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What Do You Expect?

“In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment.”

We all live with some modicum of expectation, how can you not? Things like, our best friend is going to show up for our lunch date, or the movie will start at the time specified, the weather forecast, okay, maybe not the weather forecast. But you get the drift, certain things in life we come to expect or count on.

There are two diversions to this that I am interested in today. “What do we do when it doesn’t work out like we expect?” and “Does our expectation set us up to be disappointed in our life or in others?”

Life doesn’t always go as planned, that’s a fact we all know. What do we do when it comes apart? Do we automatically go to Plan B, or do we get caught up in the drama of the change? It’s the, “How do you react to lost luggage?” question.

I used to be one of those people who was less than, shall we say, “understanding when things went awry.” Looking back, I realize how much of that was driven by unrealistic expectations and fear. I also wonder, how much more joy I might have had if I'd done a better job of “rolling with it.” In the big picture of my life, none of that stuff mattered and I am amazed that I actually thought I could control everything (or anything) and that my expectation would ever change a thing.

I believe our reactions come from either love or fear and all other emotions stem from those two. Given that is my belief, I know that I allowed the fear inside of my expectations to drive my bus a lot, and it came across as anger, disappointment, and defensiveness.

What changed? I can honestly say my greatest change came when I learned to be more present in my life. Being more Right Here Right Now has created an acute awareness of my surroundings and a far greater flexibility when things take an unexpected turn. It has brought me a sense of calm and an elevated grasp of what matters.

Expectation does two things: It sets the person expecting up to be disappointed and the expected up to lose.

Typically, when we have an expectation of someone else, we know what we want them to say or do, but rarely do we let them in on it. We expect them to maneuver the minefield of our expectations blind and somehow come out in tact. That’s pretty much never going to happen, and when it doesn’t we end up disappointed and they end up at the bottom of the loser heap. If we are going to place expectations on someone, we should at least let them in on what they are so they have a fighting chance at success.

When we decide in advance “what’s going to happen,” “who’s going to say what,” “what everyones going to do and when they are going to do it,” “what it will look like,” life is bound to be disappointing. It strips away the spontaneity and replaces it with unrealistic expectations.

Letting go of expectation and embracing life as it presents itself, warts and all, opens our eyes, heart and mind to limitless experiences we would not have had if we’d orchestrated all the moves. It also takes the pressure off of the people in our life to preform in our play without a script.

So try lightening up, letting go of expectation and let everyone play their own role, spend more time enjoying the show.

Life is so much more vibrant when we let it be Right Here Right Now.

RHRN ~ Suzanne /