Happy Monday, friend! What are your expectations for this week? Might I suggest... NONE!?
I’ve been exploring what it’s like to go into experiences without having any expectations, and WOW! It is powerful! Let me try to break it down…
To “expect” is to regard something as probable or likely to happen.
So, when we expect something to happen, we (perhaps even unknowingly) consider that it will probably happen. When what we expect to occur does, we think, “Great! It’s all as it should be!” But what happens when we expect something to happen, and it doesn’t?
More often than not, we’re left with some level of pain, discomfort or suffering, wishing things had gone another way… the way we think they should have gone.
Expectations feel deserved, and when we don’t get what we deserve, we get frustrated.
This really stems from a mindset of scarcity.
When I let go of expectations, nothing actually changes except for my mind state—the external circumstances stay as they are; not having expectations, though, can change our whole experience of a situation because of that mind state.
Here’s an example—
On my birthday, I expect Susie to send me a birthday card—it is my birthday, after all!
When the birthday card arrives, I think “This is great! Susie is such a nice friend to remember to send me a birthday card—I feel so special!”
But if the birthday card doesn’t arrive, I think “What? Come on, Susie! I send you a birthday card every year—and I expect the same courtesy in return! My feelings are hurt!”
But what if I didn’t have any expectations around Susie sending me a birthday card?
Remember, me not expecting doesn’t change anything about Susie—it’s just as probable that she will send a card, regardless of my expectations, right? After all, that’s her business, and I have no control over it.
Well, if she forgets, and I have no expectations, I experience no pain, suffering or frustration.
Maybe the next day I get a text from Susie apologizing, and because I’m not in any pain, I can reply “it’s no big deal, thanks for thinking of me!”—and I can actually mean it, without any resentment.
Now, the beauty of no expectations is not just about avoiding pain, it’s also about living in abundance.
You see, if Susie does send me a birthday card, and I have no expectations, I get the card and am left filled with gratitude, joy and appreciation!
I’m not merely glad that Susie didn’t forget me (scarcity)—but I’m grateful she took the time and kindness to make me feel special.
This is abundance!
It really requires practice to cultivate this quality, but it is life changing and can positively impact all of your experiences.
Changing our thinking isn’t easy, and it doesn’t mean we should pretend to not have expectations when we do, but rather to notice those expectations.
I suggest setting an intention to approach an experience without any expectations at all—especially when it’s something you know you might push your buttons!
This summer for grad school, I needed an elective, and my only option due to COVID changes was a qigong class, which I did not have any interest in taking.
I tried to be open minded, and really went in with NO expectations; it ended up being my favorite class in school to date! This is not because of the class, as much as it was the attitude and intention I brought to the experience.
Give it a try! What’s something you could approach this week regarding not having expectations? Start with something small, set an intention, and if impulses to cling to expectations come up, simply notice them with curiosity.
This is mindfulness!
I hope you have a wonderful week!
Light and love,