Expectations and letting go

Expectations! We all have them; expectations on ourselves, what we want from life, how things will unfold and who we want to be. We also tend to project these expectations out on other people; how they should behave and act around us and towards us, especially those closest to us. I believe that the higher our expectations are, the less happy, content and fulfilled we will feel within. I am not suggesting that we need to get rid of our  expectations.

It is perfectly human to have expectations. But when our expectations are simply too high or unrealistically based on a idea/fantasy to lead a “perfect life”, we end up often feeling disappointed and frustrated. We can also hurt other people due to our own notions of how they should be or what they ought to be doing for us.

Often it goes back to our upbringing and parental expectations and projections on how we had to excel in everything in life. As a child, nothing I ever did was good enough for my parents. In turn I grew up projecting this same “not good enough” mindset on myself, my career, my creative endeavours and within my interpersonal relationships. It also led to years of self-destructive behaviour. I can recall numerous incidents where I have felt incapable, not good enough or taken advantage of and un-appreciated, just because my expectations on myself and those closest to me have been too high. One of the biggest challenges we face as humans, is learning to accept people for who they truly are and respecting their timing and choices. When we can practice showing this kind of love and compassion towards ourselves and others, we are better able to “live and let live” which in turn can support us in receiving the outcome that we desire.

Personally, as I have been faced with several big disappointments in my life, I have come to gradually realise that most of life unfolds in accordance with forces beyond our control. We like to feel in control of how our lives unfold, but much of that is fear based. The truth is that peace is found when we train our mind to process life as it is, with mindful appreciation and acceptance, rather than how we think it should be. In the words of Josepth Campbell: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

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