Expectations

Often times, I wish I could have better relationships with certain people in my life. When a friend doesn’t call me for weeks (or even months) my feelings are hurt; and I feel unloved and rejected. You know how the old saying goes… Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Instead of trying to disprove the latter statement, I have recently learned to embrace it.
There’s no question that subconsciously we place expectations on other people. Personally, I try to live up to the Golden Rule of Treat Others the Way You Would Want Them to Treat You. Because of this *lifestyle* I super glue expectations to people, only to feel disappointed when they don’t meet them. For instance, I like to send friends and family random, sweet and/or funny texts/pictures every so often. It’s my way of saying: Hey You! I’m thinkin’ bout ‘ya! Thus, my Golden Rule alter ego expects So-&-So to do the same every once in a while. And if they don’t, I feel like I’m no longer important to them.
Now I have come to realize that these kind and thoughtful gestures may not be in So-&-So’s personality. But just because they didn’t act the way I wanted them to, doesn’t mean I should assume they don’t still think about me, or appreciate me any less. Furthermore, I shouldn’t even worry about why So-&-So doesn’t call me anymore, or write on my Facebook wall. These expectations I place on people are binding, and leave me feeling frustrated and sad. Letting go of the strings has helped me see what is really important…
I feel good about myself when I shoot So-&-So a thoughtful text. Trying to wish someone to be different or change is not going to make me feel any better. I wish some friends from college would call me when they’re in town so we can get together and catch up. I wish I had a closer relationship with some family members. I wish. I wish. I wish. 
Through prayer, and a lot of reading and thinking, I’ve learned to let go of these wishes demands. Would it make me feel good if I had these better relationships? Yes. Do I need to have these better relationships in order to make me feel good? No. It is not necessary for people to acknowledge me. Obviously I think it’s undesirable, but it’s not terrible. No one can determine my happiness. Only I can.
We tell ourselves we’re supposed to be appreciated for what we give to others. But true giving doesn’t need acknowledgement, or anything in return for that matter. All that is important to me is how God views me. Now that I have stopped wishing for people to act differently, or in a particular way, I actually feel better! I’ve trained my thoughts to accept that I do not have the power to change others. & just because So-&-So doesn’t do what I *expect* him/her to do, doesn’t mean I don’t like So-&-So for who he/she is!
Do you place expectations on other people? How do you deal with the disappointment?
Loyally,
Katie

My Happiness Project: #1.

#1. Boost Energy: 2/1/10
Gretchen Rubin divides her book into 12 months. Each month is a different resolution. Her first month was to boost energy. The subgroups she picked to help boost her energy were: go to sleep earlier; exercise better; toss, restore, organize; tackle a nagging task; and act more energetic.
Go to sleep earlier:
This is something I have a problem with. Although I finish everything I need to do by a reasonable time each night, I find myself wanting to stay up later to do something for “me.” Whether it’s checking my Facebook or updating my blog. Or most commonly: catching up on my TV shows and spending time with B. There’s only a limited amount of time to spend with B each day. I’m at work all day; he’s usually studying in the afternoons and evenings, and by the time he’s finished, it’s my bedtime! Even though I’m secretly thinking, I could be sleeping right now, I stay up to chat and snuggle with him because it makes me happy. Sometimes, however, B will take a break from studying (only if he can) to hang out with me (even it is for only thirty minutes) then continue studying while I go to sleep. Gretchen’s tricks for getting a good night’s sleep:
“Near your bedtime, don’t do any work that requires alert thinking. Keep your bedroom slightly chilly. Do a few prebed stretches. Also—this is important—because light confuses the body’s circadian clock, keep the lights low around bedtime, say, if you go to the bathroom. Also, make sure your room is very dark when the lights are out.”
I’m going to try this! Tonight.
Exercise better:
I joined the YMCA right next door to B’s school and of course, just like every other American, I vowed to go a few times a week. I probably made it once a week—twice if I’m lucky. My excuse(s): “I’m too tired after work… I didn’t get enough sleep last night so I hit snooze and didn’t wake up early enough… I’m too hungry… I ate too much… I just don’t have the time…” Sound familiar? I need to become more self-motivated and get my butt up! Right now my motivation is: go to the gym, otherwise you’re just wasting your money! I know I’ll feel better if I at least start out by going three times a week for thirty minutes at a time. I’m determined to do it! *Note: After writing this, I actually went to the gym (after work!) and ran a mile on the treadmill (no stopping!) for the first time since I was in eighth grade. Hey, I have asthma, give me a break 🙂
Toss, restore, organize:
Thankfully, I don’t really have this problem. Having just moved into our rented house in July, I’ve already gone through this process and made a commitment to myself not to become cluttered. Sure, there’s one junk drawer in the kitchen that needs to be cleared out, but other than that, I’ve done really well with not holding onto things I don’t think I’ll use again (i.e., coupons to places I don’t go to, advertisements, already read magazines, etc.). One thing I absolutely loved was when Gretchen wrote: “…I started to apply the ‘one-minute rule’; I didn’t postpone any task that could be done in less than one minute.” Something that irked my mom when I was younger  to this day is that I drop my bag and shoes on the counter and floor as soon as I walk in the door. I’ve gotten better, but life would be a little easier if I just went straight to my closet and got the chore over with in one minute or less. Ta da! Done. *B’s going to do this, too! Another tip is the “evening tidy-up.” Simply take ten minutes before bed to tidy-up. It’ll make the morning easier. You won’t be late for work or an appointment because you won’t be worrying about straightening up last minute.
Act more energetic:
I neeeeeed to do this! I know it works. If I feel like I’m in a funk, all I need to do is jump up, do a little Taylor-Swift-you-belong-with-me-music-video-dance and I’ve already boosted my energy. B sometimes makes me do this and it works. Try it!
What are some things you do to boost your energy? I’d love any advice. I feel like this is a major problem of mine (always has been) and I’m excited to break the habit. 


