Sometimes when I look at the sky, and I see the sun shining, I expect it to be a sunny day, but then in the mirror, I see my hair – frizzy – this to me means an entirely different thing to sunny, it means rain. The day may not be a sunny day after all, but a rainy one. My daughter also got my barometer hair – poor thing. My expectations for the day and how it will all go have made a dynamic turn to the other side, and I quickly change my plans. My hair never lies.
Other times in my life, I have held high expectations, like how I would feel being a mother – when in fact – it is nothing like what I could have ever imagined. It is more significant than I expected. More loving, more challenges, more … in every conceivable way, it has been a highlight in my life. There have been low-lights in my life too. It has been my openness to my expectations that has allowed me to roll with the punches and the cuddles and be filled to the brim with love, without expectation.
Let me be very clear; I am not talking about our aspirations. We should aim high in life.
Expectations are different to aspirations: Expectation by definition is a ‘Strong belief that something will happen or be the case.’
Expectation in our life can often have the complete opposite effect on our experiences of what we expect. It can bring sorrow, pain, judgement of ourselves and others. It can convey feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-worth. Along with this can then come anxiety and depression. Mental Illness affects 45% of people in their lifetime. If we reduced our expectations, would this number to decrease?
But how do we remove expectations from our lives?
I think of it like a surprise. I love surprises. I love birthdays and Christmas when I have put effort into gift giving, and I can’t wait to see the face of the person I have given a gift. My expectation is that they will love it, but what if they don’t? Will I feel deflated and unvalued?
Most often, I enter into giving a gift, with the love that I have for the other person, and know that I have put time and effort into something that I hope they will value, or see that it has come from a loving place. I choose to feel excited, but without expectation.
Slowly and mindfully we can change our expectations. By having a mind that is open to alternative outcomes, acceptance of ourselves and others and by listening. Listening to what others have to say and how we process that information, without judgment, without criticism, but with love.
As the Indian spiritual leader, Sri Chinmoy, said
To move lovingly and peaceful in one’s life is a great start. Open your heart and allow acceptance to flow through, just as you experience it, without judgement, without fear. And slowly you will see
And as for my hair and the weather, well, it’s frizzy again right now, so I am moving forward today ready for