Expectations and control: the bane of our existence

3 min read
11 Mar

"Let the River Flow"

Louise Hay said some forty-years ago about the river of life. It's been my mantra now for the last three weeks. I even wrote it at the top of my notebook where I keep all of my notes about the website. When I get frustrated, I hear the phrase in my head, and I take a deep breath. I let go of my expectations, which immediately helps my frame of mind. 

I've struggled with expectations all of my life. While some people grow out of it, other's continue to keep high expectations, only to be let down again and again. It's the definition of insanity, but it's a hard habit to break. Letting go of expectations for me means letting go of control. There are so many parts of my life that I feel so out of control- my kids, my husband's career, that I try to find those areas where I can exert something. 

Expectations in a way, make me feel safe. By exerting control and having high expectations, I can count on something in the preparation of doing. It's like expecting to have a good run. If I expect to have a good run, while I'm putting on my shoes, I'm calmer, more relaxed. 

It's such a silly practice, because logically I know it doesn't help. Just because I expect to have a good run doesn't mean I will. But, it's scary not knowing, isn't it? Until my family got into a holiday routine, I used to get so anxious not knowing what was going to happen. I wouldn't sleep well worrying about upcoming events. I'd over-think everything, which just made it worse. I'd show up at the event stressed out and annoyed. I don't put on my best face when I have expectations. My face get's scrunched up, my brows go together (I can hear a friend I had in high school who would watch me doing this saying, "You are going to get wrinkles!") I don't look like someone you'd like to approach. It's too bad, too. When I'm relaxed and calm, I'm a pretty great person to be around. Yet, "anxious Nancy" drives everyone around her a little batty. 

All because of expectations.

I don't know about you, but life is definitely not what I thought it would be. I never pictured a white-picket fence, and I wasn't sure if I was going to have children. I pictured myself working in some high-stress job as a lawyer or professor. I'd have a husband that worked hard, too. We'd have take-out Chinese food on weeknights and run together on the weekends. 

Instead, I've been a stay at home mom for the last ten years. I gave up my "career" in the criminal justice field shortly before I became pregnant with my oldest (which is good because I was a miserable pregnant woman.) My husband and I run the gambit on dinners on weeknights, but we try to eat pretty healthy. Chinese food is reserved for Christmas day, and maybe the occasional summer evening when we are driving back from hiking in the White Mountains. Running on the weekends? Forget it. I somehow married a man who hates to run. He's tried in the past, but he's happy cheering for me on the sidelines and being my "support crew" during long runs. 

I never expected to be a mother of three. I never expected to loose a child. I never expected to have a child with Down Syndrome. I never expected to have a boy who is so over the top boy, I want to take him to my old Women's Studies professors from college and show them how gender really does have a genetic component. 

I never expected to get divorced. I never expected to live and make New England my home. (My idea of cold before we moved here five years ago was 50 degrees.) 

What did you never expect to do?

Where did you think you would be?

These expectations that I held on to, they only hurt me. Because I had this idea of what marriage and family looked like, I missed opportunities for joy that were right in front of me. Because I was so busy trying to control what I thought a "wife" should act like, or what my son's behavior should be, I missed crucial years in my marriage of my husband being with the "real" me. I missed the light that my son holds onto, even if it involves lots of dinosaurs and noise. 

Controlling people, plans, or things only hurts ourselves and those around us. It never, ever, helps.

All of this wasn't purposeful. I didn't have the insight to realize what I was doing early on in my marriage, or with my son. It was automatic, thanks in large part to my anxiety and issues I needed to work through. The only constant in my life was depression. I couldn't understand why for the longest time I couldn't shake the sadness or anxiety. It's only been through taking off all of my masks that I've started to realize how unhappy I really was. 

How do you know what you need to let go of? Think of what gives you anxiety. Start there. Maybe it's driving in traffic. Maybe it's board meetings. Maybe it's meeting new moms on a playdate. Make a list. Write everything down, no matter how silly. For me, my list of what I need to let go of include my fear of flying. I HATE flying, and yet I love traveling. I'm headed back to England in September, and I know I need to let that crap go. The tickets are already paid for and my husband will definitely not stand another "sorry I can't do this" as we are walking down to the plane. 

Your anxieties could be small. They could be big. Either way, each one affects you whether you are conscious of them or not. When you don't work through these things, they become bigger things. They bring on depression, sadness, and even more control issues. It doesn't help you to hold on to anything not bringing you joy. It's just keeping you from seeing the happiness right in front of you.

It's SO hard to find joy when you are in a place you didn't think you would be. I get it. Life is so freaking hard. But, we need to let go of where we thought would be. Me still holding onto becoming a lawyer does no good as I'm singing the days of the week song for the tenth time in a row. 

Accept where you are, right here, right now. This is where you are supposed to be.

Maybe it's not where you want to be- but it's where you need to be. We do the most growth when we are working through hard stuff. It sucks. If you are working through a diagnosis, or a health issue, my heart and prayers go out to you. Health issues can be the most frustrating because we don't understand why it's happening and if we'll ever get better. It's scary. I promise you, you are learning through it all. If you're a single mom working two jobs, you need to keep going mama, as you are setting a proud example for your children. If you're a stay at home mom, might I suggest watching the Bachelor as a source of escape? Oh, and take lots of baths with bubbles that overfill the tub. 

This is where you are supposed to be.


I wish I had the answer for every one of you. I wish I could throw my gift into the wind like compostable-glitter so you could receive the guidance and feel the peace of knowing. 

It's scary not knowing. 

I know that first-hand as a psychic medium. I wish I could be intuitive for myself. Instead, I have to rely on my faith of what I tell all of you. I have to let go of my expectations for what I thought this business would be, and trust that the people that need me will find me. I have to let go of the fact that I'm "just a stay at home mom" and instead focus on the fact that I'm watching my children grow up right before my eyes. 

When expectations are dropped, we can focus on the true experience- not what we think it will be, but what it is.

When we let go of control, we allow the Universe to work on our behalf. The Universe can't help us if we're trying to maneuver around it. When we let the river flow, we allow ourselves the opportunity of finding miracles and joy in the oddest of places.

Relax. The Universe is in charge. Allow life to come to you, and you will find what you have been missing. 

With love,


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