I thought and thought…and then thought some more about what I could possibly write for the ‘X’ post for The Pagan Blog Project. I finally decided on eXpectations, although I think someone else has covered this also but nevermind. So what are expectations? They can mean all kinds of things…what we hope for…what we expect of other people…what we expect from ourselves. In fact the Oxford Dictionary defines it thus:
Expectation – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.
I have many expectations, some of which materialise and some that don’t. sometimes my expectations are so high that when they don’t occur I fall flat on my face and feel terribly dejected, often feelings of failure or resentment wash over me. However, I have learnt one way of minimising the negative feelings that can happen if our expectations aren’t met.
This wonderful tool is called Mindfulness. That practice of being in the present moment, and it is a practise. I don’t do it perfectly and quite often I don’t do it at all because I’ve forgotten to do it. That’s when the Universe slaps me in the face with a wet haddock! You see quite often we set our expectations way too high. That’s because of Ego! But the Universe works to its own rhythm and not that of the ego. So do we have to let go of all our expectations? I have been told in the past that we should do so and in some respects it’s good advice. If we have no expectations then we’ll never be disappointed. However, I’m not sure I totally agree with this. I think ‘reasonable’ expectations are good for us…they can spur us on to do our best, or be more motivated. But the word here is ‘reasonable’.
To have reasonable expectations of ourselves and others we need to remember that right now, in this incarnation, we are human and that means having all the frailty and vulnerability of humanness. Humans make mistakes, we mess up, we don’t always do what we should do…that’s being human and nothing more or less. We have to learn to be able to say ‘Oh well!’ Having reasonable expectations of yourself means you need to throw words like failure, perfection and self blame into the trash can. Doing this is an extremely free-ing act. It helps us embrace our humanness and love it for all its faults and foibles.
What about the expectations we have of others, especially significant others and our families? Yes, we all have to admit we have them. We want our partners to be what we want them to be. It’s hard to admit that but it’s true. Same goes for our kids too. It’s not a pleasant thought is it, that deep down we want them to be this or that or the other. We want them to behave in a certain way and we explain it by saying ‘but it’s what’s best for them’. The truth is although we, as humans are linked, as we are to everything in the Universe, in the Web of Life, we are also individuals. Our expectations are not the same as someone else’s no matter how much we love them. Our needs are not all the same.
So what do we do? Well here is where we just…let it go! Let our expectations for others go completely. If we have these expectations of them they’re always going to miss the mark. This causes so much friction and negativity in families, and we see it on a larger scale in the world too. I’m a fine one to talk…I still have expectations of others and when they fail to meet my expectations I get angry and resentful. Letting go is an ongoing process and may be a life time’s work. But it is an important lesson for us all.