Photo Credit: Chuttersnap,

I have a delightful little puppy running around my house. She’s sweet . . . she’s also a royal pain in the butt!

There’s the chewing on shoes, socks, and toys. Of course, she’s also a fan of waking up early, crawling under the bed at 4:30 in the morning, and barking whenever any lifeform comes within 100 yards of our house.

Recently, I knew it was time to let her out to “go potty.” But I couldn’t help but check one more email. Well, you can probably guess what happened. She had an accident.


Feelings of frustration rushed over me, and I quickly got her outside in hopes that she left some “in the tank” (and didn’t completely unload on the thick white carpet).

So I cleaned the carpet (as she lapped up another healthy drink of water), and the feeling of frustration really stuck with me.

Everyone I interacted with experienced a much shorter and less patient version of myself (i.e. I was a jerk).

Finally, after some time, my awareness kicked in and I realized what was going on:

My Thoughts created my Frustration which resulted in my Experience!

I saw how my expectations that my puppy “shouldn’t” have any accidents in the house, I “shouldn’t” have to spend time cleaning carpets, and that I “should” check email all culminated in my experience of frustration.

Perhaps the most important word in my tale is “expectations.” And the second most important word is “should” which you make by combining Shame with Could (Shame + Could = Should)

Expectations, like fear, can be a powerful servant or a terrible master.

I’m notorious for setting high expectations for myself. And I, obviously, have high expectations for my puppy. Of course, parenting brings a whole truck-load of expectations for myself and my kids.

But at what cost?

As I reflect on this notion, my expectations seem to generate feelings of stress, frustration, and concern.

Can I live without expectations? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s feasible to eradicate expectations from my life. Perhaps–due to the nature of balance–there are expectations that lead to stress and others that lead to joy! But the more I cling to expectations, the more I’m blocking the powerful energy of ACCEPTANCE from myself.

So, starting with this article . . .

I choose to dive deeper into my thoughts that are built on EXPECTATIONS and the results that I experience.

How about you? When you pause to think about expectations, what comes up for you?

This article isn’t about providing answers, per se. It’s about connecting with our human nature and to paint a clearer picture of how we work. Because when we do, we come to better understand WHO we are.

Get to know yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit are the only things you TRULY own for your entire life. So gift yourself the time and space to get to know YOU. Because when you do, you can make more conscious choices that SUPPORT who you are, what you value, and how you want to show up in life.

I want to show up as balanced, flexible, growth-oriented, inspiring–and, of course–full of acceptance. So, for me, it’s worth it to take the time to consider any thoughts that pull me away from how I want to show up. And, with the help of a great coach, we all have the same potential to show up in ways that bring joy, happiness, and peace.

Crossing the TEA’s

Now, let’s check out the energy levels behind these Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions:

Low-Energy TEA:

  • Thoughts: I should be more [INSERT EXPECTATION HERE]. You shouldn’t [INSERT EXPECTATION HERE]. He/She should [INSERT EXPECTATION HERE].
  • Emotions: Frustration, Stress, Anxiety, Concern, Irritation, Judgement
  • Actions: Call out myself and others when they don‘t meet expectations and say “I told you so” when myself or others DO meet expectations. Respond reactively.

High-Energy TEA:

  • Thoughts: Today, I am acceptance.
  • Emotions: Curious, Peaceful, Open, Flexible, Surprised
  • Actions: Act in a way that aligns with HOW I want to show up, then curiously observe how life unfolds.

“A Warrior acts; only a fool reacts.”

Dan Millman from Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Photo Credit: Chuttersnap,