Expectations; What I Learnt About Them

Man feeling freedom on open sea

Happy new year!  

I realize am few days late to say that but, in my defense isn’t it better to be late than never. It’s a new beginning, time to wipe the slate clean, time to reflect. There is a lot of months ahead of us to accomplish what we need to. A lot of us have made resolutions, we have set new goals .How about expectations ,do you have them ? How high or how low have you set them? Are expectations necessary or is it the root of all heartache as William Shakespeare said. 



A few years ago, someone whose opinion I really value said to me. The easiest way to never get disappointed is to do away with expectations. And I remember thinking to myself how in the world does anyone do that? This sounds like playing it safe. It feels like having no rules so you are never accountable. It feels like having really low standards which you are always sure of reaching. And I know what anyone would think, “what’s so hard about doing away with expectations?”.   


My perception had always been; when you expect the best and you work towards it you get the best. When you present your expectations to the universe you get exactly what you seek, right?  Wrong; sometimes things you have worked on really hard, things you have very high expectations for, don’t just turn out like you hope they would. Disappointments sometimes match your expectations. Does that mean we quit expecting? Does that mean its all negative?


“What screws us up most in life, is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be” Socrates. After many years I remembered and considered what my good friend had said.  I had learned something about expectations and disappointments. And I thought to myself, what if I have been setting myself up for disappointments all this time? What if it’s true that serenity comes when you trade your expectations for acceptance? What if it was not just an easy way out. What if my life would be better if I started approaching things differently. 


Not just dropping my expectations but instead learning to manage them. And every once in a while, letting them go. I thought of the many times I had high expectations of people, of things which never turned out like I hope they would. I remember the struggle of letting go the disappointments. I remember the grudges I held for so long. What if I just drop the expectations and see what happens?  



It isn’t easy and it’s a talk I’ve had with myself every day. And this is where I am; my eyes have opened; things have become clearer. I have realized that my life is not exactly disappointment free. But am not so often disappointed. I have learned that letting go my expectations takes courage. It takes a lot of guts to go out every day and do things you love and not be tied to the outcome.  


I have learned that managing my expectations makes the space around me conducive for myself and others. I have learned what Anthony Robbins says that when you” Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes”. I have learned that expectations sometimes blur your perceptions. I also realize that people are free to be themselves around me and am free to be me.  



It’s a new year, a perfect excuse to clean house, to let go, to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. What expectations do you have of yourself, of people, of things and of life? Are they hurting or helping you? Do they make your life and those around you better? Are you happier? Would it help to let go or manage some if not all of them even for a moment?  


Melody Beattie says.” Let go your expectations. The universe will do what it will. Sometimes your dreams will come true. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes when you let go a broken dream, another one gently takes its place. Be aware of what is, not what you would like to be, taking place”   


Be inspired to live your best life every day.  

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