What Not to Expect When You are Expecting

If you are disappointed in everyone around you try this: Expect LESS from everyone else and expect MORE from yourself.

Disappointment is defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.

Expectation is defined as a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

“Gratitude is the key to happiness and anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have.” ~ Dennis Prager

When I am disappointed I feel anything but grateful. It can bring upon many negative feelings such as jealousy, sadness and rage. As a teenager my Step-Father, Gary, used to get the biggest kick out of singing the Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What you Want”, and watching me stomp off to my room. This happened often as we did not poutyhave a lot of money and Gary was extremely strict. I would be so disappointed in him for not letting me have what I wanted that sometimes I believed that I hated him!

When I grew up I could stay up as late as I wanted. I could afford new jeans or a ticket to the Bruce Springsteen concert. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. With all of my freedom, I was still disappointed in other people, ALL THE TIME.

I have been doing research on happiness for the past two years and what I have found as the largest common denominator to achieve happiness is gratitude.  Then something clicked. I linked my disappointments with my unhappiness. The next step was to figure out what I was so disappointed about.

Things that have disappointed me:

  • Not receiving the gift I wanted on my birthday
  • Not being recognized for a job well done
  • Having to take the trash out – Again!
  • Not being invited to a party
  • Not being complimented on my appearanceChristmas Gluttony

Mary Ann describes expectations as “planned disappointment”.  You can read more here: http://simplemarriage.net/expectations-equal-unhappiness/

What’s the deal? Why couldn’t people just live up to what I expected of them? It was time to take responsibility for my own happiness!  The ironic part is when I got exactly what I expected I rarely felt surprised, happy or grateful anyway.

Some feelings I had when I got exactly what I expected

  • Justified
  • Suspicious
  • Deserving
  • Relieved

Stopping this cycle was not easy. I had to bite my tongue, do more myself and work on my own self-esteem so that I did not need to have these expectations anymore. When I started expecting less from others I started giving more to myself. I realized that I could not continue  to expect others to make my happiness for me.  I had to learn to get rid of all these expectations.

Read about tossing your expectations in the ocean here: http://zenhabits.net/ah/

Once I realized that I am the only one responsible for my happiness I started appreciating the things that people would do for me. This shift in energy has given me more confidence, happiness and joy, and for that I am extremely grateful. It also makes me want to do more for others, when they least expect it!

What things do you expect from others that you could give to yourself instead? What could you give to others that they would never expect?

If You Feel Stuck, Then Stop Agreeing to Everything!

If you are tired of being stuck in a rut and living a life that you didn’t agree to, then it’s time to get off the pot and try one or all of these seven ideas to unstick your life.

“If you’re stuck in the past, you go forward in reverse”
― Josh Stern,

Situations that people feel stuck in:

  • Dead-End Job
  • Overdue Break-upStuck
  • Creative Block
  • Health issue(s)
  • Loneliness
  • Greif
  • Self-Esteem
  • Financial situations

Most people go through their daily lives on auto-pilot. They do the same thing day after day, and week after week and month after month. They settle for what they have, even if it’s not what makes them happy. Sometimes they never even find out what makes them happy. They have agreed to a life that society expects.

Some things that society expects of us.

  • Go to school and get a good job
  • Retire at the age of 65
  • Get married and have kids
  • Work at a respectable company with a 401 K
  • Vacation twice a year
  • Live for the weekends
  • Save money to send your kids to college
  • Dress appropriately
  • Fill your home with the best you can afford
  • Celebrate holidays like everyone else

“The Four Agreements” is a book where Miguel Ruiz talks about how we have all agreed to things that we really did not have a choice to believe in. Ruiz says, “Before we are born the humans before us created a big outside dream that we all call society’s dream. The dream of the planet is the collective dream of billions of smaller personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community and a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity. The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, it’s beliefs, it’s laws, it’s religions, it’s different cultures and ways to be, it’s governments, schools, social events and holidays.“

Do you ever remember agreeing to any of this? There is a good reason that some of us feel stuck … Because we never chose our lives to begin with. We are living lives based on belief systems that were created for us, by our parents and the society that influenced them.

