By Jenny Peterson
(For an audio version of this blog, listen to episode #37 of my podcast)
Have you ever bought a supplement that you heard so many good things about, got so excited that it was going to give you results, took it and nothing happened?
Or have you done a healing protocol that made you feel hopeful and had expectations that it was going to be the one that finally helped you and yet again, you didn’t get the results?
Do you have expectations about your healing that are negatively affecting your healing? If I had to take a guess, you probably do.
The disappointment that you feel when things that you invest your time and energy on don’t work out, is all back to the expectations.
The expectations that you have of your body, healing, others, and yourself go beyond just expectations, they, as with everything, have connections to subconscious patterns.
Today I’m talking about those expectations and the possible subconscious connections to them.
I see so many places where expectations cause a person's own suffering working with those that have chronic illness and I’m discussing 6 of those areas today. These include expectations with others, your body, healers, your healing, life and yourself.
#1: OTHER PEOPLE
When we’re feeling like poo, we have a tendency to put expectations on others. We want others to understand our situation, cater to us, read our minds, not trigger us, be with us, help us, hold our hands, etc.
When they fall short of these expectations, we have a tendency to experience feelings like hurt, disappointment, sadness, and more.
One of the very first things I learned when it came to working on my subconscious mind, was that my feelings are mine, no one can make me feel anything but me.
This is very important to remember, especially for those of you that call yourself empaths. Which is a whole different topic but, I want to just plant this seed about feelings. How we respond to others not meeting our expectations, specifically around chronic illness, is back to our own poo (subconscious patterns).
When I was sick, I had expectations of my husband. I expected him to understand what I was going through, help me find the answers, or help me get out of my panic attacks. Be there next to me when I was having a panic attack, holding my hand, reassuring me that I was ok and wasn’t dying.
The problem was that I was expecting something from him that he didn’t know how to give.
He didn’t know how to respond the way I wanted him to. He’s not wired that way. So when he didn’t do those things, I felt unimportant and not loved by him. The expectations I had for him were what I needed him to meet in order to make ME feel safe. Those were my old wounds showing up.
My perception of what he did and didn’t do for me was all about MY stuff and nothing to do with him. He loved me and I was very important to him. When he didn’t meet the expectations that I was putting on him, I was causing my own pain.
My own feelings of not feeling important or loved came from me. You can’t feel something that you don’t have references to, because feelings are memories. They are subconscious programs. So when I was feeling not important or loved, this really wasn’t about him, this was about my patterns from childhood and they were showing through in these moments and expectations.
Just this situation alone, of me thinking this way about him, that I wasn’t important or loved by him, was enough to put my body in a conflict state. So every time a situation happened that “made me feel” this certain way, it interrupted my healing. These were old tracks popping up, reactivating my nervous system.
When someone has been stuck in survival mode for years, they disconnect from and lose trust in themselves. They look to others to save them. That's a normal pattern for those with chronic illness. But it's also a pattern that if it doesn’t change will continue negatively affect your healing.
Another place that I had expectations was with my mom.
I expected my mom to understand the trauma that I was working through from childhood. When I told her about my trauma, she basically blew it off like it was nothing because she had never heard it before and because my brother didn’t seem to have been fazed by what we both experienced.
Expecting someone that experienced her own trauma to understand my trauma only caused myself pain. I was hurt that she didn’t empathize with me and wanted her to understand that I was working through this trauma as a way of my healing. Because I expected her to understand, I caused my own hurt.
Once I realized that asking someone to understand what I went through, who had their own shit that they never dealt with, was only asking for disappointment. I stopped expecting her to understand and I stopped talking about what I was working on for my own healing.
I didn’t need to look to her to get validated, I knew that the validation for what happened to me needed to come from myself.
The truth is that our partners, family and friends don’t know what we’re going through. In the beginning, they’re willing to be more available. Support you in the ways that maybe you desire, but after some time, they too get sick of us being sick. They don’t know how to respond anymore or how to make us feel better. They really are doing the best that they can with what they know.
We can’t expect others to change because we feel like shit or “they make us feel like shit”.
The only thing we can depend on successfully changing are our perceptions towards them.
Realizing that how we respond to these expectations that we put on others are our own wounds and don’t have anything to do with them.
Stop and think for a moment, what are you expecting from others (partner/family) when it comes to your healing? When they don’t meet those expectations, how does it make you feel?
Your answer is a window into your old wounds (subconscious patterns).
When you let go of those patterns, you no longer set those expectations on others to make you feel safe. Instead you provide your own safety.
