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Choosing Joy vs. Expecting Joy

While traveling last weekend, my husband and I were reflecting on some of the trips we’ve taken over the past year. Some were the most fun we’ve ever had, and some fell short to impress. We pondered about what the difference was between these trips – what makes a vacation a success? We realized it came down to one thing: our expectations.

When we pre-determine how something is supposed to go, we cut off the Universe’s

creative potential to surprise us. This doesn’t mean we shouldn't make plans, it simply suggests that we don’t emotionally attach to them. We have to decide ahead of time that we’re going to feel joyful, happy, and lighthearted – rather than expecting a person/place/thing to make us feel that way. When we choose how we want to feel, we release our emotional bonds to our plans, and we’re able to go with the flow and ‘be well with what is.’ The circumstances no longer dictate our happiness, we do. This sounds simple enough, but for people like me who tend to be a little Type-A, this requires us to regularly practice surrendering our expectations, and choosing to feel good anyway. As you know – I typically send out a MONDAY motivation, and today is Tuesday. Not meeting that expectation for myself created a lot of stress for me. Eventually, I chose to surrender that expectation – it wasn’t going to be met, and I didn’t want to let that deprive me of feeling joy. Each time I would feel anxiety or disappointment about that unmet expectation creep in, I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that performing this task is not a prerequisite for feeling happiness. Happiness, joy, and lightheartedness are not a currency we get paid for meeting our expectations – we choose to feel those things no matter what. We don’t have to earn them. We have to choose them. Even if you don’t choose the good feelings at first, you can always choose again. This week I encourage you to pay attention to your expectations. Whether big or small, simply start by noticing what expectations you have. Then, notice how you feel about them – do you need them to be met? Finally, decide ahead of time how you’re going to feel no matter what. Again, this is going to be easier for some of us than others, but its possible for everyone. For those of us that it’s a real struggle for, we need it the most! ;)  This week let’s practice not letting our circumstances dictate how we feel, but decide that for ourselves instead. Let’s give ourselves grace when we experience disappointment, and permission to choose again. Let’s decide that feeling good is more important than being right. Let’s choose joy, over and over again.  Wishing you a wonderful week!

With love and gratitude,  Robin

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