I don’t know anyone, myself included, who lives without expectations of themselves and others. Yet these very expectations, however noble and well-intended, can cause great pain when they are not met.
There was a soul in my past whom I expected to be very supportive of me, to understand my heart, to want the best for me, etc. However, this very soul ended up being an emotional child, wanting only for their needs to be met, wanting only to be heard, while not being willing to hear much of what was important to me. This soul wanted me to be around when they were in need and ignored me when they were not.
At first I was angry. I felt they “should” have cared about me more. I expected them to do so. But the fact remains, they did not. My expectations and the resulting anger hurt only me. As I learned, grew, and looked back I realized this soul simply wasn’t able to be who I had once hoped and expected they would be. Their childhood woundedness prevented them from being able to care too deeply about anyone other than themselves.
Recently I had a conversation with this person once again. I prayed over it, and chose to release myself and them from all expectations. I simply listened with compassion. I choose not to dance often with them, but when I do I will just take the most loving course of action. As the angels always say, “Love just feels better!”
Here are a few tips to help you deal with unmet expectations…
1. Know what you will do if your expectations aren’t met
Write down on a piece of paper… “I expect myself to…” and fill in the blanks with as many things that come to mind. Write down “I expect others to…” and fill in the blanks with as many things that come to mind.
Now, next to each expectation, write down a loving response that you could choose if the expectation isn’t met. This way if you, or others, don’t live up to your expectations you have already created a loving way to respond.
Years ago after an abusive ex-boyfriend unceremoniously left my life, I wrote “The Ten Commandments of Ann” – how I expected to be treated and how I’d deal with it if I was not. While this was done out of pain, if actually served me well as I went into the future. I had created a “game plan” that helped me to treat myself with far more kindness and respect, and others with far less upset.
2. If you are upset at someone ask yourself, “How can I free them and myself from the bondage of my expectations?”
If we could truly accept others as they are, we’d get momentarily angry at mistreatment, then in the very next breath, decide how to powerfully and lovingly handle it, taking into account love for self as well. We perpetuate anger if we hold onto the expectation.
For example, I met someone who was very pushy earlier this year. I lovingly told this person that I was going to listen to my inner guidance over what they thought I “should” do. They continued to insist I was wrong. I had to let go of my expectation that they would be willing to let me be me, and accept they had a burning need to be right. I stopped communicating and blocked this person’s calls. Once I released us from the bondage of my expectations – for them to change, for me to “make nice” – the healthy choice became obvious.
Most of us expect our leaders to be honest, to behave in integrity, and to make decisions for the good of all. Sometimes they do not. We can hold on angrily to our expectations and drain our own joy, or we can say, “I have no control over their behavior. I will place my joy, safety, freedom, and abundance in the hands of God.”
3. Be kind to yourself if you don’t meet your own expectations.
I expect the best from myself, but I don’t always manage it. I make mistakes, forget things, and sometimes still fall into self-defeating thought patterns. However, I no longer “perpetuate the pain” by beating myself up for not meeting my own expectations.
The angels once, very humorously made this point by saying, “Ann! If you’re standing in the toilet, don’t flush!” I howled with laughter.
If you don’t live up to your own expectation, speak to yourself as you’d speak to a sweet innocent child… “Its OK honey, you’ll do better next time.” Be kind to yourself. Make a loving choice to learn and move forward.
We all have expectations. However if they’re not met, better to accept life and yourself as it is, and as you are, and create a loving dance with the present moment!