#2: YOUR BODY
When you have a cut, do you sit and yell at it, saying, heal dang it, why are you taking so long?!
When I say it that way, it sounds foolish right? No one does that, they just put a bandaid on it and let their body do its thing.
Sometimes that cut needs only a couple days to heal and other times a few weeks. But either way, no one really sits and talks about how long their cut is taking to heal because we know at some point it is going to heal.
Then why on earth are things so different when it comes to healing chronic symptoms? One of the reasons is that the outside world tells us that healing should be fast, just take a pill and all your problems will go away.
Having expectations like this on your body only causes frustration and keeps your brain and body stuck in conflict.
Your brain and body has been stuck in survival mode for as long as you’ve had chronic symptoms. Often even longer because it takes some time for symptoms to show.
During that time, your body systems are building up or breaking down, depending on what body system is affected.
So once your body stops getting messages of threat, it starts its healing process.
I wish we had a message from the body at that time that said, if you no longer send messages of threat to this body system, you can expect to heal within 5 days. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Amazing yes, but only wishful thinking.
The healing process is not something that we can control or even predict. There is a lot to do depending on how long that body system has been building up or breaking down.
If you have expectations that your body must heal in a certain amount of time and it doesn’t meet those expectations, you’re only causing yourself your own frustration. In addition, you could cause another self devaluation conflict by telling yourself that there must be something wrong with your body that you're not healing as fast as what you should be.
What is often under the expectation of our bodies is fear. If we give it an expectation and it doesn’t meet it, then it must mean that there is something wrong with it or that its failing us.
So, the expectation is just amplifying the fear that we so much want to avoid. That is our subconscious just trying to protect us. If we fear that there is something wrong with our body, no matter what timeline we put on it to heal, that fear will come true. Thats how the reticular activating system in your brain works.
What we fear is where all the attention goes and we naturally attract things to support that fear.
By putting an expectation on how our body is suppose to heal or how fast, we are sabotaging our own healing.
Your body will heal at its own pace, it knows exactly what to do. Your job is to keep your head in the right lane so that the healing process doesn’t get interrupted.
Instead of putting expectations on your body and how it should be healing, replace those expectations with trust. Trust to a nervous system that is heightened takes time to build. A lack of safety and trust is wired into the subconscious.
But it needs to start with small actions.
I want you to remember, your body has always been there for you. Its kept you alive even on days that you felt like you were minutes from death.
Even when you didn’t trust it, its been there for you. Imagine what will happen when you let go of the expectations and you TRUST instead.
When you have chronic symptoms, you go protocol to protocol, healer to healer, doctor to doctor, searching for the magic solution. We put high expectations on these people and protocols. We expect them to heal us, give us the magic solution.
This is to be expected because society tells us that is what we do when we don’t feel well. We go to someone that has the answers. We’re not taught that the answers are within us.
If you went to your doc for digestive issues and he said well let's talk about what happened recently that was difficult for you to digest and how we can have a plan moving forward to respond to life differently than with anger, you would be shocked right?
A true healer or doctor is a teacher. This type of doctor would teach you how to find the solution within yourself rather than give a magic pill to you.
The number one question I get is, can your program heal me? This question again is back to how we have been programmed to put trust in others to “fix us.”
There are such big expectations that we put on the things we invest in. But what if that investment was in YOU rather than a program or product. When it's in yourself, you see it in a completely different way.
You no longer look to the product, healer, or protocol to heal you. You look to yourself.
This can be hard because subconscious patterns of the fear of failing or not being able to trust yourself can show up. When it's the product or program, then a person can blame the product or program for not working.
What I can tell you is that we teach our students to have trust in themselves and their body. That comes from getting rid of old subconscious patterns. Once they do that, their body follows and their symptoms go away. We aren’t doing the work for them, we are just telling them the actions that they need to take to let go of their subconscious patterns. The rest is up to them.
When searching for the missing piece to your healing, rather than looking for the person, product, or protocol that you expect to heal you, look instead for a teacher that provides a clear plan for you to be the healer you are seeking. This takes away all the expectations on a product or person and puts the ability to heal back into your hands which is where the power belongs.
Expecting someone or something to wave the magic wand and make everything better is wishful thinking.
It is so natural for us to want D to follow A, B, C, and for reward to immediately follow any hard work we do. However, life doesn’t always work that way, and health certainly does not either.
The healing process is NOT linear. So many practitioners and patients expect it to be, which only sets them up for failure, and ultimately leaves people feeling hopeless.
