Let Go of Your Expectations

We’ve all been guilty of it. There is no man or woman among us who hasn’t done it. Its ok-relax.

We all have expectations in common situations and to a degree, that’s alright. But, is our attachment to that outcome a healthy one? Is this need to have it our way the best we can do with the gift of free will?

Think about this now, when was the last time you were truly and totally happy with the way things are in your life? When was the last time you stopped and truly admired what a blessing each moment is. There is so much to be thankful for in every minute of every day. It just takes a trained eye to see, and we have it within us to develop that sight of we could only get out of our heads.

Our expectations do nothing but invite disappointment into our lives. If and when we attach ourselves to the outcome of that expectation, we sometimes form an unhealthy preoccupation with getting our way,  and not getting our way can really be a bummer.

How do we set those expectations free? How do we keep from wanting what we want and accept things as they are, and be at peace with that? How do we stop centuries of genetic training to want more, faster, and wanting it exactly our way? We’ve forgotten it seems, the fine art of experiencing life as it is instead of how we want it to be.

At times, we as humans will go out of our way to affect the desired outcome, often relying on humanities greed and lust for money. A gambler places a bet,  the house wants to keep its money and his, so maybe one side pays off a key player who misses the pivotal shot in the closing seconds. It is pure manipulation.

This example is a bit extreme but we do so everyday in subtle ways as well. We may say we don’t mind where we have dinner, but we’ll often strongly suggest or even adamantly disagree with a choice after giving up our choice in some passive-aggressive assertion of our want. Other times, we will manipulate the outcome of a situation by focusing on the negatives in a pro vs. con debate. We may inversely boost or exaggerate how our choice would be more fun, more profitable, more this or that. When, in reality we just want to get our way.

Ok, true- Negotiations are not wrong either. They are an integral part of any society since the dawn of time. The cavemen once assumedly negotiated- although, maybe not as advanced as a sit down meeting. Negotiations have formed almost every facet of our modern societies. 

As an entrepreneur I would be a hypocrite if I said don’t negotiate or sell your point of view or choice or products. I’m trying to pick at one specific unhealthy form of expectation though. I’m speaking of the unspoken expectations we impose on others.

Outside of common sense expectations such as flirting with another’s wife or fooling around behind your lovers back or not stealing, expectations become a very slippery slope indeed. Tread lightly weary one.

When we expect of someone something that there is no way of them being able to know or intuit, it is unfair to say the least. Furthermore, it is both unwise & unhealthy to make silent demands from those expectations. Others go a step further and may try to cause you shame or humiliation for not being able to interpret the unspoken word of law. Sorry, I’m being dramatic.

Even worse, in cases of extreme narcissism or emotional abuses, we may even be made to feel stupid or crazy or irrational for not knowing that thing that was never asked or suggested of us. How dare we not know? No one is perfect. It is an illusion.

If you still have no idea what I mean then I’m sorry to say, you may be the guilty party here. But good news! You can fix that. You too can let go of your expectations with a very simple thought conversation with yourself.

When you find yourself with expectations of some event or occurrence or circumstance, ask yourself 3 easy to remember questions: What? Who? How?

-What is the reason behind my expectation? And would they expect the same?
-Who benefits most from this wanted outcome? Are the rewards even, greater for me, or greater for them?
-How attached am I to the outcome and have I made my wants clearly noted?

By answering these simple questions mindfully & honestly, we can figure out whether or not it’s worth investing in the outcome. We may find that it’s imperative we get our way, in which case we need to emphasize our wants or even make an outright request for that. Or, we may find that just sitting back and letting life happen and enjoying the ride while we’re on it is best.

Remember, not all expectation is bad. In fact, some is quite healthy. But only when we’ve been honest with those we engage with as well as ourselves about our true wants and needs.

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.  –The Rolling Stones

So be mindful of what you invest your effort in. Sometimes, not getting your way is sweeter still than having your cake and eating it too.