Buddhists talk about the “wanting mind” and the power of expectations to create suffering, and that’s certainly true when it comes to our relationships. Our disappointment, irritation, anger, sadness most often arise because others didn’t respond to us in the way we imagined they would. Rather than looking down and focused on ourselves, we’re always looking ahead and at others. And that’s what gets us into emotional trouble.
Do you often feel disappointed by other people or events? Are you frustrated when things don’t go just as you had planned, or thought they should go? When you have expectations that aren’t met, you end up feeling let down and dissatisfied. You may even begin to become untrusting of a person or situation because they didn’t deliver as promised. They didn’t live up to what you thought they should.
Having these types of experiences time and time again can lower your life satisfaction level. You may become cynical and cautious with everyone and everything in your life. But, what happens if you let go of your expectations? What if you have no expectations?
When you let go of preconceived ideas of what should or should not happen, you let go of the frustration, anger, disappointment and sadness you get when things don’t work as planned. This instantly reduces your stress level. When you’re not worrying about what you expect to happen, your body is able to remain calm and at peace.
Sometimes it’s hard because you’re afraid that letting go will somehow negatively impact the outcome of a situation. However, having expectations doesn’t really have any impact at all because they’re just pre-determined opinions and beliefs. They’re not something tangible that will change the results.
Nothing stands in the way of a loving, caring relationship more than bad feelings because someone has let you down. So, if you let go of all the expectations you have on people, you open yourself up to better, higher quality relationships with the ones you love.
Yes, it isn’t always easy to let go of expectations. After all, you have people in your world because you expect them to be certain ways, right? True. But, if you release them from only behaving in certain manners, you may be pleasantly surprised by how unique and individual they really are.
Greater Inner Peace
When you aren’t caught up in trying to analyse what should or should not happen, or what someone might or might not do, you aren’t burdened with a mountain of thoughts and can achieve a higher level of inner calm. Your mind is capable of being clearer and more focused. Your energy is saved for things that matter; things you can actually change to improve your life.
Now you know the benefits of letting go, so how do you actually do it? How do you live a life without expectations?
- Become aware. Pay attention to how often you let expectations enter your mind.
- Let go of outcomes. When you find that you’re assessing an outcome before it’s time, let go of it. Remove it from your mind. Choose to let life run its course, regardless of outcome.
- Stay in the present. If you focus on the here and now, you aren’t worried or concerned about what may or may not happen tomorrow, thereby releasing yourself from expectations.
- Focus on yourself. Don’t worry about other people or situations. Focus solely on yourself and what you can do to make your life better.
- Clear your mind and let go of all the thoughts that cloud it. Calm your body and relax your soul by releasing your pre-conceived ideas.
- Try something new. You can’t have outcomes if you have no idea what they are, right? Do something you’ve never done before. Expand your horizons.
The sooner you release people and situations from your expectations, the sooner you will see that greatness can, and usually is, delivered in many different forms. It’s usually the times that things don’t go as expected that open our eyes to a new, refreshing way of living. So, let go of your expectations and enjoy your life. It is what it is, and it is great!