“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts
When I graduated from school, I had a list of specific measurable goals where I thought I should be when I am in my late twenties. When I finally did and realised I didn’t meet any of my goals, I felt disappointed and started telling myself I was a failure. Of course, this behaviour got me nowhere.
Be it from your parents, your children, your parents, your spouses, or anyone, the expectations are natural in relationships. They’re also one of the reasons why people hold grudges in a relationship when the expectations aren’t fulfilled.
So what is an expectation?
An expectation is a thought or a belief that is about our expected outcome, not necessarily about what might really happen. We have beliefs about ourselves that can turn into expectations about a desired outcome because they reinforce our beliefs about ourselves.
Oh, this is so juicy! When expectations rule our lives, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Then guess what? We Judge ourselves harshly for it.
In reality, communication is the most important part of relationships, not expectations. Therefore, anyone looking for expectations is bound to get disappointed at each stage of their relationship. Worst case happens when the other person has no idea what you expect of them. It is therefore important to communicate rather than expecting much from others.
Now, I firmly believe in what Alexander Pope said:
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
The most important thing I learned is to release my expectations about how I think my life should go and approach life from a place of exploration. This opens you up to experiencing things that are beyond your wildest dreams. It’s okay to have goals, but make sure to leave room for something even greater to come along.
Maybe the most peaceful and quickest way to achieve something is a way you haven’t thought of yet. Be willing to go with the flow.
This requires trust. I learned that when I let go and trust I will receive everything I need, I always do. I often find myself saying at the end of the day, “Wow, this day was amazing and I had not planned it this way, yet I accomplished everything I needed to.”
If you are feeling disappointed, it’s because of the thoughts you have about the situation. So if you don’t want to feel disappointed, change your thoughts.
The first thing I do when I feel any disturbance to my peace of mind is say to myself, “I am determined to see this person/situation differently.” This is how you step into your power. Everything happens for you, not to you.
You’ll be amazed at the shifts in perception that occur when you become willing to release fear and see love instead.
When you focus on releasing the thoughts about how you imagined your life to be, your most loving, truthful self can come forward and guide you.
At the end of the day, all of us are humans. Once you understand the role of expectations in your everyday interactions, you’re well on your way. Remind yourself…goals are not the same as expectations! Goals are concrete based upon reality and facts, expectations are beliefs based upon hope and opinions. You’ll feel empowered once you are implementing the strategies, for both eliminating expectations of others, and for not allowing others to have expectations of you.
Having this understanding will enable you mitigate and navigate expectations, so that you manage them…not the other way around.
Now it’s your turn-
What ways have you seen unrealistic expectations hurt business and personal relationships?