Blair Ashby
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I Invite You to a Meaningful Life Built on Self-Compassion
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A picture of an Aspen tree in early fall that is already starting to change its colors from green to yellow.
Anticipation is a real pleasure and problem for me. Frequently I love the build-up and waiting for something, but in that waiting, I often start to create imaginary stories. Those imaginations are usually not even close to the truth, which happens once the anticipated event has come to pass. In other words, I invent futures that have no bases in reality.

Anticipation becomes a problem for me when I glue emotions to my imaginary futures. When the future anticipation happens, if I have an attachment to an outcome or an expectation about how it will unfold, and the event doesn’t meet my emotional plans, I feel negative emotions. The problem here is, all of those negative emotions are unnecessary. I didn’t have to experience them!
I can hear the protests already.

No, I’m not advocating living a life of zero emotions. Emotions bring color and meaning to our lives. Instead, I’m suggesting that it’s possible to feel, enjoy (or not enjoy) feelings without unnecessary additional negative emotions tied to them. The key here is the word unnecessary. And the secret is staying grounded or aware.

The Secret is Staying Grounded or Aware

Okay, I realize this doesn’t sound like a fun article, but stay with me for a few minutes. I’d like to write about a couple of ways you can live a life that is much happier, much fuller, and much more content. I should mention, though, if you’re looking for a magic pill that ends all negative emotions, maybe you should find a genie in a bottle. That is about the only ways one can end negative emotions and still be alive. In other words, there is no such thing as a life without feelings, positive or negative.

What I’m writing about are unnecessary negative emotions. We can pretty much avoid these with some practice and initial effort.

How Does One Do This?

Unnecessary emotions are emotions we glue to an idea, situation, thought, memory, or anything which comes to us via our five senses. As humans, when we tie emotions and situations together, we very quickly start to replace the situation with the feelings that we have linked to it. That’s when our problems generally start. Once we begin to think of our emotions as the definition of a situation, we no longer deal with reality. Instead, we deal with how we feel, and that can be very different than the situation.

Whether it be in anticipation or everyday life, to avoid the unnecessary feelings, we have to purposefully let go of the emotions or pressures we have glued to an event or idea. We may find it difficult, especially in the beginning. The easiest way I found to do this is to ask myself three questions in every situation:

Am I feeling anything? Yes or no.

What am I feeling? I try to define the emotions as precisely as possible.

What do I want from this situation? What I want Sometimes takes some effort to get down to my more profound motivations.

With Practice, Things Changed

Eventually, I realized that by letting go of the emotions and pressures tied to a situation, I wasn’t changing the situation or anything outside of me. Instead, I was internally addressing what I felt about the situation. The situation stayed the same. In a short time, I started to see options that existed that I couldn’t see when I was auto-reacting to the pressure I felt. I found this to be a tremendous insight! I discovered possibilities that I couldn’t see before. Those possibilities that gave me some actual control over my life, not just a sense of control which emotions that my emotions wanted.

After I learned to let go of the emotions and pressures that I had tied to events or ideas, I started to realize that my life became more comfortable.  If I didn’t bind how I felt to a plan, I didn’t need to let it go. With practice, it became almost second nature just to allow events to happen without gluing my anticipation to it.

I felt I had a giant leap forward because I now had the freedom to enjoy positive experiences immensely and let negative experiences just pass through me without unnecessary suffering. I could allow my emotions to form and disappear as clouds do in the sky. It is fairly natural for me now – well, at least 85.37% of the time – to just let an idea, experience, or event happen with no attachment interfering with my participation in it.

Does this mean I feel no emotions? Not a chance! I still feel them very strongly. Generally, I just don’t feel very much pressure to react. Instead, I deal with the actual situation instead of the anticipation in my head. It also means I have much more energy to fully enjoy events because I‘m not wasting energy trying to create my expected emotions, and, generally, I can’t build them anyway. It’s a win/win scenario, no matter whether it’s negative or positive.

In Conclusion

Life has pressures and emotions in it all the time! Period. Usually, it is easy to notice when we live in anticipation. Additionally, we can’t and probably don’t want to be without emotions. We just do not need to let them rule us and our reactions. We can choose a better, happier, more satisfying path. Letting go of emotions is one way to start. Eventually, we learn, if we don’t glue ourselves to a feeling, we don’t have to let it go. With practice, this becomes natural. I can attest, it’s a great way to live!
If you have found that you live in Anticipation so much it is robbing you of your daily joy, please contact me here.

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Posted May 9, 2014
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Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
Please read the full disclosure here.

©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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