Life just happens, and you get up and do what you were supposed to do. You do not have to continue in the rat race.  You have the choice to design your own life.  There are ways for you to unstick our life.

Ways to Unstick Your Life:

Instead of Making More Money, Need Less Money – Work hard at not working so hard. The less you need the less you have to work in a job you do not like. Cancel your cable.

Minimize – Stop Shopping, and get rid of everything that does not bring you joy. You work hard to buy things that end up bringing you down in the end. You spend more time moving them, repairing them, cleaning them, deciding between them. Just let go of them and you will find the space you need for a more meaningful life.

Get out of Debt – You can sell your stuff to help! Ask people who are good with money to help you with your finances.  Try Quicken for monthly budgeting.

Less is More – Give yourself less choices: Minimize your closet.  Try Project 333 at http://theproject333.com.  Minimize your menu. Try project 333 in the kitchen too at http://theproject333.com/kitchen/.  Less choice equals less hassle and gives you more time for bigger things.

Always do your Best – If you are always doing your best, whether you are being rewarded or not, you can learn to enjoy more. You will learn to take pride in yourself, and others will see it too. Always doing your best whether you are flipping burgers or trying to make a relationship work can only provide the best possible outcome without residual shame or guilt. You can read more on doing your best here: http://www.toltecspirit.com.

Be Awesome to Everybody – I started saying this mantra on a daily basis when my customers were driving me crazy. I try to keep it in my mind at all times. You can really change many experiences for the better by remembering these four words.  Even when someone cuts you off in traffic.

Change your State – Get happy by changing the way you are sitting, standing or acting. Have a dance party, or take a long walk. See some state changing activities here.  www.livebigandsmall.com

The pressure to do what you should be doing will be replaced with the excitement of what you are doing.20140510-IMG_1131

When you begin to make these types of adjustments, good things happen. The pressure to do what you should be doing will be replaced with the excitement of what you are doing. You may not want to drop out of society completely (I still love the Macy’s Day Parade and being married), however you do not have to worry about what anyone thinks once you feel secure in your own skin and know that you have agreed to live the unsticky life that you have designed yourself.

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Climb Aboard for the State Changing Ride for Your Life

Just because the Frown Town Express has left the station, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get back on the happy track immediately.

These small simple actions are sure to bring you from an emotional train wreck to a first class ride to paradise before you can say… Train-600x-222

“All Aboard!”

Here’s the ticket:

Psychologist Paul Ekman, a pioneer in his field, came up with this List of 6 Basic Emotions in 1972:

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Surprise

I don’t know about you, but I could add jealousy, rage, annoyed, pissed-off, sick of my dang job, sick of my dang life, and totally bummed out to the list. Also what is the emotion for having a “fat” day? Psychologists have not determined how many emotions a person can feel in one day, however, personal experience tells me, many!  Another thing I know is that one negative situation can derail me from my current good mood.

Negative situations that can derail me from my current good mood:

  • Grouchy customers
  • Mean lady at the grocery store
  • cropped-image1.jpgLong day at work
  • Fight with spouse
  • Physical pain
  • Money problems
  • Cut off in traffic

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it” ~Albert Einstein

I first learned about state changing as a crew member for the Tony Robbins “Unleash the Power Within” Seminars from 1993- 1995. In my opinion the state changing exercise was one of the most impressive of the entire seminar. (besides helping over 3000 people get the courage to walk across burning hot coals, of course.) You can read more about how changing your state can affect everything at: http://sourcesofinsight.com/how-to-change-any-experience-to-empower-you/. Tony would specify the three major modalities that drive us as Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. He then would help us figure out which of these three drives you most. For me, I am kinesthetic first, auditory is a very close second and visual is last. I realized that by adjusting my posture, even just slightly, my mood can quickly elevate. If I took it a step further and jumped up and down like I won an Oscar, I would feel elated and excited and have tingles all over. On the contrary, if I gave in to my negative emotions and put on a pouty face and rolled up in bed like a big grouchy pooper, I would wallow in that mood for hours. That kind of behavior is a nesting ground for anxiety and disease (this post is not about anxiety, however, living with less stress is the back bone of my big and small lifestyle, so I will always mention it when appropriate).I realized that by focusing on your senses, you could actually change your state at any time. I learned through many sources and experiments, how to be the conductor of my own emotions.

