Tag Archives: expectations


happiness-826932_960_720Expectations: we all have them. Maybe we wake up and think it will be a good day. You were on time all morning, and just about to get to work when an obstacle arises, causing you to be late, thus ruining your momentum, perhaps even your day. We have all heard the sayings, “expect the unexpected!” and “it will happen when you least expect it!” Do we ever stop to think about what our expectations are? We certainly do.

In fact, we might do it too much. We expect to have a fun time at our friend’s party, or a mediocre time during family holidays. Sometimes, we are so focused on what we expect to happen that we miss out entirely on the events. Perhaps because we expected not to have fun, and sat in a corner sulking, trying to prove our own point. Maybe we had expectations and then were disappointed with the result because they did not fit our vision. When we put our hopes into expectations, we will usually be disappointed, because expectations are a wish, not a guarantee. The only guarantee that is true with expectations is that you cannot predict what will happen. Continue reading

Stop Being Afraid of Change and Go with the Flow

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 12.38.35 PMWhy is it that change gets some of us so worked up?

My mantra to my son is “change is good for me.”

I guess it’s the fear of the unknown that creates fear in us, the what if’s, I don’t know how to, what if they don’t like it/me, what if I’m not good enough?

Whether we are changing jobs, countries, homes, new schools or simply a new brand of pasta, it is still change. Some of us face it head on and others take the longest route via procrastination to get there because change can be a scary thing!

Even though I have moved countries a few times, I am still faced with that familiar pang in the inner recesses of my solar plexus! How will I find my way along that new road, what if I get lost, I don’t know how to speak that language, I feel exhausted just thinking about how my brain picks and re-picks at the same saga. At these times I try to remember Louise L Hay’s words; “It is only a thought and a thought can be changed”.

I have had to learn to face it more truthfully since having children. If I tell them “change is good for me, well then I better demonstrate it myself! Children in themselves bring remarkable change to us and in doing so teach us to observe ourselves more authentically and with more awareness. I have come to understand that it is just my fear that holds me back. One of my most well etched memories of “practicing what I preach” was at a library where they had a conservationist bring harmless snakes for the kids to see and touch. I told my son who was afraid of the snakes, “the snake won’t bite it’s a harmless brown house snake”. I then had to put my fears aside and hold the snake so that he could see that it wouldn’t bite me. So I did, and overcame my fear of them too. I have to say that some fears are easier to overcome than others and it differs from person to person.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym.

The easiest way to embrace the mantra “change is good for me” is to let go of your fears and your inhibitions and go with the flow of where life takes you. We have to start trusting ourselves, although it might seem difficult, trust is all about surrendering. You might find that when we are not trying to control every aspect of our lives, we invite opportunity, interesting experiences and change happens almost seamlessly, it’s as though we begin to see things more clearly, differently with less trepidation. I have come to understand that when I coined the mantra to help my son it not only served him, but it taught me to go with the flow too.

Deepak Chopra: Creating Your Own Reality

In this episode of “Spiritual Solutions” on The Chopra Well, David is wondering whether we create our reality or if our lives are just subject to chance. Can we create reality through intentions and opportunity? What is the role of randomness and chance? Deepak explores five areas that can influence “randomness” – beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods.

How often do you feel like you have control – or even input – on your own reality? Circumstances and unexpected events tend to crowd our awareness and our sense of reality, to the point where it often feels like we are just puppets in a random world. The lesson here, though, is that much of what we perceive as “reality” is just a projection from our own consciousness. If we believe the world is out to get us, then 9 times out of 10 it will appear as such. If we, instead, address our beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods, we may begin to see how much agency we actually have in creating our own reality.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts and subscribe to The Chopra Well!

A Personal Quiz to Find Out How You Respond to Expectations

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 1.56.39 PMI’m still obsessed with the four categories I’ve developed–which, for lack of a better name, I’m currently calling the Four Rubin Tendencies.

These categories describe how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, train for a marathon).

To learn more about the Four Rubin Tendencies, read here and here. In a nutshell:

  • Upholders respond readily to both inner and outer expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations, but will follow expectations if they think the expectations are sensible (effectively making all expectations into inner expectations)
  • Rebels resist all expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

I’m still working on refining these types, and I’d love to hear what you have to say about the following questions. Obviously no one would answer all these questions, but if one strikes a particular chord with you, I’d be interested in your reaction.

