This morning I was supposed to wake up and do a quick circuit of exercises to get my day started. Last night at 10pm I told myself “Alright Sabrina, time for bed so you can wake up at 6, well rested, and get in that workout before your appointment.”
2 hours later midnight struck, and I was still up, sitting on my laptop, writing and listening to Spotify. “Okay Sabrina,” I told myself, “ now it’s time to really hit the hay.”
Then, 1 hour later my head was finally hitting the pillow. I looked at the time, which read 1:23am…Nice, Sabrina.
Fast forward to that 6am alarm: where I decided to hit snooze.
Then 6:30’s alarm came…and I hit snooze, again.
Then 7’s alarm went off…and I hit snoo- just kidding. I actually woke up this time.
After washing up, I went down stairs to grab coffee. I thought about putting my shorts and sports bra on and then, without a second thought, I grabbed the Cinnamon Rolls my Mom and I made Christmas morning, heated two of them up in the microwave, slathered them with extra frosting, and enjoyed those babies with a glass of milk.
I know, I know…how un-Whole 30 of me.
Do I regret the fact that I didn’t workout this morning? Nah.
Do I especially regret eating cinnamon rolls instead of working out? Hahaha…welllllllll, although my initial reaction about a year ago would’ve been to condemn myself for being so weak and committing such a crime, I can now proudly say…absolutely not! I loved every second I ate those cinnamon rolls, and I’m not a “fitness-failure” because of it.
You see, I could’ve told myself that this is not how it’s supposed to be. This is not what my Instagram role-models would do. They’re ripped and strong for a reason, right? They rock at working out consistently, and they’re pros at resisting temptation so if I ever want to be a role-model like them, I need to step up my game.
But I’d only be kidding myself. Even Instagram role models fall off the bandwagon.
All I’m saying is: It’s good to have goals. It’s good to have plans. It’s even better to stick to them. But when’s the last time you didn’t judge a situation based on the idea of how you thought it was supposed to take place? When’s the last time you actually just went with the flow? When’s the last time you took pride in your own unique story?
I know we’re just talking about cinnamon rolls here, but we’re really not just talking about cinnamon rolls. *Bubble busted* Sorry… :}
There’s a difference between standards and expectations.
A standard is a desired level of quality.
An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen in the future.
We should hold standards because it sets a motivation to achieve a strong wish or want for any particular thing, person, or outcome. Conversely, holding expectations are more likely to set us up for disappointment. It sets a picture in our head of how we want things to be, and if they don’t go that way, we tend to become upset, we discredit ourselves and/or our peers, and it builds a higher wall between us and happiness.
For example, when I set high standards for myself in school it is because I want to achieve all A’s. This sets me on a better path to work hard. It does not threaten my confidence or worth if I, in fact, receive something lower – even an F. Likewise, I’m more likely to find a solution to help me improve next time.
On the other hand, setting expectations to receive all A’s is more likely to undermine my hard work if I don’t get that A, and eventually will infringe on my confidence. Not to mention, I’ll be more likely to dwell on my shame and disappointment rather than figure out where I went wrong to improve next time.
In a nut shell: expectations are counterproductive and makes it much harder to appreciate a given outcome, or use it as a lesson for improvement.
Social Media could be what’s ruining it for us.
I love social media, but I hate it. And this is one of the many reasons why: I think in regards to fitness, success, fashion, relationships, etc, what we assume we’re “supposed” to look like, what things we’re “supposed” to have, how we’re “supposed” to dress and fix our hair, how things are “supposed” to be…it all really ruins what we should be grateful for now, what goals we’re working toward and achieving now, and where we stand now. It distracts us. It’s the reason we’re so disconnected from the present and constantly looking into the future to aid our happiness. We say things like:
Well, when I have that car I’ll be happy.
…When I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happy.
…When I find my soul mate, I’ll be happy.
…When I graduate and have a job, I’ll be happy.
…When I’m making 6-figures, I’ll be happy.
But why can’t we be happy now? Why can’t we be grateful for where we are now?
As a matter of fact…why can’t we appreciate how far we’ve come while also looking forward to our future?