My Happiness Project

Getting Started: 1.31.10
After coming across Gretchen Rubins’ blog, I became curious about this so-called, “Happiness Project.” One review described her project as “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love…” Having absolutely loved Eat, Pray, Love (I highly recommend it; Julie Roberts is set to star in it August 13th), I thought this might be a book I’d really like to read. After thinking about it for about a month, I finally bought it.
I’ve decided that I’m going to write my own little thoughts throughout my reading. I figure I’ll benefit from it more if I reflect on my feelings and thoughts. I’m not sure if I can explain my reasons for choosing to read this book. When I was trying to describe it to B, he said, “Well aren’t you happy?” Me: “Yes, but I feel like I could be happier. It’s hard to explain.” By the first page of the book, I was sold: Gretchen writes, “I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting me life.” I know I have a lot to be happy about: amazing family, boyfriend, friends, fantastic job, adorable and playful puppy, great health, youth, yada yada… BUT, I feel like I’m not taking advantage of what life has to offer. I want to do and experience more. And most importantly, I want to feel more relaxed, and less stressed and anxious.
Gretchen quotes the writer Colette: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” I think that’s the best way to describe how I’m feeling, and why I’m reading this book.
One very interesting thing Gretchen mentions in the introduction, and I recently heard about it on the Today show, is: “…in the determination of a person’s level of happiness, genetics accounts for about 50 percent; life circumstances, such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, health, occupation, and religious affiliation, account for about 10 to 20 percent; and the remainder is a product of how a person thinks and acts.” That makes sense.
To sum things up, I’m determined to dive into this so-called Happiness Project and find out what it’s all about. Who knows what I’ll learn and if my life will be different? But if the purpose is to try to become happier, I figure I’ve got nothing to lose!
Have you read The Happiness Project, or know anyone who has? What are your thoughts?


Breakthrough

Well, it’s been over a week since I had my first “Big Girl” breakdown, and I’m here to say that things have definitely turned around! Instead of continuing to feel bad for myself, I decided to reorganize my life. I took my mama’s advice and am waking up early (before the sun) and getting all of my Master’s work done before going into work. Even after taking Indy on a thirty minute walk, I still have time to read the paper and watch a little Martha. Then, when I come home from work, all I have to do is fix dinner (unless it’s already been made… always nice), play with the pup, and read my book. (I’m currently reading “Eat, Pray, Love”) Oh yeah, and visit with my boyfriend—ALWAYS the best part of my day!! Mom’s are always right….

Morning walks:
Such a big boy, he can already walk himself!

Speaking of mom’s, mine had a birthday this weekend. I went home to celebrate with her. She, along with my dad, got to meet my little fur baby. And Indy got to meet more members of the family, Sassy and Joey (Shih Tzu and Yorkie). They were so cute playing with one another!

They look too cute in their bandanas:

So to sum things up, I’m really thankful for my breakdown because in turn, I was able to have a great (and very necessary) breakthrough. Thank you for all of your encouraging comments!