Updated: Jun 21, 2020
by Dana Heller
Oh, how I love expectations. Can you catch the sarcasm? It's good to have goals, right? It's good to have ambitions, dreams, and desires. If we didn't, I'm not sure life would be much fun. It's human nature to encourage ourselves to grow and evolve and to encourage and support others to do the same.
That's where expectations come into the picture. I think the main blockage for growth is the expectations we put on others and ourselves. It's kind of hard to really pinpoint where these expectations originally stem from. Possibly societal pressures. Our parents. The media. Social media. Our culture. Who knows. I don't think the point is to try to find the source (though my mind wants that answer and will certainly go down the rabbit hole to try to find it). The point is that we have expectations and when our life or someone else doesn't adhere to the idea we have in our mind, we're left feeling very upset. Maybe not all of us, but I think most can relate to this pattern of events.
I've DEFINITELY felt that way. I've had an idea in my head as to what my life should look like. What my job should look like. What my romantic life should look like. You get the point, AND social media definitely doesn't help. I think a lot of people look at social media and see all these "happy" people and compare their lives to this image. Well, that can be unhealthy. Many of us know that other people's journeys aren't always filled with rainbows and butterflies. Even so, it's still hard not to compare, right? I do. Some days I care less and other days I go down the rabbit hole and before I know it I've engaged in negative thinking.
Expectations. The bottom line is—you have to be your own source of happiness. No one else can, will, or should be. Of course people and experiences will bring you joy, I'm not saying they won't. What I'm saying is—life changes. You have no idea what will happen tomorrow. That person could be gone, that job could no longer exist. So if you put all your happiness into external things, you will be unhappy. It's inevitable. At least that's my experience.
I don't necessarily think that being human is easy. Yes, I'm very grateful for my life, don't get me wrong. I've always felt that we are all here for a purpose and to be of service to others. But to be honest, I have to do constant work on myself to grow and evolve. Not everyone chooses to grab the magnifying class to examine their character defects in order to create a journey of change and transformation. I'm grateful I've been given the strength and courage to take the plunge to do the work, even if it's into the darkness. As we all know, it's darkest before the dawn.
What I'm getting at is—it's SO liberating to find happiness inside you. You feel free. Other people's actions don't impact you like they did in the past. You don't crumble if someone doesn't show up the way you want. Or if the job you romanticized in your head doesn't manifest in the way your mind told you it would, you don't completely lose your shit.
You begin to see that life is funny, weird, precious, and SO SHORT and that we're all in this together!
When I think about the expectations I put on others in the past, I laugh. Not that they were crazy asks or anything but just unrealistic, you know? I smile now inside because I realize that I stopped seeing the other person, I stopping seeing my truth, I stopped connecting to my inner self and heart. I lost the link to compassion.
It's a miraculous feeling when an event doesn't turn out the way you thought it should. Then you look back a few months later and are so grateful you didn't get what you thought you wanted, but you got exactly what you needed.
Through the inner work I've chosen to do, I've become way more accepting of myself and cultivated more self-love. And with that acceptance, guess what? I'm way more accepting of life. Life on life's terms. I'm humbled, very humbled today. We're all doing the best we can, so when life doesn't happen the way you thought or that person doesn't act the way you want, remember we're all in this together. Interconnected, always.
Dana Heller has more than 500 hours of trainings and has received her 500 ERYT from the Yoga Alliance. She is a firm believer in self-care and encourages people to incorporate daily actions to achieve groundedness. She's struggled with her own burnout and found that only through loving acts toward herself was she able to heal and give fully to herself and others. Her areas of focus include exploratory guided meditations to discover your self-care needs, restorative and vinyasa yoga, reiki, aromatherapy, and breath awareness. Join her classes on Warrior Flow TV.
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