Do you feel that you have to work by yourself, or be in charge, or work with others?

How do you feel about standing in line?

Do you make and keep resolutions? Why or why not? Do you do them as New Year’s resolutions?

Is it important to you to have a lot of information?

Are you powerfully motivated by a desire to avoid feeling guilty?

Do you struggle with the question, “How do I make time for me?”

Do you hate making a mistake or dropping the ball?

If you believe that a rule is arbitrary, though not unethical, would you be likely to follow it or not?

If you have difficulty sticking to a course of action, do you find yourself assigning responsibility to someone else? “I can’t stick to a diet because my mother urges me to take more food.” “My boss makes it hard for me to exercise.”

Do you prefer to do things spontaneously?

Do you prefer to do things according to a plan?

Do you sometimes feel paralyzed when you feel that you don’t have enough information to judge a course of action?

Do you enjoy the process of questioning and learning?

Do you like to be the boss? Do you need to be the boss?

How do you view shared work in a household? (Laundry, trash, cooking, etc.) How do you view your obligation, if any, to contribute? Who does what work in your household?

Do you find yourself researching issues that other people make with much less knowledge? Or do you make decisions with less knowledge than others might wish to have? E.g., picking a summer camp or a travel destination.

Do you believe that it’s very important that people keep their commitments to themselves—to go to an exercise class, to make time for their friends?

Do you feel a sense of accountability to your own calendar? So that you’ll do something if it’s on your calendar?

Here’s something that’s a bit hard to pose as a question. I’ve noticed what seems to be a pattern of Obligers sometimes “snapping” and refusing to do something they’re expected to do, or stubbornly and uncharacteristically not obliging in a particular matter, though they oblige in general. Has anyone noticed this themselves or in others? Is this pattern peculiar to Obligers or do Questioners and Upholders also do this occasionally? (Not an issue for Rebels.) I suspect not, but would be curious to hear from others on this question.

I welcome all observation and insight!

Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter (@gretchenrubin). Lots of interesting conversation about happiness there.

5 Steps to Rise From Disappointment

“I can’t believe she did that to me. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t depend on anybody anymore.”

Sound familiar? Chances are we’ve all uttered these, and there’s no question that we’ve all been let down. Disappointment and hurt can harden our hearts against trust, result in a negative outlook, heck, even make us question the goodness of humanity as a whole. But there is a bright side. Here, some tips for how to make it through disappointment and come out the other side stronger, positive and inspired.

1. Avoid the drama. Whether the disappointment is due to an act of carelessness or a major heartwrencher, the first thing to do is to step away from any related drama. Situations of conflict have the potential to expand or shrink depending on the amount of attention we give them. In order to move forward, you’ve got to let the situation diffuse. This means that as tempting as it may be to press for a resolution, explanation, apology, whatever it is that you think you need for closure, the best course in the interim is to honor the yogic practice of detachment. Of course, this is easier in theory than in practice, but stepping away is critical for you to process the turn of events in your heart and mind without the emotional upheaval and energy vacuum that drama yields.

2. Recognize that it’s not about you. Human nature has us react first from a place of ego that would have us believe that everything is personal and encourages taking on the role of a victim. Be on the lookout for this defeating self-talk and resist the trap of self-blame, self-doubt, any of those unpleasant responses founded in the ego. Consider that there are a host of factors beyond you and beyond your control that were likely at work here. What, you’re not in complete and utter control?! Hard to believe, I know, especially when we pretend otherwise!

3. Give yourself time and permission to heal. When you’ve been hurt, there are no expectations for a high-speed recovery – except for those that you put on yourself. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid and that it’s okay to have some days that aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. While you’re healing your heart, surround yourself with activities and people you love, nurture your body and soul, and do something, anything, to help others – the fastest route out of self-absorption and into perspective and gratitude.