It really saddens me when I hear people give up when they hit their first obstacle – their first slip, stagger, step-back, or what I call ‘their first zig’ in their zig zag journey to recovery.
99% of the time this set back means that they are ACTUALLY healing. But because they have not been informed about what the healing process looks like or what happens in the mind when you try shifting old subconscious patterns, they think that it's not working.
The healing journey is NOT linear. Sometimes it can be two steps forward, one step back, and other times it can be three steps backward and one step forward. At times, it will feel like you moved up 10 steps in a second, and other times it feels like you are stuck in the same spot for days. I see this zig zag journey with every single student in MBR. We have a metric system that tracks this and at the end you can visually see the zig zag pattern that they went through.
Which brings me to another expectation that I hear. Expecting to heal at the same speed that others have.
If Suzy got better in 6 months why can’t I? I have worked with hundreds of students in the last 3 years and I can tell you that every person heals at their own speed. The biggest factor that is going to influence this speed is how fast you shift your old patterns.
Everyone’s subconscious is wired differently. There are those that have had experiences and thoughts in their life that they experienced a few times and there are others that have revisited that experience or thought pattern thousands upon thousands of times. A pattern not traveled as much will be easier to shift than a pattern that has been visited many times over.
We have had students finally let go of old patterns 2 weeks before ending the program and leave with no symptoms. I’ve seen some students make that shift 3 months into the program and leave with no symptoms.
The symptoms will go when your mind is at peace. So the goal is to focus on letting go of the old patterns. Those patterns are unique to you and require a targeted plan to help you overcome them.
The key is to keep your eyes on the target – on the end goal, not the expectation. You just have to trust the journey, and commit yourself to work on your health daily until you reach your goal.
Don’t set yourself up for failure with the wrong expectations, but expect that your body is going to take its time to come back into balance after you do the work. Expect that there will be struggles, it's not going to be smooth sailing the whole time. But it is those struggles that are going to make you stronger and provide you with the insight that is necessary for healing.
Throughout your chronic illness journey, you have probably wondered why this is happening to you. Why your husband that eats crap isn’t sick or your friend Heather who had past trauma doesn’t have chronic conditions like you do. Why are they “ok” and you're not?
Expecting life to be easy or not have challenges is going to leave you disappointed. We have not been given a shield protecting us from misfortune, but there is within all of us the strength to deal with misfortune, to overcome it, and learn from it.
What is happening in your life right now is supposed to be. It is part of your journey. It is part of why you’re here.
If you sit and compare your life story or your diet to someone else and wonder why they don’t have what you have, its a waste of your time and energy. You don’t know what their life's journey is. These symptoms are here for you to learn, to grow. You might not see what exactly that means right now but one day you will.
Maybe you're experiencing this so you can break old patterns of unworthiness, or generational patterns of people pleasing. There is a message within each of your symptoms that your subconscious is trying to tell you.
I can remember when I was young, always getting sprained ankles, acne and then getting into my bike accident. I would ask myself and even my mom, how come all these things are happening to me and not other kids? I felt like life was so much harder for me than others. But if it wasn’t for those times, I would have never went into studying herbalism and nutrition, opening my wellness store, burning out and getting sick, which led me to where I am today.
I sure wish I could have skipped a few of those steps and just went to what I know now but that’s not how it works.
It's through my past symptoms and this work that I now teach, that my life has completely changed. I have shifted generational patterns from my family, have confidence and trust in myself, handle life in a healthy way and I’ve been able to pass this work onto my son which is the most powerful tool that you can give your children.
So did life really hand me a bag of bad apples? I don’t see it that way. And if it did, I made applesauce.
Your life is no different. Whatever expectations you are putting on it of how it is supposed to look, let them go. Instead see this journey that you are on as a beacon for what lies ahead.
Disappointments are helpful.
The feeling of disappointment has been categorized as a "bad" or "negative" emotion, so we try to avoid it at all cost. But disappointments are some of the most useful emotions to feel.
When we feel disappointment, that's a little red flag letting us know that maybe someone has crossed our personal boundaries or we held too high of expectations of someone or put too much pressure on ourselves, maybe we need to learn to set healthy boundaries with ourselves. As a result, we're able to use the disappointment to grow and develop into who we want to be.
Now these expectations that we put on life and how it should look go much deeper. They are often connected to patterns of not feeling safe. When we don’t feel safe, life doesn’t feel safe.
This lack of safety bleeds into all areas of our life. So when we don’t want to be disappointed or handle what life hands us, it's our subconscious protecting us from feeling unsafe. It doesn’t want to go there. 99.9% of people that have chronic illness don’t feel safe.
