Release Expectations and Live in a World of Possibilities

Written by Chrissy Scivicque of  The Executive Assistant’s Toolbox.

release expectations and live in a world of possibilitiesAround the holidays, I always end up a little overwhelmed with stress. It’s natural, I suppose. As a child, my mother did Christmas in a big way – a big, beautiful tree, lots of presents and more food than a small army could ever eat. It was always a very special time of year. As I age and those memories get further and further away, they seem to grow more and more perfect. My expectations of what Christmas is supposed to be get bigger and better. I’ve realized recently that the expectations are part of what stresses me out about the holidays- this idea that each year has to live up to something I’ve truly created in my mind. After all, in reality, I know that no Christmas have ever been that magical thing you see on TV. I also feel this way about New Year’s Eve. I hate trying to make plans because everyone wants to go “big” and have huge parties or do some crazy event. But it always feels like I’m working so hard to live up to the idea of what I want it to be that I don’t get to even enjoy it. And on New Year’s Day, I always feel sad and let down.

So, I’ve made a commitment this year:  I will release all expectations that surround the holidays and instead, I will live in a world of possibilities. So I’ve researched expectations – what they are, why they happen and how we can shift them to a more positive presence in our lives.

In my life, I’ve struggled a lot with expectations. Not only the ones I place on myself, but also the expectations I inflict on others (and those others place on me).

It’s a pretty common problem actually. Expectations are so prevalent; you may hardly notice them anymore. For example, you may expect that certain actions will yield specific results. Likewise, you may expect that certain people will act in predefined ways. You may have very clear expectations of what defines a good marriage, or a good person or success.

Consider for a moment, the pain and suffering that comes from expectations that are not met. Perhaps, you have such a clear expectation of what success means, that you are unable to enjoy any other definition of it. Maybe you have built such a precise expectation of “Mr. Right” that you can’t see the man in front of you – who is perfect in a most unexpected way. Expectations can lead to disappointment, hurt and anger.

Expectations are rooted in desire and anxiety. They are formed when we create a belief of how we think the world should be. They limit us, forcing us to interpret our present experiences only in the context of an expected future. When we release our expectations can we open ourselves to the possibilities of the world.

Release Expectations

It’s important to first understand how expectations appear in your life. Make an effort to observe yourself and see how they manifest. Do you expect unrealistic things of yourself and others? Do you have high, low or even negative expectations? Watch how they pop up in your everyday life and simply consider their impact.

Live in the World of Possibilities

Expectations create pressure and rigidity in your life. When you expect things (or people) to be a certain way, you limit them and sometimes in the process, actually cause them to be (or NOT be) that way. You narrow options, stifle imagination and impede possibility. When expectations shape your view of reality, your intuition is blocked. Releasing expectations allows you to see the possibilities that  surround you. If you don’t believe success will look a certain way, you may be more likely to find it. Be willing to re-evaluate and reconsider your ideas of what the future looks like. Don’t hold yourself or others to predetermined expectations or you take the risk of oppressing creativity and spontaneity.

This holiday season, I will be living in a world of possibilities. I will not focus on expectations. Instead, I will keep my eyes open for unexpected delights, new ways of doing things, spontaneous pleasures, and the wide open world of possibilities. I hope you join me there!!

This article was written for LifeDev by Chrissy. You can visit her anytime at The Executive Assistant’s Toolbox where she blogs regularly about professional and personal development. Stop by and check out some of her most popular articles, like How to Energize Your Workday and How to Speak Your Mind (and Keep Your Job).

Comments on this entry are closed.

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  • Shamelle @ Enhance Life December 21, 2007, 1:19 am

    “In my life, I’ve struggled a lot with expectations. Not only the ones I place on myself, but also the expectations I inflict on others”

    Yes, I can very well related to that statement!

    Merry Christmas

  • iam9 December 21, 2007, 1:13 am

    Nice write-up…gud motivational one…refreshin’ treat to mind indeed !

  • Seeker December 18, 2007, 2:53 pm

    Lord Buddha had said that expectations is the root of all misery. If we let go of expectations, we feel lighter and freer.

    Great article!!

    My Positivity Blog

  • Karly Pitman December 17, 2007, 11:17 am

    This article expressed my feelings, also. How do I reconcile my high expectations, my goals, my aspirations, and my drive to push myself to be my best, with my need for accepting what is, for letting go of the reins, and for trusting that I don’t have to be in control? I attempted to answer this question here, for myself:

    For me, it’s not about eliminating expectations completely, but about softening them: understanding the difference between what the serenity prayer so wisely explains: what to accept, what to change, and what to let go.

  • David December 14, 2007, 12:09 pm

    Thanks for a great article. You’ve nailed my principal cause of frustration. I hope you’ll expand on ways to release expectations. It is much more difficult than just understanding the need to do it.