Gutting My Great Expectations

Are you guilty of balls-to-the-wall optimism? Do you constantly hope for the best, sometimes to the point of absurdity?

Join the club.

*hands membership pin*

I'm an eternal half-full-glass kinda gal and that's how I like it. I think it's awesome that I can pretty much take any bad situation and polish it up to a blinding shine. That being said, sometimes that ability comes back to ninja chop me right in the throat.


Because sometimes my optimism leads to expectations. And those expectations, when not fulfilled, leave me cursing the world in the fetal position at the bottom of my closet. 

Case in point - my health. For years, I kept telling myself that it'll get better:

In just another few months, I'll be able to get a job. 

By next year, I'll be able to have babies. 

The new drug is just around the corner. Just keep holding on.

Well, those timelines came and went and all I was left with was devastating disapointment. Not because they didn't happen - well, kinda - but because I'd believed them so much that I truly expected them to.  Perhaps it's one of my life lessons: to learn how to balance optimism and realism. 

So for the last little while, I've consciously been trying to separate optimism from expectation. Now, that doesn't mean that I've turned into a Whining Witney. Oh no. Not a chance.

It simply means that I'm working on removing expectations for things I have no control over.

Using my health as an example again, I recently learned that I won't be able to pursue compassionate grounds for early access to a drug that could cure me. If I hadn't already accepted that I might not qualify, then the news would have been a much bigger blow than it was. Instead of being sent to the depths of despair, I was able to accept the news and that I would have to wait. A stark contrast to how I've taken health setbacks in the past.

Then, I realized that I'd actually been using my expectation-removal-process for a while. In fact, it was something that I did when I first got sick (being as my energy level plummeted). 

Just as there are situations you have no control over, there are also people who you have no control over. Even if you're the nicest person on the planet, there'll always be one person who makes it their life mission to cut you down. It doesn't feel good. In fact, it feels awful...

BUT here's what I've learned

...and this is BIG, so you might want to sit down.

Their actions have little to nothing to do with you.

More times than not, if someone has it out for you, they just do. Granted, there are times where we all unwittingly push another's buttons but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the people in your life who purposefully try to hurt you. Sure, it'd be easy to just cut them out, but as I've matured, it's become clear that there are certain people that you can't just cut out. Social ties get mighty strong as time moves forward and when you add in work friends, family and your partner's family, it's impossible to completely surround yourself with positive people. No matter how hard you try. After moaning to Marc about why they'll never change, it hit me.

*cue harp*

By removing the expectation that people who make me cringe will someday become class-acts, I was able to leave social gatherings relatively unscathed. At first, it took a whole lot of effort to not lash  back, but after a while, I'd just smile and nod and then laugh at their ridiculous remarks. Not only did that make my experience better, but it also made the haters lighten up a bit. Probably because they weren't getting the reaction from me that they were looking for.  

Now, a few years later, I see that it's the same with my health. I will continue to hope that things will get better, but I have to stop expecting it. The disappointment just isn't worth it.

So, maybe this post will make sense to you, maybe not. But I figured that since having a sequel successful experience with removing my expectations, I'd share it with the world. To be honest, I've rewritten this post about a thousand times so I hope that I've been able to articulate my life-shifting choice. And it is a choice, by the way. A choice that takes a lot of work to become natural, but it's something that I'm more than happy to put the work into. The payoff at the end is worth it. So very worth it.


  1. ... do you know how much effing money i've paid my therapist for her to tell me over and over again what you're magically figured out? and i'm still not sure i believe it, even though i know it to be true?!

    you're so damn WISE!!!

  2. Wise due to circumstance, maybe....not really by choice ;).

    And that'll be $20. *holds out hand* Haha!

  3. Hmm.. I'm more of a neurotic optimistic. I expect the worst and am obsessed with overpreparing for things, but in general I'm pretty happy.

    I read your about me, and wow that's a crazy story! I'm glad you're so optimistic (makes for a better read, in my mind).

  4. I am definitely a pessimist by nature... for that reason of reality beating me into the fetal position when something doesn't work out.

  5. Gia - "neurotic optimistic" is a pretty funny description of yourself...and I think that might be what I am too! Haha!

    Miss Sassy Pants - I can't stop laughing at your name. It's pretty much the best webname ever and I wish I'd come up with it firs!. For reals.


  6. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks all of craigslist


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