This can come in many forms. Not feeling safe in the world, not feeling safe in being themselves or speaking up, not feeling safe in the future and much more.
When subconscious patterns of un-safety are addressed, all expectations of what life is supposed to look like go away because we feel safe to handle anything that comes our way.
We’re so good at putting pressure on ourselves. Headaches anyone?
After nothing has worked, you turn to yourself and say, I need to figure this out on my own. You work night and day on searching, trying different things that you read. You put these high expectations on yourself that if no one can figure it out, then you have to.
Now there is some truth to this, that this is work that you need to do on your own, but figuring out all the subconscious connections on your own is nearly impossible. You will not see your own poo.
When someone has an expectation to figure it all out on their own, there is most likely subconscious patterns connected to it. At least I’ve seen that in several students.
For example, figuring it out on your own may mean that then you can be the victor, you can say, I did it all on my own. See, I told you I was smart. A person that may do this may be spending their whole life trying to prove to their parents or people that they are good enough. And healing themselves versus having someone else help them would help them continue that cycle.
Another one that I see is the pattern of perfection. High expectations of yourself as well as others, can come from this pattern. What is really underneath this is a fear of failure. So when a person is putting high expectations on themselves to heal or do a particular program or protocol perfectly, it is really this fear that is driving the bus. This causes a never ending cycle of beating yourself up for not getting it right.
The truth is that you're going to fail.
Failure isn’t the problem, it's the meaning that you're giving it. There are most likely subconscious patterns that you have that support why failure feels bad. Growing up with parents that had high expectations is often a root to that. When we didn’t meet their expectations, we were met with disappointment or rejection. To the brain, disappointment or rejection is pain and it wants to avoid feeling that again. So it wants to avoid failing at all costs which is what is driving the need to be perfect.
Whatever expectations you’re putting on yourself to figure it out or do it perfectly, there is a subconscious fear driving that expectation. To find that out, ask yourself, if I don’t meet this expectation that I am putting on myself, what does that make me? The answer to that will be the belief that is really at the core of these expectations that you are putting on yourself.
It is that belief that needs to be shifted so you can take off all the pressure you are putting on yourself, which is on a subconscious level keeping your brain and body in a conflict state, which is interrupting your healing.
When we don’t meet these high expectations that we put on ourselves, what follows? It's usually negative self talk, beating yourself up. That kind of thinking is a threat to your brain and body.
PROS AND CONS
Expectations shape our reality. Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all affected. This makes them extremely impactful.
However, what few people realize is that expectations are complex. Having them can have both positive and negative outcomes.
The ones that I went through today are the expectations that can cause negative outcomes and interrupt your healing.
But there are some expectations that are good to have. Like in a relationship, at a job, etc.
For example, if you and your romantic partner don't have an "expectations" discussion and assume you both share a general understanding about fidelity, there will be major disappointments if someone cheats. However, when there are clear expectations about what each considers acceptable and unacceptable about involvement with others, you're able to choose (of your own free will) whether or not you can live with those terms.
So I’m not saying that having expectations is bad. Instead I encourage you to look specifically at the expectations you have regarding your healing to see which of those are negatively affecting you.
So, lets recap the expectations I covered regarding your healing:
Expectations with others and how they should be helping you with your healing brings out your old wounds.
Expectations on your body, healing, life and yourself can be driven by fears of failure, lack of trust in yourself and a lack of feeling safe.
These expectations that you have around these areas are not only interrupting your healing but in many ways are causing our own suffering. They are not something you are consciously doing. Remember that the subconscious is running the show 90% of the time. Patterns of fear and not feeling safe are bleeding into all areas of our life, even expectations.
It is these patterns that are driving your expectations. And ultimately when you work on those underlying patterns, expectations fall to the wayside. Which means you don’t create your own suffering anymore! What a great side effect to letting go of your old shit right?!
Take some time to take a good look at what expectations you are putting on yourself, your body and others with your healing. Where are you putting too high of expectations that cause stress on you or those around you? Where can you set healthy boundaries with yourself and others within those expectations?
This is what this work is about. Self awareness. Bringing what is subconscious conscious. Taking action to do something about it. Unwiring the old and rewiring the new.
If you're ready to identify and resolve the unconscious patterns connected to your symptoms so you can finally heal for good, fill out an MBR application to see if you're a good fit for MBR.
You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.
Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those with chronic symptoms how to stop fearing their body, identify the root cause to their symptoms and how to be their own healer. Learn more about MBR here.