4. Reflect on your expectations of others. This one can be tricky, as you shouldn’t expect the worst of everyone because someone close to you has, in your mind, failed you. But you can consider whether you project unrealistic expectations onto those you admire and hold dear. Maybe you hold people to an exceptionally high standard that is difficult for them to meet. While we should expect to be treated fairly, truthfully and respectfully, we can also use these life lessons of being let down to examine how we react when others confirm that they too are human and capable of making mistakes. At the same time, we can consider our own vulnerability to disappointing others, and harness this experience to improve our relationships as needed.

5. Put the experience to good use. Once some time has passed and you’ve managed to process the letdown, put the experience to good use.. Use it to motivate you instead of allowing it to harden your heart or lead you to expect the worst; in other words, seek the positive of your situation. Let it teach you what you don’t want to do to someone else. Perhaps the disappointment inspires you to try something new or take a different approach, revise your goals, assess your relationships, clear who and what no longer serve you from your life– all opportunities for positive growth. While you may not feel like the proverbial phoenix at first, you can indeed rise above disappointment and use it as inspiration for becoming your best self.

Please comment below with a positive outcome of what looked at first to be only disappointment!

photo by: ralpe

4 tips to find love and keep it

For some Valentine’s Day is a reminder to be more romantic and intimate during the rest of the year. For others it is a measuring stick of where they fall short, on the outside peering into the windows of happy couples. Then for those who are doing their time together like cell mates in prison rather than soul mates, cupid laughs mockingly.

Wayne Harbert, a linguistics professor at Cornell University, states that “Venus and venom come from the same root, meaning love. In Latin, venenum from which venom comes, originally meant love potion, but over time came to mean poison.”

Are you lovesick, madly in love, blinded by love or reasonably happy?

Here are four tips for you be heart smart:

1. If you don’t love, respect and enjoy being alone with yourself, you will not find lasting love.

When you have a strong sense of self you don’t need to jump to conclusions because of insecurities, fears or doubts. You can discern a person’s motivation with a wide angle view.  Angry, stressed and critical people have a hard time loving and forgiving others, because they do a great deal of projecting their own personal faults onto the love object.

Loosen your approach. When you don’t love yourself, you tend to compete with your significant other to force them to do what you want in order to feel in control. However, when you realize that your real soul mate lives inside you, you are able to form a partnership which is true power.

2. Release your expectations.

The high of love eventually settles into boring and ordinary daily routines. While love is fueled by the imagination and novelty, having unrealistic, naïve and idealized notions of what another should be will create dissatisfaction, opening the door for a fairytale escape.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run with the Wolves explains, “The desire to force love to live only in its most positive form is what causes love ultimately to fall over dead.”  Love has low points, problems and weaknesses.  If you have too high expectations for others, they will inevitably disappoint you.

3. Accept change.

Love has to change – it simply can’t stand still. Allow for more flexibility in your relationship. Everyone changes throughout the years and so does your lover. You need to be conscious of the change in yourself and your significant other to grow together instead of apart.

4. Listen more.

Active listening and positive communication nurtures relationships. Rather than telling someone how you want or think they should be, pausing for a moment and listening to their needs. Make sure to turn off technology when engaged in dialogue, and plug into the person you’re speaking with.

Dr. Markman, a well-known marriage and family researcher, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying: “Nagging is the enemy of love.” The take home message here is that we all can learn to become better listeners and communicate their needs more kindly and without repetition. Listening is the doorway to love.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Synergy by Jasmine

Deeper Meditation



I have read one of your books and have been meditating. Lately I seemed to have plateaued out and cannot get to a deeper level of meditation. How can I achieve this?


One of the most common misconceptions about meditation is that it should be an unbroken progression of deeper and deeper levels of silence, bliss and peace. Such an expectation is counterproductive because it colors the actual experience we are having in meditation.



During the course of meditation the mind and body dip into silence and come out into thoughts many times. This cycling between the depth and the surface of the mind is a natural and necessary rhythm of meditation in which the body releases stress and the mind gains glimpses of its true nature. We don’t need to be concerned about going deeper in meditation, that takes care of itself. Whatever depth of awareness we need to experience at that time will be automatically available to us.  We don’t need to find a way to go deeper, the process of meditation itself will provide the perfect experience for our growth every time we sit to meditate.






