I’m sure you have all experienced the excitement of looking forward to an upcoming event – perhaps an overseas holiday, a special party, a training course. You build up in your mind exactly how you think it’s going to go. If you’ve put a lot of planning or thought into it, then of course you have positive expectations. But how often have you gone on that special holiday and it’s rained every day or you became sick? Or perhaps the party wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. You didn’t like the food, or the people or the music. And what about that training course? In your mind you were going to become an expert in that field instantly, but instead you didn’t find it was something you would want to pursue. You left feeling deflated and having to re-evaluate your goals.
These are just a few examples. There are many more situations where we have expectations, even just of conversations we are going to have with people. They don’t end up saying what you want to hear. Conversely, most people also have negative expectations of situations. We spend our precious time becoming worried and stressed about something, only to find that it was not really a problem at all. In fact the very thing that incessantly plagued our thoughts is forgotten a week later. Sound familiar?
So where do expectations come from? I think they arise because we want to achieve a certain outcome. Our ego gets in the way and wants to be controlling. As you probably know however, the universe does not always deliver what we want or think we need. In truth, our higher self knows the answers, but many times we are not in touch with it or just aren’t listening.
Expectations usually come from past experience. These experiences may not even have come from this lifetime. Events from previous lives have a way of influencing us, and we are not even consciously aware of why we behave and think the way we do. Our brain is just wired to react the way it did last time. However, sometimes things happen a certain way to teach us a lesson. Let’s face it, when something goes wrong it does have a way of making us look at the same thing differently the next time it happens. The way we choose to react will have an impact on our growth. We can choose to be angry, disillusioned or sad, or we can choose to be grateful that we’ve learned something new, perhaps how to be more resourceful or to think differently so that we will not have the same automatic negative reaction the next time.
I have a new strategy now. I have realised that I cannot control everything in my life. I can make plans and put things into place, but now instead of expecting a certain outcome, I just trust that whatever happens is going to be for my highest good. In fact I go into each new situation and event without any expectations. It’s like having a blank piece of paper in your head. You can write a new story for yourself as you go along, instead of going into an experience with the story already written in your head. It’s surprising what will happen when you’re just able to let go and allow. Usually I am pleasantly surprised with the outcomes using this method. I've learned to be more flexible and prepared to move outside my comfort zone.
After all, if you have no expectations then there is no disappointment, there is just experience. You will notice that the repeated patterns you usually follow will start to change and become something different. You will find that you don’t need to control everything, because you can’t anyway, so you will go in different, more exciting directions. Like it or not, life is a continuing journey of lessons and understandings towards our personal growth – so why not choose to go with the flow and see where you end up?