Expectations: As Sweet as Candy, or as Scary as Halloween
Expectations, definition of expectation - search results (bing.com) can bring joy, and happiness. Or expectations can bring resentment, and disappointment. Many of my spiritual teachers, which include, my daughter, wise friends, some family members, and my unconditional loving Grandparents, to name a few, have cautioned me about having expectations. “And if you’re going to have them,” they ask, “then how will you manage them?”
A sweet expectation could be as simple as, expecting your favorite football team to play well, and hopefully beat the opponent. Or, you’re bringing your new binoculars, and field guide along on this weekend’s bird walk. Thinking about a bird walk in nature probably brings many harmless expectations, none of them scary.
These simple, life woven expectations are harmless. If the football team loses, you will be disappointed. So you, your family, and friends start looking forward to next weekend. Or if it rains during your bird walk, that too, is a disappointment, but it is not a harmful one.
An example of a complicated expectation, could be when a health change is noticed by someone. Immediately they make a doctor’s appointment. And after blood work and x-rays, the Doc says, “If I see something on the x-rays I don’t like, I’ll call you in before your followed up appointment in two weeks.” Now, in some cases, someone might spend every waking hour worrying about what the doctor said, and having expectations for the worse. Will the follow up be 2 weeks down the road, or is the doctor’s office going to ring a day or two after the results are in?
These questions, and expectations are harmful. They keep the mind full of negative thinking, which attracts more negative energy to the health issue. In order to not attract any negative energy to the potential health issue, it is best to stay busy with positive, and interesting projects that you enjoy.
Whether it is your children, grand-children, puzzles, fishing, writing, hiking, bird watching, whatever your interests, as long as the projects are positive, and keep your mind from wandering back to the health issue. And when the mind does wander back, release it to Heaven. Ask Mother Earth, Father Universe, and your spiritual family to help you release it to them. Works every time!!
This is why it is so important to manage expectations, and not allow them to run away with you. Expectations are the ego. And an unruly ego, usually leads to an unruly, unhappy life. For example, I’ve actually heard people say, "This person can save me from my life situation." Whatever “save me” from a "life situation" means.
Politicians for example, say many things while campaigning, and their followers love what they say. But many times, the politician can’t, for political reasons, follow through with those promises.
If a politician campaigns on an important issue, such as the climate crisis, but can’t follow through because the opposing side is throwing up road blocks, well then the expectations of the politician and his constituents are squelched. And the people thinking this politician is going to “save them” from some "life situation", are left discouraged, disappointed, and resentful.
The only person who has control over their life, and their expectations, is the person living their life, and setting those expectations. The only person that can save themselves from a life situation is themselves, not a politician, a parent, or a friend. Remember, people are experiencing exactly what you are going though also, they have their own expectations, and life situations too.
Some family members, friends, or even politicians in some cases, can be of assistance. They can offer money, security, comfort, and protection, but only the person living their life, can save themselves from their life situations.
People are made up of different ingredients, some are brave, while humble, and others are scared, while intelligent. If someone has an expectation that someone else can do something for them, whatever it may be, and that person cannot perform the expected task, now there are more disappointments, or resentments.
But the horrors of expectations don’t stop there. People place expectations on themselves as well. This is where it gets dicey. There really is no difference in placing expectations on other people than on yourself, except, people have a tendency to be harder on themselves, than they might be on someone else.
Parents also have expectations for their children, or grand-children. This too can be detrimental to the child’s wellbeing. All parents and grandparents want the very best for their children, but expecting too much can backfire, and cause the child to rebel, creating a domino effect in the child’s life. Parental Expectations: The Helpful and the Harmful | Psychology Today
The best expectations are the ones you never have. Even happy expectations, can turn out sad, or disappointing. So keeping yourself from expecting anything, and living moment by moment, accepting whatever life puts at your feet, is living a truly, balanced, and well-rounded life.
So just for today, try not having expectations of anyone, or anything. Catch your expectations when you have them, shoot them down, or look at them from a different perspective. A realistic perspective, or a perspective from another’s point of view.
If you find yourself expecting something from someone, think about them, and your expectation, and then think about it again from a non-expectation perspective. Most importantly though, loving yourself comes with no expectations, and that is what we want to reach for.
The Psychology of Expectations | Psychology Today