I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations and the roles they play in our lives.
About how we think things “should” be versus how they actually are.
If this gap is wide, it can create a lot of suffering and judgment. If the gap is narrow, we are likely to feel more confident and satisfied.
One of the biggest sources of frustration I see in my clients is their belief that they should be somewhere different than where they are (physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and so on). We all have ideas about how things should be, what they should look like, how long they should take, etc. In the realm of personal development, we have expectations and beliefs around what growth, healing, and transformation looks like. What it feels like. And what kind of results it should yield.
We absorb ideas and attitudes about wellness, self-actualization, and fulfillment from the people and institutions around us; from things like marketing, magazines, and movies; and from our own assumptions. These expectations can create an unattainable vision of perfection or simply a one-dimensional model that does not take into account our own unique personality and life path. If we don’t measure up to the image or things go a different way then we hoped, this can be a source of shame or feeling that we are doing it “wrong.” And it denies us the magic of our own experience – which is where true fulfillment and awakening comes from!
While not often addressed – there is a shadow side to our pursuit of growth and change – namely the belief that where we are and how we feel now is flawed, unacceptable, or wrong. There can be a motivational benefit in the tension we feel between where we are and where we want to be – if we see it as inspirational. But more often than not, instead of fueling us, it makes us feel frustrated, disheartened, and even hopeless. You may even feel like something is wrong with YOU.
Have goals and visions – these are great and keep you moving toward new levels of experience. But don’t use the gap between you and your dreams as evidence of your deficiency or to beat yourself up.
When you judge where you are as wrong or lacking, you reject your current reality – which is where all the gifts are! Like: intuition, synchronicity, ingenuity, guidance, creativity, connection with vital resources, etc. You may believe that criticizing yourself or pushing things away will create the change you are looking for. But when we reject something, we can no longer transform it. And as we all know…what you resist persists. So instead of getting what you want, you actually end up stuck in a loop of longing, frustration, and denial.
When you accept what is here now – your circumstances, your feelings, and your struggles – then you are opening up the path to growth and new possibilities. You must start from where you are.
So, do yourself a favor. Take a moment right now to feel what you are resisting. You may want to close your eyes and let your intuition guide you, or reflect on what’s been going on this week. Perhaps something came to mind while reading this newsletter. Whatever it is, just witness it. And acknowledge that you have resistance here. Notice any feelings or stories that come up. And breathe. Then, with your hand on your heart, say something like “I see you resistance. I know you are here to protect me. But I am safe. And I am willing to let you go. Today I choose differently.”