Are Realistic Expectations Even Possible?
Yes, but to some extent, expectations may turn us away from joy and connection! The more we release expectation within ourselves, our relationships, and “what comes next,” the more we feel balance and calm within.
We “suddenly” see choices to be happy that didn’t seem to be present before because WE weren’t present! The more we find inner peace, the more peace we create within our world!
The Root of Expectations:
Oftentimes, expectations are rooted in the things we value within ourselves, our strengths. What personality characteristics do you value within yourself? This assessment is a great first step in understanding why we clash with others.
Think about your values and “character strengths.” Jot them down! I’ll wait.
The “thoughtful” person may put others first, trying to anticipate their needs. They feel upset when others don’t “reciprocate.” Yet, they may have missed the things the other is doing to express their love.
The punctual person may feel totally disrespected when their friend is habitually late. They may fail to see that their friend has “juggled a lot” and “made time” for them.
Judging others from our own “strengths” creates a dynamic that robs individuals of just showing up and being loved.
Appreciating One Another’s Perspectives:
We are all unique, physically, mentally, emotionally, experientially. Just as two people cannot stand in the same exact spot at the same time, we each do not see life and each new experience in exactly the same way. This can enrich our lives or create a divide!
We’ve all been on the receiving end of expectation. It can feel like disapproval or even rejection. “You’re never satisfied with what I do or say!” Ultimately, expectations mean we’re projecting our viewpoint, skills, and “strengths” onto the other; and that is unfair.
For some, expectation comes from a need for control. Surprisingly, those who “are controlling” may actually feel lost within themselves or feel out of control. Their expectation may be rooted in self-protection, “I need to know what’s going to happen.”
When we’re raised on conditional love, heavy judgment, and expectation, we learn to twist and turn ourselves in an effort for love and approval. We spend so much time wearing a chameleon’s skin that we lose track of ourselves!
When we have no idea who we really are, we may crave a life and relationships that are reliable and scripted. If we know what to expect, we know how to behave.
Why Do I Get So Upset About This?
Expectation can be very emotionally charged. What if this “strength” that guides your expectations is one that you adopted in your chameleon phase? Perhaps it’s one of the behaviors you adopted to get love.
In these cases, expectation may be charged with an undercurrent of “If I have to do this, why doesn’t anyone else?”
Change the Way You Show Up and Everything Changes!
The more we see and let go of these unrealistic expectations and aspects of conditional love, the more we can actually be present to WHAT IS. It is in this space of presence, that we experience the greatest spontaneity and joy.
Young children naturally live in “the present,” without much sense of expectation, fear, or worry. Most are very happy, creative, and find joy in the simple things each moment brings.
I encourage you to intend right now to reconnect with your youthful spontaneity. Even those of us who identify with this article and those who essentially “missed childhood” because of pain, responsibility, abuse, neglect, etc. can reconnect!
Don’t Let the Past “Run You!”
As you see yourself running “old stories” of expectation, you can decide to show up differently. At first, it may seem like “work,” but the more aware you become, the more you gain self-mastery as you get off of autopilot.
The incredible side bonus of this “work” is that you get to live and BE in the space of joy and happiness more and more often. Your connections not only with others but within yourself become easier, fluid, natural.
How? Learn to Be Present:
Where are your thoughts when you’re with the other? Are you expecting a limited script OR are you thinking about something said or done in the past? Perhaps you’re worrying about something you don’t want to hear or to see happen? If your mind is in the past or in the future, you are not in the present!
Be in this moment. Stop. Breathe. What do you smell? What’s the temperature of the air on your skin? Notice the colors, textures, patterns around you. Look at the sky. What is the weather like? Drop the tally of who-did-what, and just be here now.
Smile. Look at yourself and the other person and express their love for you. Just because love isn’t showing up in the way we expected does not mean it’s not present!
Like you, everyone is doing the best they can with where they’re at mentally, emotionally, spiritually and to what degree THEY are being present.
Get in the Flow of Happiness:
Choose not to make yourself miserable waiting for another person or specific conditions to make you happy. As you release expectation, you become a more conscious co-creator of life. Happiness is always a choice.
Trust that you are loved; I love you unconditionally! Trust that all is well; your good is not only coming, it is here! Let go, look, BE!
Living separated from our truest self is painful! My Perspective Reboot® energy healing accelerates reconnection with a truer sense of self that results in increased wellness and joy. Find out more on my website.
Here for you in love and light,
– Kristi Borst PhD