It’s going to take some power, practice, and persistence to stay positive
I was talking to a guy for a few weeks, and I had good intentions for where I thought our relationship was going. We hung out and went on a couple of really nice dates and I had a strong feeling he liked me. I knew I liked him so in given time I was *expecting*(see, there’s that word again!) him to take me off the market. But then, unexpectedly, something in the glass seemed to crack. He stopped talking to me. Inevitably, I was confused and began to think the worst: Wow, he probably thinks I’m annoying….what an asshole, he was such a waste of my time…But what did I do wrong?…Did I come on too strong? Did he hear a false rumor that turned his cheek? Did he think I was a bad kisser? I mean literally, a school of unpleasant thoughts swam through my head for almost an entire week. It was painful, I was hurt, and I felt so…shitty (pardon my French).
But then, a good friend of mine asked me some valuable questions that really changed my perspective. He said, “Well Sabrina, there’s a million reasons why he hasn’t talked to you. Maybe he got really busy with family/school and didn’t want the distractions. Maybe he’s thinking the same thing you are and telling himself that he’s ‘coming on too strong.’ Maybe he doesn’t want to annoy you. Maybe he thinks you’re too good for him.”
I know I’m not the only one whose mind automatically jumps to the worst case scenario when I don’t understand what’s going on. It’s easy to think the worst and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s easy to host pity parties rather than have faith in who we are. And it’s much easier to give up and allow shame and embarrassment to poop on our parades. In a sense, it’s normal because we don’t feel pain as an indicator that something went wrong just for no reason; however, that’s only to a certain extent. When my friend filled my mind with those positive “could-have-been-this” scenarios, I was able to move on much quicker and focus on things that were more important to me rather than dwell on negativity.
That’s why it’s going to take some power to lift your own spirits by having a positive outlook and focusing on your standards rather than your expectations.
It’s going to take practice in order to improve this routine.
And it’s going to take persistence because there are going to be so many things that knock you down, especially when you’re just learning to let go of that preconceived idea of how it was “supposed” to be.
But don’t give up.
Don’t cry because it’s over…smile because it happened
For the longest time this quote absolutely irked the crap out of me. I took it as poor advice to basically accept that all good things come to an end so just be happy with whatcha got.
That along with the quote, “I’d rather have loved and lost than to never have loved at all,” constantly made me question then what’s the point?!
As you can probably tell, I didn’t always have the most positive outlook on love and relationships. Even now as I write this, I wonder how I never understood the other side of the story? However, that’s not the case anymore, and that especially stands true for more than just romantic shenanigans.
Now I understand it to mean that everything happens for a reason. Nothing is meant to last forever because we should be experiencing new things. With new experiences comes self-discovery, life-lessons, and memories – all of which we have to be grateful for because it is what makes us who we are, and it what makes our stories so diverse and unique and wonderful…even when they don’t always end the way we’d like.
If we could turn all of our struggles into something positive, something to be grateful for – whether it be as simple as a lesson learned, or a tool that made us stronger, or even a story we’re simply going to look back on and laugh at – we’ll be able to appreciate our stories much more, we’ll be able to live without that preconceived idea of “how it was supposed to be” nagging at our conscious; we’ll be able to make the best out of both the smooth rides and bumpy dents in the road.
The Take Away
Please, don’t let family, friends, media, magazines, or anything else set the foundation for “how it’s supposed to be.” You can have standards and hope for the best, but try to refrain from creating expectations. There are going to be times where no matter how hard we work and pray for a Yes!, life is just going to slap a big fat NO! in our face. Sometimes we’ll be given that Yes! but it might get taken away from us. Don’t be discouraged by this. Stay positive and try to understand the reasons you’re receiving a No! or being stripped of a Yes! After all, everything happens for a reason, so appreciate the fact that the universe knows what it’s doing.
-There is no one way to live a balanced, healthy life because everyone’s version of balanced and healthy is different. With that, I’d like to add: there is no one perfectly shaped physique, either. Focus on your goals, give yourself credit, and own your shape.
-There is no one cute or trendy way to dress. Mix and match and do what works for you.
-There is no one answer to achieving success. Again, everyone’s definition of success is different so follow the path that’s going to get you to where you want to be. And appreciate the lessons you learn along the way.
-Different people show their love in different ways. Just because your man doesn’t post a Women-crush Wednesday of you every week like your BFF’s boyfriend does, doesn’t mean he loves you any less. And if you want to understand the why behind someone’s actions, then ask them.
Let go of how you think it’s supposed to be, stay positive, stay grateful, and own your story.