One thing I often think about is expectations—how our life as humans is often experienced by our and others’ expectations.
If life or others live up to or exceed our expectations, we are joyous and feel on top of the world. However, if life or others do not live up to our expectations, we feel shame, judgment, pain, regret, a sense of disconnection, not belonging, failure, and also wronged.
One of the things I struggle with is that expectations are not only damaging to us when things don’t go to plan, but they can also hurt others—intentionally or unintentionally, depending on how we react and what our awareness is of our behaviour and that of others.
When we expect more from something or someone in our lives and we don’t get it, we often don’t realise how our reaction impacts and can hurt another. The impact on another person could be confusing because what we expected and what they expected were potentially different, and from differing perspectives.
For example, on social media many people expect strangers to dress a certain way, respond in a certain way, give certain things, and be “x, y, or z.” Often, when the people they follow or see don’t live up to their expectations, they shame or judge them, and tell them they are not okay and should do better—all because their expectations were not met. This can create pain and hurt people hurting people.
Another example would be that we make a new friend and they don’t do what we expected or don’t offer the connection we wanted. Instead of telling them this, we go silent, and that person feels lost as they cherished the communication and connection. The relationship is then fragmented all because there was a lack of communication and an unmet expectation.
We may wonder why we never feel connected to others and alone. If only we had talked to that friend, realigned, and found out that even though our expectations didn’t get met, we still have many other needs met, magical experiences that are worth it, and more to come in the future.
When we look at expectations, we need to first make sure that the expectations don’t impact us and others, or cause a victim mentality, which makes us feel like we cannot control or manage things—as then we lose things that didn’t need to be lost, such as life connections with others, or wonder why we can never achieve our goals.
We need to make sure our expectations don’t cause self-sabotaging behaviours. Self-sabotage is actually about loving ourselves. It’s a protection tool that tries to shield us from experiencing pain. However, we must realise that, and also understand, that some pain is necessary to make better tomorrows (even better than our expectations). This realisation can help us to heal and achieve our goals.
Say for example, we are doing an exercise program and expect to do the whole 30 days with no interruptions—but we get sick. We stop working out completely instead of working out when we heal a few days later. We may then wonder why we never achieve our fitness and health goals. If only we had restarted training after we felt well and still did the 30-day program, only over 37 days, we would see that even though our expectations weren’t met, we could still achieve our goal—even when life didn’t run to plan.
When we start to recognise our patterns in relationships we can identify healing needs, thoughts, and actions that can take place and help us to create micro shifts, which change our lives and even surpass our expectations. This is the shift from victims of our stories and expectations to better tomorrows.
It’s important to understand that letting go of expectations is as important as letting go of outside voices that do not serve us—so we can start manifesting and connecting to what we really want to feel, experience, and create, and what we already have that is enough. Understanding that resistance helps and guides us to better flow states in life can propel us to use the flow states better than we ever would have without them.
Today, have a think about expectations you’ve had in your life in 2021 and look deeper into how you can drop those expectations to create a better 2022. Build better relationships, rebuild friendships, be successful at your health and fitness goals, find more joy in your life, pick up a new hobby that brings you joy or relaxation, spend more time with family and friends, don’t self-sabotage, and find the power to not feel like a victim—but create better tomorrows.