Letting GoPosted: January 26, 2015
I’ve been thinking about expectations–as they relate to life in general, and relationships in particular. I couldn’t figure out why it is SO difficult for me to live life without expectations–why it is so hard for me to not pin my future happiness to any specific outcome. I wrote about this in my post yesterday–the fact that I become so anxious about making plans or accepting promises, because I know I will be hurt if or when things don’t pan out.
I started reading about acceptance and expectations, and what I found made a lot of sense. For some reason, our brains like to do this thing. . .When we expect something, our brains trick us into thinking that this thing actually belongs to us. It hasn’t been given to us, but emotionally, we feel as though it has. We become entitled–we think that whatever it is, is ours. So when we don’t get or experience what we expected to, we react as though we have lost that thing.
Which is ridiculous, because it was never ours to begin with.
Becoming distraught over something great that we never got to experience doesn’t make sense, because every day we live with and accept the fact that there are lots of good things we will never experience. I can’t,for example, know what it would have been like to grow up in Switzerland or Hawaii or Portugal or New York City. Am I sad about that? No! Of course any of those options may have been wonderful, but I grew up in Canada and I’m glad that I did. There are billions of people that I will never meet, and I’m sure an enormous number that I could have been really good friends with or a really good lover to, but that’s the way it goes. I can’t meet them all. It’s just not possible.
So why is it that I am so quick to believe that if I expect something to go a certain way, and it doesn’t, that there are no other ways to be happy, or no other options out there for me? Why do I act like there’s just one possible way for my life to go, for me to enjoy and appreciate and love it?
Why do I have expectations of my relationships with other people, when the last thing I want is for anyone to feel obligated to me, or that they let me down because they don’t meet those expectations? Especially when there is so much good they DO bring into my life, and so much I DO get to experience with them?
I need to learn to accept and be happy with what is. I need to seize the opportunities that are presented to me, and not worry that things that I want or hope for will never happen. I mean, so what if they don’t? There are so many things in my life that I never expected or even thought to hope for, that I do have. I need to treat every day and every relationship like a surprise, instead of painting a picture in my head of what it should look like, and becoming upset when it doesn’t match up.