Last night I was giving a seminar on developing a Personal Strategic Life Plan in order to live with more passion, motivation and “fire in the belly.” One of the principles involved in living a more passionate life is letting go of expectations which usually get us into more hot water than we can imagine. When we live in expectation, we are giving control to our ego.
If you stop and think about it, how many times have you been upset, frustrated, annoyed and downright furious because someone didn’t do what you thought they should? I bet your life is full of those moments. I know I’ve had my share!
We forget that just as we filter our thoughts through our own experiences and background, so does everyone else. Just because we have certain sets of behaviors, doesn’t mean that the next person has the same ones. Yet we expect them to. So when something doesn’t go according to our expectations, we get miffed. Rather egotistical on our part, wouldn’t you say!
Think about the last time this happened to you. What other thought could you have had other than the one you did? Perhaps you didn’t have all the facts as to why that person behaved the way they did. Perhaps you thought the other person should change to match your expectation. Trying to change another person is an exercise in futility, is extremely frustrating and can cause much damage to a relationship. The only person you can change is yourself.
So think about letting go of expectations and just staying open to what comes along. I’m not saying here that you let people trample all over your boundaries. Just don’t expect them to follow your “shoulds.” It’s not easy but it’s part of the growth process.
Next time you find yourself with an expectation of some specific outcome, whether it relates to a situation or a person’s behavior, see if you can identify what faulty assumptions you might be making. Ask yourself if you truly understand the circumstances and become aware of the possible consequences of putting a lot of energy into your expectations. Allow the other person to come from a place of integrity and values (even if you don’t agree) and allow yourself to be in alignment with your own values. You’ll release stress and tension and you might just learn something new.
Whew … isn’t that freeing!