Nothing you ever achieved came as a result of expectations, but you will certainly have experienced disappointment because they were not met. Equally, some of your most memorable times were rooted in a lack of expectations – those evenings you went out even though you didn’t want to; or planned to go home early but stayed out all night because events swept you up and whispered not to think too much but relax and be where you are.
Expectations are more useless than comparisons, yet they are more prevalent. They often go unnoticed because they seem so benign. We have them about everything: the weather, the journey to work, the people we meet, the times we have, the lives we lead, the person we are, and the person we’ll become. We expect people to behave a certain way – especially if we have explained their faults to them – and when they don’t, we are the ones who get frustrated. More significantly, we have a tendency to turn our expectations on ourselves, making it too easy to blame ourselves when we don’t live up to them. A lose-lose strategy.
If you look closely, however, you’ll see that it’s not the expectation which is the problem. It’s the associated attachment. Attachment to something binds you to it. You are no longer free, and your fate (and your state) is dependent on the outcome. Therefore, instead of limiting yourself, reside in the place beyond expectations, where you are open to whatever happens, relaxed throughout, able to relish the good times and learn from the bad times, but not care either way. Remain there and resist the pull of expectation.