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Lowering Expectations: Why It’s Okay to Just Exist Right Now

So, you made some epic plans for this summer, which have very likely been canceled. No one really knows when things will return to normal, and we’re all looking for ways to be productive and positive during this time.

But is this the answer? Should we continue pushing ourselves towards productivity, motivation, and optimism in the middle of a global health pandemic?

The fact is, this has been an uncertain, challenging, and scary year. And while summer vibes typically feel beachy, sunny, and positive, this might be the best time ever to simply allow yourself to exist – to stop putting pressure on yourself to be successful and energetic.

Adjusting Our Perspective

Chances are, we’re all going to be making some physical and emotional adjustments this summer, unsure of how to best fill our time. That’s why we’re here today to talk about the benefits of emotional acceptance – allowing yourself to feel exactly how you feel, whether it’s positive of negative.

Sometimes it’s okay to feel bad; sometimes it’s okay to lay in bed for a day; and now is the time to listen to your body, follow your intuition, and give yourself a break. While you probably aren’t told to lower your expectations very often, this may be exactly what you need right now.

Why Lowering Your Expectations Can Be A Good Thing

We all want to make the most out of life, aware that it is short and uncertain. There is nothing wrong with wanting to experience it all, taste every flavor on Earth, travel the world, and soak in the culture of your global neighbors. We love positivity and adventure here at Daily Life, but we have to collectively recognize that we’re living through an unprecedented experience.

Most of us have not been alive long enough to face a global health pandemic, and we were not prepared to handle such an event with grace. It’s okay if you feel like you’re going stir-crazy while self-isolating or following quarantine measures set in place by most countries.

It’s most likely that you never expected to live through such an event, which makes sense. But we have to find a way to face this reality with a bit of acceptance.

Things Don’t Always Go To Plan

This is a statement that rings true right now. You may have had grand expectations for the year 2020, or perhaps for the summer season. It’s hard to reconcile with reality, which is that many of us will have to get used to being far less productive and adventurous than we’d prefer. This is why lowering your expectations can be the saving grace that pulls you through this challenging time.

Lowering your expectations for this year can help you accept the reality of it, allowing you to find different ways to connect with those you love and enjoy your free time. This can also help avoid spending the foreseeable future feeling disappointed about things that are out of your control.

A person standing in front of a sunset, they have their arms open in acceptance.

Why Feeling Bad is Okay Sometimes

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you spend your time trying to better yourself as a person, gather strength, and focus on positivity. Making an effort to be an optimistic person is a wonderful, worthwhile activity; however, there are times where it is certainly appropriate to experience negative feelings.

This has been a challenging and scary year in a lot of ways, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a little funky about it. Most people have had many big events and fun plans canceled, many of us have been isolated from our friends and family. And many people have become fearful for their health or even sick themselves. It makes sense if you don’t necessarily feel like singing a round of “Kumbaya” right now.

While you should try not to allow yourself to fall into a pit of despair, don’t deny yourself the right to feel however you feel right now. Try writing about your feelings, which is a safe and effective way to release negativity. You can also talk to your loved ones about the emotions weighing on your heart. Whatever you do, just don’t bottle them all up or try to convince yourself that they don’t exist.

Related Article: Why All Emotions Are Good Emotions

How to Give Yourself a Break

One of the most difficult aspects of this time is the feeling of being unproductive. Some people are working from home and many have lost their jobs. In other words, a lot of us are feeling like we’re not creating enough in this world, like we’re not contributing as much as we can. You may be pressuring yourself to use your time wisely, but it’s time to give yourself a break.

Listen, we get it. You want to put yourself out there. You want to be the best version of yourself that you can be. You want to give something to the world. But right now, one of the best things that you can do for the world is to focus on staying safe and healthy. The world needs you and your unique gifts, and your health is the most important aspect of your life to focus on right now.

A person runs through the water, carefree.

Conclusion: You Are Valid

Stop fretting about whether or not you’re “doing enough,” and start wondering what more you could be doing for yourself. This is the perfect time to start defying toxic productivity – that feeling that you’re never quite doing enough – and start embracing your newfound free time.

If you feel like spending the day in your pajamas, do so with pride. If you’ve gained a few quarantine pounds, embrace them. Try using this time to explore yourself, your hobbies, the things that bring you joy and make you tick. Stop worrying about whether you’re producing enough or using your time wisely and start following your heart.

Related Article: Internal Appreciation: Learning to Love Yourself When You’re Lonely

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

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