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The X in Expectation

By Monique Rhodes

September 2, 2022


We've all experienced those times when we get our hopes up about something really important, only to be let down by reality. This can lead to crushing disappointment and even depression if you don't learn how to manage your expectations properly.

Yesterday I had the joy of watching Serena Williams power her way into the third round of the U.S. Open. Serena Williams comes into this tournament as the underdog, as she currently ranks 605th in the world. And yet yesterday, Serena beat the world's number 2 player Anett Kontaveit. 

In her interview after the match with Mary Joe Fernandez, Serena explained why she is playing so well despite being ranked so low. 

"I don't have anything to prove. I don't have anything to win. I have absolutely nothing to lose," she said. "Honestly, I never get to play like this since '98 really. Literally, I've had an X on my back since '99. It's kind of fun. I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that."

It can be helpful for us to contemplate what Xs we have placed on our backs. Are they the expectations of our families, partners, church, or culture, or are they Xs that we had imposed on ourselves when we were young and keep pinned to our backs out of habit? 

Expectation is a surefire way to sap the joy out of our lives. We are less open to creativity, the joy and lessons that trying new things bring, and most of all, the fun of life. 

Is it time to contemplate which Xs are keeping you stuck?

I don't know what is going to happen at this U.S. Open. But I sure am excited to see the Greatest Of All Time playing in her final tournament with nothing to lose. I don't think it gets more exciting than this. 

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