Feelings and beliefs are a big push and pull in our lives. Often we have beliefs how x will make us feel—sometimes they are accurate, other times not. Additionally, sometimes we should have expectations about how x is likely to make us feel, and we don’t—or, we have those expectations, but ignore them. There are always unknowns, embracing uncertainty, and taking calculated risks are part of life. At the same time, being attuned to reality and consciously choosing what pushes and pulls you is important for getting the most of what you want out of your life without getting lost or stuck places where you don’t want to be.
We might not always be aware of it, but our expectations (belief/assumption) of what will make us feel a certain way can significantly affect what we seek and what we avoid. Sometimes our expectations of how something will affect our feelings is accurate; other times our expectations are not accurate. Having inaccurate expectations of how something will make us feel might simply mean over- or underestimating the intensity of the feeling we think we will have. For example, there has been a time when you’ve dreaded something you’ve had to do, and, afterwards, it felt as negative or uncomfortable as expected. However, there have also been times when you’ve dreaded something you’ve had to do, but you realize afterwards that it didn’t make you feel as uncomfortable or negative as you expected. These beliefs about how x will make us feel can determine much of our behavior, and sometimes they aren’t even accurate.
By the same token, sometimes, based on experience, we know how something will likely make us feel—our beliefs and expectations are accurate—but we ignore what we know and do the opposite of the “logical” action which would either increase our positive feelings or decrease our negative feelings. For example, you might realize you have patterns of going into the same kind of relationship when all the other similar types of relationships you have entertained have had the same, unwanted outcome that results in pain. Or maybe you know that saying, “Yes” to working those extra, unnecessary hours will leave you feeling physically ragged and bring extra stress, but you choose to work them anyways.
Ultimately, we need to be aware of the expectations we have of going different directions and check their accuracy. Similarly, when we make decisions and go different directions, we need to be aware of potential likely outcomes—based on reality, not our belief system. There is no way of predicting the future or absolutely knowing how something will affect us. However, it is critical that we are aware of our expectations and choices, checking the accuracy of our expectations, considering likely outcomes, and making purposeful decisions based on what we know is accurate. Life is too precious to have your choices be swayed by inaccurate perceptions or have your path unfold by walking blindly.