expecting and letting them go and instead being open to appreciating things you may not have seen coming.

Happy Monday friends!

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  1. i’m reminded Of two quotes i recently learned and love….
    1) “it’s the little things, not expectatioN, that make life worth living.” – JJ Grey & Mofro / Sun is Shining Down
    2) “Expectation damns experience.” – some random IG user 🙂

  2. I cannot tell you how much I needed these words this morning. It was a rough Sunday evening realizing some things in life that aren’t the way I pictured them to be. It’s like you were reading my mind 🙂 waking up in the morning to a new day and looking at all I have makes it all better. And this post 😉

  3. I’ve had a rough several weeks with heavy loss in my family and have been struggling so much with the idea of “expecting” a particular kind of support from those around me and feeling hurt or forgotten when it doesn’t come. I can admit that it hurts, but it’s not fair at all to place those expectations on those I love when they in no way can read my mind! I appreciate your wisdom in identifying that it often comes down to a sense of entitlement that we can have even when we don’t intend it to be that way. Definitely trying to learn to savor small moments and seeking joy in them well each day. Thank you!

    1. Oh I am so sorry to hear about the loss in your family. I completely understand how hard it is because it feels you deserve that and shouldn’t people just know? I get it so much! Glad this quote came at the right time for you. I am sending you all the healing vibes.

  4. This post is perfect for this week… I’ve had to let go of some expectations lately, mostly because my Hubs has been working so hard, and we’ve been strapped. We have so many “important” things that need to be done, that it’s hard to judge which one is the most important. The ones that are “less important” have to take a back seat. And I’ve had to let them go, and wait patiently. This past week, a friend offered to finish one of the important things; getting our car running so I have a vehicle to drive. It’s been a blessing & an encouragement to see one of the things I let go of come back to me. #blessed

  5. This post speaks to me Right at the time it is needed. The conCept of letting go of expecTAtions (and appreciate the littLe things) Because they can be hurtful to others. Most impOrtantly, be honest. This is Beautifully written with great advice!