“The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” goes a popular quote by Eli Khamarov. How simple, yet how true. The best moments in our lives always tend to be those where something surprises us. And most of these times there are no expectations. We really cherish these moments in life for long. If we start having expectations from these situations too, even they will cease to be enjoyable.
Expectation is a big and hard word. Big because it means and cover so many aspects of life. Hard because it causes so much pain and disappointments in our everyday lives. Expectations are like some fairy tale stories, myths or assumptions which we might have based on our childhood, culture or past experiences. All these expectations only causes friction in our day to day lives, friction between people, friction with situations, and so on.
When a person’s behavior doesn’t match our expectations, or a situation doesn’t span out as we might have liked it to, we can either try to change the person or the situation, or we can let it go. We don’t have any power over how our days and our life will go by. Our assumptions and expectations seem to give us an illusion of some kind of control over our lives, and that is why it is always liberating to let them go. Only once we let it go we notice a world that we have not noticed while we were trying to control the flow of our lives.
Expectations Causes Stress
If we see any of our problems and negative emotions, they are released as a result of some unmet expectation. When we try to fight what happened with a ‘this shouldn’t have happened‘ attitude, the result is friction and stress. We should strive to live our life without expectations from people or situations to be really happy. That doesn’t mean not keeping goals and planning for it, it means taking what life hands us and not try to fight it due to some assumptions.
Accept the World as It Is
We should accept situations and people as they are, and not try to change them according to our expectations. Once we realise that our way of thinking is not the only right way, we will find it easy to change our expectations, or completely drop them. It is not to say that we should not act or do nothing. We should still take actions based on our values and plans, but without expectations. In this way, in case of unmet expectations, we can learn lessons without any disappointments and move on with the next set of plans and actions.
Be aware, but Let Go
Expectations are an inherent part of life and as human beings, we will always have them. When we do something good, we will always expect some praise. The important thing here is to notice our expectations, become aware of them, and then let go of them. Most of the times we are not even aware that an unmet expectation is causing stress. Only once we are aware, we can let them go which is truly liberating.
Float in the World
We should strive to enjoy the world as it is, full of all its uncertainties and surprises. Expectations usually blocks us from enjoying the current moment. Accepting things as they are is the key to experiencing freedom. Once we let go, we can really float in life and we will not miss the many goods and positive surprises which life have in store for us every second.
So keep your goals, keep your plans, take actions accordingly, but let go of your expectations of any result. It is not easy to do so, as expecting a result is a normal human way to act. But only as human beings we have the power of letting go of our expectations from others and situations. And personally I have seen, letting go actually increases your chances of success in a specific task.