Once upon a time when I was a teenager and feeling like things were hopeless my Mom said to me, "Expect the unexpected." I was miserable because something in my life ended that I did not want to give up. She was trying to tell me that good things can come out of bad things. As long as you are willing to embrace the notion that what waits around the corner for you is something more beautiful than you could have predicted. Don't limit yourself to what you already know.
Feeling hopeless that things can change for the better is common for teenagers as well as adults sometimes. When my Mom and I had that conversation about the unexpected I remember feeling comforted and unsettled at the same time. As the years have gone by I realize like among other things my Mom told me, expecting the unexpected was completely and utterly true. The trick is that you have to choose how you feel about the unexpected. You can never completely predict where your life is going to go. You just have to live in the moment and enjoy where you are right now. At the same time you have to be able to not be afraid of where the future may take you. You have to see the unexpected as an opportunity to grow. There is a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that I absolutely love and try to remember when I am in a situation that makes me squirm:
“I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest"- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you
are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or internally),and if you are truly
willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you
meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared - most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities
about yourself....then truth will not be withheld from you." Or so I've come to believe.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
The unexpected is so scary and so unsettling because you have no control over it. When it comes to your mental health wanting to be able to avoid the unexpected can lead to anxiety and depression. Not allowing yourself to feel what you feel or lean into that discomfort of the unknown keeps you stuck. After some time, anxiety paralyzes you into a space where you doubt yourself. The unexpressed wants and feelings you have morph into depression and depression makes your mind think all kinds of hurtful and unhealthy thoughts. These thoughts keep you from recognizing your potential or enjoying your life. When you expect the expected and expect things to be just the way they are right now you handicap yourself and can become bitter and rigid.
Just imagine if you weren't scared of the future? Imagine that no matter what happened you would be ok and thankful for the experience. Just imagine if you never had another negative thought about yourself or other people for that matter. Go ahead, close your eyes and imagine it. Didn't you just feel a little piece of heaven? Did you feel like someone unlocked your jail cell? Freedom from fear and expected outcomes is an amazing thing! Of course you have to practice this and remind yourself like I have to that the unexpected is a good thing. What if you did something unexpected and let go of the past hurts? Start fresh, it feels so good! Embrace the unknown. It is awesome what things can develop that you had no idea could materialize.