Sunday, November 7, 2010

Are you expecting?

I suspect very many of you, like myself, may have been told at some point or another that having expectations can often lead to trouble. More accurately, having expectations can lead to hurt feelings, misunderstandings and disappointments. Yet running seemingly counter to this adage is the notion that if you expect a certain outcome, action, etc. the law of attraction and the power of manifestation may just conspire to give you exactly what it is that you are hoping for. So which is it?!? To expect or not to expect?

My experience tells me that letting go of expectations is the better way to go. It frees you from a lot of heartache and generally makes life a lot more pleasant, while simultaneously making you a more pleasant person who people will enjoy having in their lives. . . never a bad thing! This is not to say that you should be a pushover with no standards or preferences, nor is it to say that you can't or shouldn't put energy into welcoming good into your life via attraction and manifestation. Rather, if you can let go of narrowly defined, specific, constrained ideas about, for example, how a particular plan should unfold or how your significant other should behave, you will end up far more content than if there is only your way or the highway where these sorts of matters are concerned. But alas, as with most pearls of wisdom, my experience absolutely has shown that this is easier said than done. Shocker!

Let's take it to the heart, one of my favorite places to go and to draw examples from, because, let's face it, matters of the heart are fertilizer for all sorts of creative endeavors, blogging included. If, for instance, you are a rather emotional being and your moods tend to fluctuate, and you expect that your honey should either a) not be impacted or b) know well enough not to take it personally, is that a fair expectation? We humans are tricky creatures, full of complex emotions that can be triggered by any number of external or internal stimuli. Many times we don't even understand the full extent of what's making us tick while in the midst of a difficult spot so how can we rightfully expect someone else to, even if that person loves us and knows us quite well? I think many times this dynamic comes about unconsciously, often because the partner with the mood swings may not even be aware that his or her mood is swinging. So then, is it wrong for the other partner to expect that his or her honey should strive to be more conscious of these things? If you've stayed with me this far, by now you're probably seeing what I mean about the slippery slope that is expectation.

Here's another great illustration of expectation blazing a path to trouble. Most of us have pretty clear ideas about how to express love and affection, informed, no doubt, by our upbringings, past relationships and ultimately our very nature. If you love someone, you do X. If someone loves you, they do Y. If you want to demonstrate [name that emotion], you do Z. Me, when I want to show love, I am quite fond of saying it, loud and clear, plain and simple, perhaps ad nauseam. I'm a touchy feely kind of girl, so hugs and kisses and any other kind of physical contact are sure to show up in abundance if you happen to be the object of my affection. Because this is how I express myself, I have a certain expectation that I will be shown the love of others in similar ways, ways that are easy for me to comprehend because they're being spoken in my language. Is that fair of me? Is having that kind of expectation closing me off to displays of love and affection in other ways and creating space for hurt feelings or disappointments that need not exist? Yes, I believe so. If nothing else, I'll certainly be the first to step up and acknowledge when I may be playing my cards wrong, and if rigid expectations are preventing me, or anyone, from receiving all the love and goodness that others want to share, then that definitely seems off.

I really don't know what the easy solution is to let go of expectations and remain fully open to all the possibilities and potential that life, and love, holds. Mindfulness seems like an appropriate starting point, being mindful of yourself and when you subconsciously set expectations. Be mindful and sensitive toward others. Notice if, when disappointment or misunderstandings arise, they could have been avoided by you releasing expectations of others or ones that you yourself hold, and learn from those instances. Like any mental shift or behavior change, this is a gradual and sometimes tedious process. The first step is always acknowledging what it is that needs to be modified and staying conscious of it. If you're with me still, then you're off to a good start!

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