What is an expectation?
Some people say the key to happiness is to lower your expectations but I’m not sure that quite captures the essence of what is means to have expectations.
Are expectations a need or a want? Or is it a way for us to try to control life?
One thing I know for sure about expectations is that we all have them! With the exception of those who are fully enlightened I think it’s safe to say we all have expectorations for how we want our lives to go.
Whether those expectations are large, small, in the distant future or about the burrito you're about to eat, there is no denying we all have a vision for how we want our lives to unfold.
Here’s the thing about expectations though:
They can be a real bitch!
Case and point:
One day back in my college years while working at a bank, my manager told me that if things stayed slow, I would get to leave early two hours early! I was stoked because it was the day before a big exam and I thought a couple extra hours of studying would give me a better chance at pulling off an “A” on the test.
As the day plugged along things never picked up so I thought for sure I was getting out of there early. I hyped it up in my head and didn't even think of having to stay until the end of my scheduled shift as a possibility.
Well, as I’m sure you can image, twenty minutes before I was going to walk out the door to freedom and head to the library, customers started piling into the branch. Before I knew it we almost had a line out the door. Still, in my mind I figured I could knock these deposits out and get off two hours early as I expected.
The universe however, had a different plan because as it turns out, that sudden burst of customers was just the beginning. Thirty minutes turned into an hour and an hour turned into two. By the time I finally clocked out it was twenty minutes past my normally scheduled quitting time.
I can remember driving home that night and being so furious! How dare those customers not know I had things to do!!! Did they want me to fail my exam? Didn't they know I needed those extra two hours? The one time I needed something from the universe it socked me right in the gut instead of giving me what I wanted!
In hindsight, I can see this train of thought is ludicrous but I think this story illustrates what happens to a lot of us when things don’t go as “expected.”
The truth is, expectation is simply a way (a stupid way at that) for us to try and control something we can’t possibly control. Furthermore, it’s almost cliché to say at this point, but living in the moment is a key factor to happiness. When we make an endless list of expectations we are projecting our desires into the future. We stress about the future not panning out the way we expect it to and when it inevitably doesn’t, we curse the universe!
This is crazy right?
For me, when I started meditating regularly I really noticed a desire to control my experience. I had expectations for literally everything and when things fell through, I suffered. I spent loads of energy trying to fit my square life into a round hole.
No matter how hard we try, we have to face the facts. We aren't in control.
Life lives through us and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can start to let the river of life take us down stream with ease and peace.
Until then we are like salmon swimming up river with the only difference being this hill never ends—at least not until our life ends.
Now, I’m not advocating that you never make plans or never set goals. I’m simply stating that when you make those plans or when you set goals, know that they could fall apart or go in the totally opposite direction. We as a society need to learn to be okay with that.
Life is happening in the now, not in your imagined future so if you don’t make changes to your plans and you aren’t adaptable, life will continue running you over! Quit being ridged and begin to let life flow through you!
Thank you as always for reading! We hope you enjoyed this week’s post and we would love to hear some of the crazy expectations you might have held onto in your life but have since let go. How has that made you feel? Drop us a comment and let us know! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Until next week!
Many Many blessings!