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Stress Much This Season? 8 Ways to Be More Centered for the Holidays

‘Tis the season… for stress?  NBC Dateline reports that 41% of people interviewed said that the holidays are as stressful as a job interview.  In other words, “very stressful.”  It’s not hard to imagine why this is the case.  Besides our normal work schedule and routine, add to that the traditional holiday obligations: office parties, cooking, eating, shopping, wrapping, traveling, visiting and general socializing, and our capacity for stress tips the scales on the verge of overload. 

 Then of course, there’s the economy.  A Los Angeles radio station does an annual poll of its listener’s resolutions.  Every year “Get Fit” or “Lose Weight” ends up being the most popular goal.  But this year “Get Out of Debt” ranked the highest.  How do we reconcile this with the barrage of store catalogs and television ads broadcasting all the great deals we can get on all kinds of stuff?  It’s enough to make a person cringe every time Jingle Bells plays in the grocery store.

We can’t fast forward through the season, even if we wanted to.  But we can manage our stress, and find ways to relax and enjoy the beauty of this special time of year. 

1.  Fold your hands in prayer behind your back.  When we get stressed we tend to tense up, and cave our chest in.  This opens up our chest, so we can breathe more freely.  Pull the shoulders back, tilt the head back, and breathe deeply.

 2.  Rub the circumference of each ear with your hands.  Right hand rubbing the right ear and left hand rubbing the left ear.  According to Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old Science of Life, there are marma points (like acupuncture points) in the ears that correspond to the various parts of the body.  Rubbing the ears in this way is like giving yourself a little mini massage!

 3.  Stop and smell the flowers.  Keep some lavender essential oil in your desk or purse.  When you feel stressed, bring it out.  Close your eyes and breathe in the fragrance.  Count to 5.  Then exhale through your mouth to the count of 5.  According to Aromatherapy, lavender is very calming.  and when we close our eyes it isolates the sense of smell so that we feel it more intensely.

 4.  Present moment awareness.  Most of the time, when we’re stressed it is because we are living in either the future or the past.  Bring yourself into present moment awareness by focusing on the now.  Use your senses, which connect us to our environment.  Hug yourself, to be more "in your body" instead of in your mind where the stress is.  Look at something beautiful, a flower, a bird, the sky, and just be with that for a moment.  Take a sip of sweet tea, and really taste it, and enjoy it.  Be grateful in that moment, and stress just washes away.  Gratitude and stress cannot be present at the same time!

 5.  Sit in your desk chair, or kitchen table chair – left foot on the floor, put your right ankle on your left knee, and learn forward with a stretch.  Hold it as far as you can go, then bend forward a little more.  This opens up your hips, and again balances that tensed up muscle feeling.  Do each side equally.

 6.  Pay attention.  Understand that it is our choice where we place our attention.  We can look at the source of our stress, or we can look at the white snow, the blue sky, the green pines, the twinkling stars.

 7.  Release expectations.  Simplify.  Is it important to send out 100 cards with personal notes?  Or would you be happier contacting a few close friends?  Do you need to have the house decorated like something out of a magazine?  Do you need to make a seven course meal?  What expectations do you have of yourself, and of others?  Rather than striving for perfection, allow things to just be, however they are.  Know that whatever it is, it’s all good.

 8.  Remember these words: love, peace, joy.  This is what the season is all about.  When those other words creep into your consciousness, the ones that set off stress, replace them with what you know to be important: love, peace, joy.

 Wishing you love, peace and joy this holiday season, and always.

 Meditation techniques at: http://www.psmeditation.com

A Mediation For Releasing Your Expecations

How often do you get upset when someone doesn’t comply with your expectations?

 How often do you get upset with yourself for not doing something better?

Look closely at your expectations of yourself and others.  Think about the last time or the last person that caused you disappointment because you felt let down, hurt, angry or resentful.

 Of course, we all have expectations of one another to some degree.

You expect that the waiter at a restaurant will serve you; that a dentist will work on your teeth; that your mother will love you; and that your friend will want to go to a movie with you.

 But what if they don’t—what if the waiter ignores you, the dentist makes you wait an hour, your mother doesn’t make time for you one day and your friend has made other plans? Do you shrug it off, or do you get very upset?

