Expectations, Gratitude and the Dreaded Jinx

Okay, that’s a bit of a loaded title. It’s really three concepts that could probably each warrant their own post, but for me they’re all tied up in each other. Bear with me as I get a little existential here. For one thing, I never really know what to expect with my girls so I like to acknowledge and celebrate when things are going well. When Madison is spending a few minutes playing by herself I want to point it out to Matt. When Mallory sleeps well a few naps or nights in a row I want to celebrate by saying it out loud. When Madison is having a streak of really good days at daycare and her teacher tells me so, I want to say “she’s been very cooperative at home too. I think she’s learning how fun and easy that can be!” When Mallory doesn’t have any signs of the latest flu that Madison brought home, I want to express how grateful I am and that I hope it stays that way. But sometimes, when I say these things out loud I’m met with “Don’t jinx it!” and I feel a bit robbed of my joy.

I think our words and thoughts have power over what happens in our lives. We can participate in shaping our fate through our mindset. So, when we announce “I’m happy and healthy!” are we manifesting good things or cursing ourselves?

As a new mother I learned that the only thing predictable about a newborn is that they are unpredictable! Just when they start to form a pattern of sleep, they change it. Just when you’ve got the breastfeeding rhythm in place, they start refusing feeds or clambouring for more. And as they get a little older and start eating solids, you find something they like? Nope, not anymore! I’ve been dissappointed and frustrated by a lot of those surprises. Slowly, over time, I’ve found I can avoid the letdown if I just go with the flow. Try not to have any expectations of what they’re going to do, mostly when there is nothing I can do to control it.

It’s 9:00PM and I just heard a cough. Is Madison sick AGAIN? Is she going to have to stay home from daycare tomorrow and rock a miserable mood? Will my sleep be repeatedly interrupted tonight? Is my girl going to feel awful for days? Will poor Mallory get it too? Well… maybe. But maybe not. Does it help to worry about all that? No. Okay, those thoughts ran through my head. But it could go a totally different way. And I have no control over which way it goes. So what CAN I do? I can appreciate the last few weeks that were void of illness. I can appreciate the past hour I’ve had to sit and relax on the couch. I can go to bed early juuuuust in case. No expectations. Just gratitude and doing what’s in my control.

When things are going right and all seems well with the girls and with us, can I say so? Can I say my life is really good? I’m fortunate. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m comfortable. Why not? Where do jinxes come into play? Supposedly you can manifest success, whatever that may look like for you. You can repeat affirmations of things that are true of yourself to build yourself up and things you wish to be true so that over time you will embody them and be open to opportunities that make them come true. So would that be setting up expectations though? How can these ideas coexists?

It’s taking conscious effort to keep managing my expectations, practise gratitude and ignore that dreaded jinx. I still sometimes get disappointed, of course, or spin out with dread. I’m still pretty new to this. My hope is that with practice it will all become easier. I’m still figuring out where I stand I guess so here’s what I propose. Let’s drop the jinx and embrace gratitude to give ourselves a little more room to find a balance between managing our expectations and somehow still maintaining hope.

Related Reading

I’m no expert on Manifesting but I find it fascinating. If you want to know more about what it is and how to do it, check out the Oprah Daily and their 7 steps on How to Manifest Anything.

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