Life presents us with opportunities for growth; some painful and some exciting, but these lessons are always challenging our core values and beliefs. With every new opportunity, we test ourselves and all that we currently know by choosing to either move forward toward the unknown or play it safe. Whenever we start something new, we’re pushing past our comfort zone and thus pushing past our expectations. While there is familiarity with the known, there is little growth so we make up expectations and fantasize about what this new experience will be like. It’s almost like preparing for a play by studying our lines, except we are the writer, actor, and director. We give emotion, dialogue, and set the scene for our new adventure, environment or relationship, and then get upset when things don’t turn out the way we planned (expected).
Having expectations is part of being human, however, it doesn’t have to take center stage. We’ve all heard the saying “expectations are planned resentments”. This means that by creating them, or buying into them, we are setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment, and pain. Instead, take life as it comes and learn to “roll with it”. Plan, if you must, but don’t fall into the trap of “expecting” anything of a person, place, or thing (ex: event). The key to releasing expectations is acceptance.
Accept what you cannot change. And that is pretty much everything outside of yourself. Recognize your Spiritual power within and harness control (awareness) over your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions. Practice an attitude of gratitude. As Dr. Bernie Siegel says in his book 101 Exercises for the Soul, “you can’t be troubled and grateful at the same time”. Through acceptance and gratitude, peace and joy exist.
I am so grateful to have learned this lesson in my life and for the opportunity to practice is regularly. Join me in releasing expectations forever! There is freedom in not expecting and instead simply allowing experiences to unfold; naturally. Try it today and see for yourself.