Part of our human drama includes living with expectations. A well used saying: “Expectations screw things up…” Because if you “expect” something to happen, then when it does occur, it is no big deal because you assumed it would happen and takes a part of the joy out of the accomplishment… And, when your expectation is NOT met then there can be levels of disappointment because you expected something else to have happened…
It is difficult to live without expectations especially if you expect that you can…
a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
“reality had not lived up to expectations”
a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
“students had high expectations for their future”
Where do these come from and how do they affect your life?
External expectations from other people can cause emotional pressure and then there are internal expectations, which are often the more difficult to deal with…
In my world…
Expecting something, especially a personal accomplishment, leads to a diminished celebration of the accomplishment of the expected goal. ‘Cause you expected as much of yourself…
What if another person, or persons, “Expect” something of you. Their expectation creates an assumed compliance and accomplishment of the behavior, goal, or activity. Perhaps leading to a reduced appreciation due to the assumed expectation… “Well, I expected as much, of you…”
(When does an expectation become an assumed promise??? Even when it is an Unspoken desire.)
How does an expectation of oneself become a burden? For example, as I am getting older, I still assume and expect that I can do things (physically) which I used to be able to do like: run fast or run long or carry big boxes upstairs when helping a friend move… OR, my personal expectation that everyday I will be active and pursue activities of service and “high in value” as my life’s expectations of living at a highly productive level of service… When in my life is it OK to “kick back” and to slow down? When is it OK to rest without guilt? When can an active, assertive person be able, or allow themselves, to be passive? Clearly, I have not learned when or how to be “passive.”
When can my participation in allowing life to flow become an allowed, even celebrated, expectation? When is it OK to have passive participation as a witness or observer rather than down in the arena of active accomplishments. When is it OK to watch and to be the necessary “witness”??? For me, this answer is still in process…
What does it take to understand that when you want to do something “well” but do not have the skill or the strength or the experience to know that an expectation of high level achievement of a certain activity is actually unachievable. This is a struggle in “acceptance” and in “allowing” things to occur rather than as expected… I am not expecting perfection in all things but perhaps expecting an unreasonable higher level of ability based on memories or expectations from the distant past.
When is acceptance of “reasonable” success a victory and not an emotional personal defeat?
I am not saying do not set a difficult goal. However, the emotional baggage of a difficult or undoable expectation can make you feel like you are less than you are. My ego gets involved with internal and external expectations because it wants something that is not quite in hand. If I do not have this thing, will I be unhappy or think/feel that my life is unsatisfying, or a “failure?” Again, my ego has placed me in a no win situation and I can benefit from learning how to be aware and to check my ego’s created expectations.
Is there a graceful way to set limits on the expectations which other people may have for you and your available time and energy? You can not control their expectations or their response to you saying “No” or to your compromising negotiation. Oh well, you can not please everyone all the time. THAT would be an unaccomplishable expectation.
The drama of having expectations in your life and allowing these to affect the way you think and feel about yourself is a challenge to learn from. You are creating these reactions within your mind. A fully conscious spiritual person may take any perceived expectation in stride and instead focus upon the positive, joyful miracles of life. Even laughing or smiling at the misstep of failing in a personal expectation. Living in the “present” moment also helps to lessen the strong emotions which can be attached to a perceived expectation. No matter how you react you can work to maintain a level of higher awareness and perhaps a sense of good humor when a mentally constructed expectation flies across your consciousness. (These can look and feel very silly.)
No easy answers here but lots of great lessons/challenges to learn from. Just keep moving forward and expanding your awareness and consciousness. Share your learnings and wisdom. Find Joy everyday in the miracles you find. This is MY expectation of YOU! Fact, not expectation: You are a Blessing! You are Loved and a part of the Divine Spirit.
And. Finally, having expectations are common. Life is full of lessons learned by attempting new activities which are NOT perfect the first time. If these were perfect the first time, every time, then you have set the bar way too low to reach out and to expand your skills and to test your wisdom. I have learned more from my mistakes and failures than I have learned from my expected successes. Managing your expectations is useful. Learning from your mistakes is an essential part of living as a human. (Example. If we attempted to walk as a baby and fell down the first time and never attempted walking again, we would never have learned to run…)
You are a miracle. Your imperfections make YOU perfect. And, you learn most from your mistakes.