If there is ONE thing you do this year. Make it this: dig deep and find the expectations that you are trying to live up to, wanting others to live up to, asking life to live up to.
And drop them.
They won’t go without a fight, but stand firm. Make 2014 the year you drop your expectations.
Expectations of what you think will make you happy
Expectations of what your life should look like
Expectations of what others should be like
It isn’t easy, but if you don’t do it, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration, feelings of failure and a constant need to shape, manipulate and control the world around you to try and get it to fit into your expectations.
It is exhausting, disappointing and it does not lead to happiness. It just doesn’t. No sooner has one expectation been met than there is a fleeting sense of achievement until the next expectation on the list is flagged up and a new goal is born. There is no end to that freaking list.
There was a time when I was almost entirely dedicated to creating a life that fulfilled my expectations. In doing so I essentially stopped life from flowing and unfolding naturally from my core and instead ended up living a life that looked great on the outside, but didn’t feel good on the inside. The more I dedicated myself to fulfilling my expectations, the more disconnected, lonely and empty I felt. As I chased after fantasies and expectations, I ran further and further away from myself…and from those around me.
I had so many expectations of what my family, friends and partners should, would, could be like that I was regularly angry, disappointed, frustrated and asking why? Why aren’t they being the way I thought they would be. It felt like a betrayal. Now looking back on it it feels like bonkers.
When you dedicate yourself to having a life that lives up to your expectations, you end up spending your life, not enjoying it, but walking around with a measuring stick, seeing how your actual life measures up to your expectations of it. You are happy when it seems to be a close match and unhappy when it seems to suddenly fall short.
It is madness. Because YOU made up those expectations. No-one else. YOU.
Yes they might have been given to you by family, peers, society…but ultimately you chose to take them on and strive to create your life to the blue print of those expectations.
You are choosing to do that.
However that part is actually the good news. Because that means you can choose to stop. Stop trying to live your life according to what you think will make you happy, or worse still, what you think you and others should look and be like. You think you know what will make you happy and successful in life. I have news for you. You don’t. You don’t have a clue. The sooner you embrace the mystery of it all, that life is one big journey that you can’t control no matter how hard you try the sooner you will start to relax and enjoy the ride. Seeing where life takes you when you connect to your core, listen to yourself and how you feel about things and make choices from there.
So even when you set intentions, like I get you doing in this year’s ‘Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014’ make sure you allow them to take any shape at all. Plant them like seeds full of infinite possibility and not expectation. Because the moment you wrap and restrict those seeds up in your own expectations of how things should be, of what will be the best outcome or the worst outcome, then you restrict the very oxygen that will allow that intention to grow and flourish.
So join me this 2014 and as you step across the threshold, plant those intentions of the feelings you want to cultivate and leave your expectations behind.
Dare to join in the journey…