The Mighty Logo

What I've Learned About Having Expectations With Fibromyalgia

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Having fibromyalgia can sometimes stop me from living my life to its fullest but I avoid this by letting go of expectations, keeping my spirits high by pacing myself, listening to my body, etc. We may place high expectations on ourselves of feeling better, doing more, of family and friends understanding, etc.

For most people, expectations happen when we have a picture in our head of how things are supposed to be, look and feel, and how we expect the people around us will behave and respond. We tend to set high expectations of ourselves and others. When we base our opinions of ourselves on meeting them, we can invite feelings of shame and failure. When we allow our happiness to be contingent upon others, we set ourselves up for resentment and disappointment.

I must always be conscious of my expectations. The fastest way for an expectation to morph into shame or resentment is for it to go unnoticed. I must work on making them realistic and avoid disappointment. With fibro, I always want to push myself more, thinking I can do more, and when those expectations fall short, I end up in a flare or depressed, and it’s like taking five giant steps backwards.

I try to have realistic expectations of what I can and cannot do. I also cannot expect my family and friends to always be there – it is not fair to them or myself to expect it. What we expect is in our hands. I believe it is better to accept reality and expect nothing, than to expect everything and experience reality.

We can live more courageously and learn how to overcome some fears, how we see ourselves and use our experiences for the good of others. We are worthy of love, belonging and joy now – as is.

So, I am fully aware of how negative expectations can diminish my
self-esteem and fuel unnecessary negativity, while positive expectations lead to motivation for positive actions.

What I have learned is to bring more happiness, positivity and productivity into my life. Negative expectations need to turn into realistic expectations. We must fail at some point in our lives, but the strongest people are the ones who can take that failure, learn from it and try harder.

Getty Image by Wavebreakmedia

Originally published: June 6, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home