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Exploring Expectation

How avoidance behaviour sparked radical acceptance of what is

By Sara KennedyPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Exploring Expectation
Photo by JM Lova on Unsplash

I’ve been exploring the theme of expectation and how it shows up and plays a part in my life.

This actually came up a number of weeks ago, when I was actively exploring some avoidance I was feeling.

So, let’s start there for a bit of context:

In my process of exploring the avoidance (and any adaptive behaviour, really), I use a model that allows me to reframe my thoughts and behaviours as a part of my wholeness, instead of labelling this avoidance behaviour as “bad” or “unwanted”.

Within my wholeness framework, and through embracing the anxiousness I was feeling towards the situation that I was avoiding, I realized that the situation had a lot of expectation built up around it 💡

I created this avoidance through my own expectations of an outcome!

It started when I professed a desire, a change; and my sneaky brain (I call it Brian), doing it’s job and trying to keep me safe, lured me into this avoidance and anxiety loop.

Because that’s worked to keep me alive in the past!

Remember: our brains are here to keep up alive, not to make us happy.

My brain knows it can survive anxiety, it knows it can survive avoidance. It’s uncomfortable for me, experiencing it, sure. But it has 30+ years of proof, that avoidance and anxiety responses (to actually non-threatening desires) KEEPS ME ALIVE. It knows we’ve survived this before, so it infers that we can survive it again. This is the safe path.

I thought back to other moments of unhappiness, distress even, discomfort, and pain…

Every single instance could be traced back to an EXPECTATION I had adopted, an expectation that was not met 🤯

This was like finding my power ⚡️the key to it all 🔑

So, I played with reframing my perspective.

And I went rather radical…

I applied this expectation shift to my own physical body.

For a bit more context, I experience a lot of chronic pain — largely in relation to my reproductive organs. I live with PCOS, and suspected Endometriosis. I carry trauma in my womb space. And I also carry a lot of expectations on how my body “should” work or function.

My body never promised to live a pain-free existence with me.

That is my expectation.

My body never promised that once something starts to “improve” pain-wise, that it will only continue to “improve”.

That is my expectation.

My existence was never designed to be pain-free.

That is my expectation.

Expectation shift:

The pain I experience is witnessed, it is welcomed, it is honoured for making itself known and alerting me to something that is out of balance within me. I release any expectations as to when it resolves, its intensity, and its potential (and probable) return.

Radical acceptance of what is.

Holy fuck did that pain ever feel different in that instance!

This is not a cure.

This is not to say you’re deserving of your pain, or that I am of mine.

This is not to say that this is some magic “fix”, this is absolutely not instant happiness. (Can someone please make an instant happiness advert, that is a play off of instant coffee?! 😆)

I’ve done a shit-ton of inner work to get here, to get where this feels safe to explore. Where I don’t feel invalidated by this frame.

So, if this doesn’t fit for you, that’s okay. Your own experience is still valid. If this is triggering to you, that’s fine too. Explore it if you want, or just move on ✌️

But if you’re curious, play with this. See what transforms.


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