It seems as though the more chaotic life gets, the more we try to control it. We seem bound by time and schedules, we’re constantly telling ourselves how things “should” be and how the people around us “should” behave, and by doing so, we’re filled with unrealistic expectations which lead us to constant disappointment. Even though it seems like a logical human reaction to try to control what happens around us, everything around us points to the opposite being true. Nature, for instance, is filled with constant surprises, which if we’re watching, would help us learn that life is also full of constant change and surprises. Instead, we’re shocked and disappointed by things like the weather, as if it’s going against how we think it “should” behave. The same holds true for people. We live in a “me” centred culture, where we tell ourselves that our experiences are more valuable than another’s. If we released our hold on expectations, life would certainly hold more wonder again, like it did when we were children, leading us to more happiness and meaning. So how do we release our expectations?
Tips for removing expectations
1. Enjoy the surprises. Life will always have ups and downs – there’s no way around this. But isn’t it amazing when life hands us a beautiful surprise that we had no idea was coming? Surprises and blessings don’t have to be huge and mind-blowing for us to appreciate them. Notice how many times the little unexpected things in life add something to your experience – this could be anything from finding a $10 in your pocket you forgot about, to having a laugh with a stranger.
2. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Life has an ebb and a flow, light and dark times, ups and downs. Know that whenever something seemingly negative happens, something else will happen to balance it out. Look for the lessons, the reasons, and the positive spin on things. Change your perspective and don’t get attached – things will always change no matter what.
3. Everyone has their own story and their own journey. You are not more or less important than anyone else on this earth. Realize that people are not put here to serve you and vice versa – we all have our own experience and we need to honour and respect that in others as well as in ourselves. Learn from what others can teach you and let them learn from you too.
4. You can only truly anticipate what you’re going to do next, not what anyone else will do. Don’t be surprised when someone doesn’t live up to your expectations – they are your expectations. If you find you’re not happy with how you’re being treated in life, it’s up to you to take care of yourself and change the situation. Expecting someone else to change will usually lead to disappointment.
5. Hope for the best in others but don’t expect it. We all do the best with what we have at the time. You may be more conscious than someone else in your world, but you cannot punish someone for not knowing what they don’t know – they simply don’t have the capacity to know it at the time. Be patient and compassionate, and take care of your own needs.
6. Take things at face value, moment by moment. Do not plan your future on what you think is “supposed” to happen – because there are simply too many variables in life for you to be able to plan everything to the letter. Do be clear about what is important to you in life and follow that passion, but if it doesn’t happen exactly the way you thought it would, that doesn’t mean it will never happen. Have faith in divine timing 🙂