The more expectations we have, the more likely it is that they will not be met. And we are then disappointed or dissatisfied or …
Somehow we know that. But in most cases, it’s not like we sit down or consciously choose the expectations. They’re just suddenly there.
I used to think this German saying was silly that I had heard a few times. I will translate it for you. It’s usually delivered in a rather frustrated voice:
“You just can’t have expectations, then you won’t be disappointed!”
In the meantime I have learned that there is SOME truth to it. Like I just mentioned the connection between expectation and disappointment.
What doesn’t work so well from the saying in reality is not allowing ourselves to have expectations – and not being very understanding with ourselves. I can’t simply forbid myself my expectations in order to get rid of them. This only leads to the following: I am disappointed because my expectation was not fulfilled. Then I am upset with myself that it was my own fault because I had expectations. This definitely won’t make me feel any better.
Or start one step earlier? Ban the expectation already before being disappointed?
Maybe you can remember how it used to be when we were forbidden something. Was the desire for it then simply gone?
And yet there is some truth in it, namely the link between expectation and possibly bad feelings.
In the last few years I have spent a few days with a lot of meditation and also silence, for example during seminars.
I still remember waking up one morning and thinking: Wow, if I have no expectations, THEN I am free. More specific: no expectations of others, none of myself, none of my body.
For example, if I don’t expect my body to not hurt anywhere right now.
That’s some kind of realization.
And also the difference to the German saying from the beginning of this episode. It’s just a realization.
Not a must. Not a prohibition. A discovery that, for me, comes with understanding.
I can see in moments when I feel totally happy, free, full of love, that I am totally in the moment there – and without expectations.
Also a nice point: when I am in the moment, I can’t have any expectation at all – expectation means, after all, that I imagine the future – however near it may be. Or sometimes the past.
What is very important – and for you perhaps also first somehow reassuring: Yes, beautiful realization – and nevertheless they are suddenly there: EXPECTATIONS.
And therefore here are a few tips, what can help you to deal with expectations:
1. notice them. And best of all with a friendly “aha” attitude: “Okay, all right, I have an expectation. That’s interesting.”
It may sound strange at first – but it is a loving way to deal with yourself.
2. if it is not immediately clear to you howyou are supposed to do this what I just said, the part with the noticing: you can try to find out what you would like to have from the other person (or also from yourself, your body) …
* He should not forget our appointment.
* She should be on time.
* I shouldn’t eat so many sweets.
* My arm should not hurt.
These is some sort of advice that we give to the other person (or to ourselves) so that WE could be happy ourselves if our expectation was met.
3. if you meditate or even do the Work (i.e. use The Work by Byron Katie), you can of course use this to look at your now realized expectation.
4. it can of course help to communicate our expectations as well. “I’d like it if you give me a hug when I’m sad.” Since the other person is not psychic in most cases, this is super helpful if I speak up. So that the other person has a chance to do that when they feel like it. The important thing here is that I can communicate that and that doesn’t mean at the same time that the other person has to do it because of that.
Over the course of time, I have always noticed moments when I was expectation-free.
For example, a trip to Düsseldorf, where I had an appointment with a nice colleague regarding our charity tasks. And at that moment I realized that I didn’t even have the expectation that this was about to take place, even though I drove to her office just for our appointment.
Or the moment when I drove to Neuss to go to the cinema with a buddy. If he had canceled on me shortly beforehand, that would have been just as okay, EVEN though I drove all the way there.
Or how nice it is when I can spend time with someone without expecting us to do it again soon.
Maybe you understand what I mean by that. My last tip for today is that we can create conditions for ourselves so that we have fewer expectations. For example, if I had squeezed the movie date into my day and had to totally hurry to get there on time and then I arrive rushed and the other person is late or has even forgotten about me: There it could definitely be that I would be annoyed. Instead, if I take care of myself in time, I’m immediately more relaxed: Don’t squeeze the day too full, somehow take care of having some breaks, ask beforehand if everything will happen as discussed.
So, now I’m curious what your expectations are.
Feel free to share your experiences with me.
And for now: Have fun getting to know you and your expectations better!
Be happy & be light
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