“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”
– Thich Nhat Hạnh –
– Thich Nhat Hạnh –
It can be easy for our expectations to get the better of us. What may have begun as aspirations to grow in life, transformed into unrealistic goals that burden us from happiness, flow, and presence, and we start feeling that who we are and how we live are suddenly not enough.
Once we are trapped in your expectations, our internal critic bombards us with judgments and criticism. Expectations and judgments manifest as the truth and influence our emotions and our actions. Many of us are trapped into the “expectations loop”. Keep reading to find your way out.
The discrepancy between our expectations and reality quickly becomes uncomfortable. It causes us to blame ourselves and tighten our grip on our expectations. We believe that it is only once these high expectations are met that we can let go and be happy. It is also tempting to place blame on another person or on our circumstances. Again, we believe that if only he/she/it/this would change, we could let go and be happy.
We can be easily persuaded by the false promises that control and perfection make. We can forget that perfection will never be achieved, and we mistakenly believe that this means we are not enough. We might even believe that our self-talk, as negative as it may be, is reality. When thinking errors overshadow the good that is within our lives, it can seem that life must always be something different from what it actually is. The trick in all of this is that there will always be new expectations to be met preventing us from letting go and truly embracing our lives.
So how can we get out of the “expectations loop” and into accepting the Now? When we can change our ever criticizing mind, not only do our expectations change, but so do our happiness, contentment, and gratitude for what is. We are more likely to fully see things as they are when we can detach ourselves from unyielding expectations about ourselves and our surroundings.
But how can we do that, how can we change our minds?
What has your inner critic convinced you of? Explore this question with curiosity, not judgment or criticism. When we can do this with non-judgmental curiosity, we are able to see with clarity and compassion. We can begin to identify those things we tell ourselves that just make us feel worse. We can reduce our suffering, even in a naturally painful situation. It isn’t even necessary to be good enough. You are simply enough. We might need to remind ourselves of this often. After all, that inner critic has had a lifetime to develop.
Have you made room for life? Do you have new information now that you didn’t have before? Are these expectations compatible with your priorities? When we can make our expectations more fluid, we have the freedom to live in the present moment and enjoy it. We are free to decide what our life is about, and we are free to change our minds about this at any time.
What are you really afraid of? Are these fears accurate? Quite often, our fears take the form of “what if” and “what this says about me.” The belief that we are unworthy, irresponsible, weak, unlovable imposters is simply a fear, not a fact. And being able to identify these fears, brings you one step further towards acceptance, peace and presence.
I believe most things are possible if you put your mind to it. Being honest with yourself about what you really want will allow you to make choices that can lead to a happy, rewarding life.
May abundance, love and light keep flowing (back) into our lives.
Peace and blessings,