Having expectations is not the same as having standards and boundaries. Having expectations is not the same as having goals, or creating game plans for success. Expectations are the things we have that tell us, “My life needs to look exactly the way I have it pictured, and then I’ll be happy.” Or “My lover, or friend, or parent, or boss, or whoever…needs to say or do exactly these things in this exact way exactly when I need them to, and then I’ll be happy with them.” Expectations are black-and-white thinking. The unconscious belief that unless our lives look a specific way at a specific time, then it means we are failing, or someone else is failing us.
My parents wanted me to go to college. They expected it and were painstakingly relentless about drilling it into my mind that I HAVE to go to college or else face their endless disappointment. Sure, they had my best interests at heart, but their expectations created a lot of disharmony in our relationship. Because here’s the thing, I always wanted to go to college. Not because they expected it, but because I can’t recall a time that I ever even thought about not wanting to go to college. All my girlfriends wanted to go to college, and we were always excited about it. My parents didn’t need to put themselves through so much stress, agonizing over how much they wanted me to go to college because I would have anyway!
This is often the path of many expectations. We place them on ourselves, and we place them on other people, and when life acts on life’s terms and those terms don’t match our expectations, we think that something has gone terribly awry! Or that we’re on the wrong path. Or we’re around the wrong people. The truth is that the Universe is surprising, and reveals itself in ways that we would often NEVER have expected!
Expectations may feel like setting goals, but the reality is that expectations create limitations in our minds. If something doesn’t look or feel the way we expected, then automatically that means something is wrong! How limiting is that? There’s no space there for the universe to surprise in ways we could never imagine. We miss opportunities to learn and grow because we steer clear from exploring pathways that aren’t adherent to an ideal we are holding onto so tightly in our mind…
What would it be like to try for two or three days, or maybe a whole week to put all expectations to the side while you played this game of life? What if every time you saw yourself starting to expect a certain outcome, especially with other people, that you just let it fall away and replaced it with curiosity for where the game of life would lead you next? Let’s give it a try, and since relationships are so important, let’s start with people. Let’s see if we can release all expectations of people this week. I would love it if for the week when you are with people— talking to your kids, or your lover, your husband, your wife, your boss, or your whatever— practice not having an expectation, and see what happens. It could be the most eye-opening experience, and you could have a heck of a lot of fun! Please let me know how this worked for you, and always remember that Spirit is pure uncomplicated love. So experiment with removing expectations out of your love and relationships, and watch how it can bring you closer to Spirit. Namaste