We live in a world where everybody constantly expects something from everyone. We give to get something in return. We love expecting to be loved. We care expecting to be taken care of. We talk expecting to be heard. A bunch of expectations, are they not?
What happens though when someone or something doesn’t rise up to our expectations? What probably comes next is a sense of frustration and upheaval. We get annoyed at our partner, we blame our parents, we shout at our kids, we are rude to our colleagues. We start resenting others, feeling misunderstood and misheard. Suddenly it seems the world is against us and nothing goes as we anticipated.
Right now you may be wondering, “Hum, I actually have rarely any expectations”. Is it true though? Think about the last time you felt angry or disappointed at something or someone. It could be from a bad haircut to feeling misunderstood by your better half. No matter how big or small the scenario, almost immediately we envision a desired outcome getting attached to it.
Taking the bad haircut as an example, you’ve been searching all week for the perfect haircut and feel excited to make the appointment. You get to the hairdresser; show them a picture with a detailed explanation on how you want your hair to look like. After spending two hours, head half-down and a sore neck, you look in the mirror and feel like crying. No, this was not what I had in mind at all! I brought a picture with me, how hard it is to make it look exactly the same? What probably happened here is that you expected something already and somehow the outcome didn’t match your expectations. Question to you: How much did this haircut mean to you?
If we take the second example seemingly as a more complex scenario, let’s see what we find out. You are having an argument with your partner about how you feel disappointed in them as they failed to understand you. You both start blaming each other until it becomes difficult to keep an open dialogue. You end the discussion lacking closure, each with your own beliefs. Why am I never understood? I just wanted my feelings to be acknowledged, to feel my perspective matters. Somewhere before or during that conversation, you expected the other person to listen to you, to validate your viewpoint and your feelings. Question to you: How clearly have you stated what you needed?
What is the message behind these examples? We are human and as such, we have a natural tendency to expect always something from everything or everyone. Does it mean we have to obliterate expectations from our inner world? I do not believe so. What I believe is in letting go of expectations. And by this I mean:
1. Acknowledge the expectation – Identifying what is that you expect, from what, from whom opens you to self-awareness.
2. Accept the expectation – Welcoming it within your inner world gives you the chance to connect to mind and body.
3. Let go of the expectation – Letting it go releases you from the power it holds upon you, freeing you up to focus on yourself and your needs.
Expectations are not going to vanish. The ultimate question is: How do you want them to shape your reality? It is up to you how much power you give them and how much energy you spend trying to fight against them. Or you can choose to invest your energy where it is most needed.