 Different situations will trigger a variety of reactions.  The stronger your reaction, the more likely you are expecting too much.

 Expectations, like negative emotions, are hardwired into you. They exist to signal you that you are unhappy or that something is out of balance within you or around you. Your expectations reflect a distorted representation of your deeper needs—-Your deeper needs of needing to be enough or have enough.

 When you hold the fear that you are not enough or do not have enough, you will develop expectations or deep needs for others or for circumstances to help you feel better.  That is why the expectations are false.

 False expectations—not seeing a person or situation for who (or what) he or she really is apart from the role he or she plays—have the unwelcome side effect of putting you into your Fear Response. You are not seeing this person’s or the situation’s true qualities. Rather, you are hoping he or she (or it) will fulfill the qualities you lack in yourself. This is a setup for disillusionment and dissatisfaction and an invitation to the Fear Response to come right in. 

I am not telling you that it is bad to have expectations, just to be aware of them.  Your expectations and how attached you are to them is your signal of being out of balance or that your Fear Response is in active mode.  Your expectations are clues that can guide you to healing your deeper needs.

 Here is something you can do:

Let’s say, you find yourself getting upset over someone or something not meeting your expectations.  Good.  Now,

1. Slow down that active brain thinking and imagine your SHIELD or golden rays of light shining down upon you, surrounding you in unconditional love and grace, so that you can Inhale deeply and Exhale completely.

2.     Listen to your needs. Ask yourself, “What is it that I really need from this situation? Is it love? Respect? Validations? Acceptance? Approval? Money?”

3.     Decided to meet your own needs:  Imagine the golden light is filling your body, especially your heart with whatever it is you need—love, abundance, respect, etc.

4.     As you do so, repeat these words:  “The support I need is here.  I have all that I need.”

5.     When you feel that the light has filled your heart and it is overflowing, practice The Love Circle with your breath:

Focus on the inhalation.

Breathe in deeply.

Focus on the exhalation.

Exhale completely.

Notice how much air you can take in before you feel as if

you are going to explode.

Notice how easily you let it go.

Notice how you cannot hold on to your breath even if you try.

Notice how when you exhale completely, your inhalation

begins immediately.

Notice that there is no way to stop the cycle.

Notice how every time you let go of your breath, a new

breath of life comes in.

Focus on your chest as the breath moves in and out.

Breathe in life.

Let go, sharing it with the world.

Breathe in love.

Let go, sharing it with the world.



10 Sure fire ways to stay motivated towards your goals

Goals can never be accomplished if your spirit is malnourished and your outlook is bleak. Here are 10 ways to stay motivated:

  1. Make a list of people you admire, are successful in the way you desire, and are examples of your values. Is there any one you can ask to be a mentor to you?
  2. Consider joining or starting a support group that will give you a sense of community and a connection with people who share similar goals.
  3. Post your goals and visuals in a visible place for you and others to see.
  4. Exercise and meditate regularly and remember to slow down.
  5. Open yourself to advice and learning, especially from those you respect and trust.
  6. Surround yourself with positive people and things.
  7. Relax your expectations. Be open, willing, and flexible towards change.
  8. Congratulate yourself on small accomplishments, it helps to build your confidence and prepares you for bigger challenges. By all means, look for ways to enjoy yourself.
  9. Review your goals regularly. Make adjustments and remove things if they no longer serve you or inspire you.
  10. Challenge yourself! Dare to risk and take on bigger challenges.

Keep your vision of success bright and alive by sharing it with others, it’s bound to add accountability and helps to keep you focused. The dream becomes bigger than you and is now out in the world. Like a potted plant, check in and nurture your goals regularly. Some days will be glorious, others may be less inspiring but being open to change, and possibility will get you through.


If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog please feel free to do as long as you include my credit information: Written by Sandra A. Daley, lifestyle and career coach, http://www.sandradaley.com

Sandra a. Daley is a certified lifestyle and career coach, writer, speaker and the creator of Dream It! Plan It. Claim It™, an extra-preneurial workshop for women. Contact her at : info@sandradaley.com. If you liked this article, you may also enjoy “Knowing when to compromise”

Thanks for taking the time to read my articles.  I’m looking forward to sharing my passions with the world!

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. Anatole France


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