I learned through many sources, and experiments, how to be the conductor of my own emotions.

I have formulated a simple, easy and highly effective set of actions using all three modalities that guarantee to lift your mood.  I encourage you to get off your caboose and try them all!  I think you can, I think you can….

1) Pump it. (audio) I made a playlist of Happy Tracks and play it when I need a dose of happy. It doesn’t matter if the music isn’t “cool” or hip. This is MY soundtrack and I am not embarrassed that “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book is on my list. It’s all about feeling happy and anything goes, so feel free to dork out!

2) Fake it. (kinesthetic) I trick my emotions into thinking that I am happy by making my body feel the way it feels when it is happy. Bouncing or jumping on a mini-trampoline is a guaranteed state changer. I have one in my office, and I like to dance on it with my Hapippy jumpingppy Tracks. A giant bouncy ball is also a way to bring my spirits back to life. I can simply bounce around a few times to feel the effects. I am also known to call a dance party at times when I feel a state change is necessary. Remembering to keep my posture and language in positive positions also helps when a dance party would be an inappropriate suggestion, like at a funeral, for example. You can fake it until you make it, just put your body where your mood wants to be.

3) Check it. (visual) This one requires a short walk outside, and is very loosely inspired by Scientology teachings. I call it the “ Check it out Game.” I simply take a walk and look at things, but instead of looking the way I normally look,  I look without having feelings, judgments or memories attached.  I just find something to look at,  let’s say a stop sign, and notice the shape, color, and small details like a dent or a scratch. Then I  move on to something else, a mailbox perhaps or a tree.  Much like meditation, you might have to gently stop the thoughts that normally arrive, and remember to just look and not think. This game gives my mind a break and a feeling of peace and calm. Then I go home and jump on my trampoline again!

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Small is the new big

Spending endless hours working, struggling, buying the right outfits, attending the hot  parties, hob-knobbing with the hip people.  Networking, socializing, schmoozing.  That was me.  In a constant state of “look at me” and hoping to be discovered.  Or to discover something.  Something that would make a mark, make me known.  My name in lights. Fame and fortune.  I wanted to make it big.  When that did not happen, I began to think out of the box.  Instead of ME being big, I just needed one big idea. Something that would make me happy and change everything.  Instead, came more shopping, debt, self-helping and self loathing.  Years pass. Even more of the same and still no big idea.  I spent hours dedicated to figuring out what I could I do to become satisfied and fulfilled, meanwhile finding refuse in buying more.  I started to notice how much time my husband and I were spending  organizing and cleaning the garage, closets, and shed, or driving around looking for craigslist deals instead of doing things like relaxing (what’s that?) hanging out or having fun. When we were not spending time on our belongings, I would feel guilty unless I was doing something constructive such as researching, studying, working and wracking my brain trying to come up with a master plan.  I would not rest until we were on the path to our big dreams.  But first we needed to figure out what they were.  I felt so muddled and overwhelmed we just ended up shopping  more and starting many projects that we would not finish. One evening, my girlfriend Jen  mentioned to me that she was into this “tiny house thing” and gave me a gift of this tiny bird house she had painted. She then recommended  a documentary about people getting rid of all their belongings and living in a tiny house that you could pull on a trailer.  My  research began that day and nothing has been the same for me (or my husband!) ever since.

Jenn's tiny house

“This was so simple. No big whoop.”

I watched the doc, read a book by “The Minimalists” and started getting rid of my stuff.  I had never felt so right about anything in my life.  Instead of searching outside for more, I was looking inside for less.  I couldn’t move fast enough.  With every item that I tossed, I felt more space inside of me that was alive.  More room for things I didn’t even know that I wanted.  Simple life with meaning.  My big idea was hidden under all of my stuff.  This was so  simple.  No big whoop.