Having Expectations

Recently I had the opportunity to truly feel how damaging expectations actually are. My experience allowed me to see that having an expectation is really just an ideal or a belief about something that we want and imagine will happen. When it doesn’t happen in the way we have imagined, we are likely to be left feeling disappointed, dissatisfied, saddened, frustrated and plain let down.

Sure expectations are often exceeded too, seen by many as being a great thing, albeit still creating a temporary emotion or heightened state in the body that is based on something outside of our control.

With all these emotions coursing through the body, it is not hard to see why I consider having expectations is damaging, with my recent trip to the snow giving me a very clear example.

Springtime in the Australian Snowy Mountains is considered by many to be a very beautiful time with the last of the snow melting, the rivers running fast, fresh and clear, and the animals – kangaroos, wombats, and owls, to name a few, out and about in full force. But on my recent road trip to these mountains, I didn’t notice much of this.

I have visited Canada and Japan during their winters and experienced mountains of snow. The accompanying feeling was glorious as I was awed by the beauty and sheer brilliance of nature – the ground, trees and buildings covered in copious amounts of snow: it was a magical sight.

I fully expected to be awed by the Australian Snowy Mountains in the same way but I wasn’t because in late September in Australia, there is barely any snow left. The mountains never look like they do in Canada or Japan – we champion 15cms of snow as being a great thing, whereby other countries are measuring it in the metres. Having a picture in my mind of what I wanted and expected to see created something quite unpleasant: my expectation was just not met and I was disappointed, dissatisfied and cranky because of it. Where had the joy and delight of being witness to this scene gone?

My husband on the other hand, was feeling the enormity of how marvellous and awe-inspiring nature in the Snowies was. He just arrived in the mountains and simply allowed whatever it was he saw and experienced to be. He allowed the world to meet him as it was, with no pre-conceived ideas or expectations. He could clearly see and feel the silence and loveliness laid out before him with no impediment.

With having an expectation, I did not allow what actually was there to be seen, to be seen.

With this very simple example, I can see now that having any expectation can carry the same outcome of disappointment or falsehood, regardless of the actual scenario.

Many times throughout life we hold an expectation of how we want it to be or how it should be: we are not open to just letting the world – people and situations as well as nature ­– show us their own true beauty, untarnished by our own made up reality. What we can conjure up in our own minds is likely to fall far short of the true splendor and magnificence real life can and does display.

Through this experience I have come to appreciate that in not imposing my own ideals on how life should be, in reality it can actually be more remarkable than anything my simple mind could imagine.

I see now that having expectations are our way of controlling a situation, but when we free ourselves of them we are able to feel and experience the true potential and beauty life reveals to us.

My writing is inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

By Suzanne Anderssen, Brisbane

Further reading:
A True Relationship with Nature

954 thoughts on “Having Expectations

  1. Not having expectations, in a world where we are conditioned to control the things that happen around us, is not an easy thing to do, but what helps is to see each day and each opportunity as a fresh start and check in to see if we are holding on to any expectations, or ideals about how things are to be…Awareness of this or even of how we are feeling is then the first step to begin unraveling the situation and hence learn from it.

  2. It is so true that having an expectation is a way of trying to or wanting to control things outside of us. And yet this means we do not allow space for things to be as they are. And enjoy them for what they are. Suzanne’s example is great and depicts expectations of snow in the mountains, but we can have expectations on another person, or on ourselves etc and this too then creates a situation of not appreciating what is actually there and hence we miss out on the gift that is in front of our very eyes because we are the ones ignoring it.

  3. Suzanne, this is a great way of describing what an expectation is and how it leaves one feeling when one has invested in it in any shape or form: “an expectation is really just an ideal or a belief about something that we want and imagine will happen. When it doesn’t happen in the way we have imagined, we are likely to be left feeling disappointed, dissatisfied, saddened, frustrated and plain let down.”

  4. It’s a great example of an expectation Suzanne and how they impede our ability to receive in full everything before us. Pictures of how we expect things to be are such a narrow view, and if they’re not met then we can dismiss the person or situations when it’s actually offering us so much. The difference between how you and your husband experienced the snow highlighted how disabling our pictures are and how closed we can be in expectations.

    1. I agree, the difference between how you and your husband experienced the snow highlighted how disabling our pictures are, and how they close us to what is on offer. A great example to show the damaging impact of expectations in life.

  5. Expectations really do blind me to anything other than what I want the situation to be. It is really ugly whereas there’s a feeling of lightness and expansion when I allow myself to see what is truly there to be seen.

  6. Our emotional landscape is pretty much based on our expectations and pictures that we have – does it get met or not, how much/little of it does it get met? I am constantly uncovering my own expectations and pictures whenever I find myself go into reaction. It makes me realise how I have made the world very conditional. It is amazing how well we know to block out or filter our perception just in case what is in front of us might reveal something that would dislodge us from our comfort zone.

  7. Suzanne our expectations are based on such limited information. Not only that but they are also incredibly biased according to our limited experiences. All in all the reality of anything is rarely going to match our expectations, the chances of life and our expectations matching are usually very slim. There is also a sense of investment in expectations, be that we are invested in something going well or not so well.

  8. I had no idea I had so many pictures, ideals, and concepts stored in my body so that everything in a way is controlled by these projections. When we are controlled by our minds there is no spontaneity to life. Interestingly, I feel this was squashed by all the years of seeing a psychologist as I was taught how to function to get through life and cope with my depression.

    1. Expectations leave us in a lesser state, ‘Having a picture in my mind of what I wanted and expected to see created something quite unpleasant: my expectation was just not met and I was disappointed, dissatisfied and cranky because of it.’

  9. I realised the other day how expectations can drain us and make us exhausted. For instance I am working in the healthcare and the care clients need is becoming more complex and time consuming everyday and there is a shortage of caregivers and nurses. So I can go to my work thinking the work pressure will be less than the day before or that I can fulfill the needs of all the clients but with this expectation I get disappointed every time and complaining will also not work. To just observe and be with the way it is, makes it lighter and easier to handle the hard work.

    1. Yes and to know that when we apply ourselves we will be working hard therefore what gets done gets done and what is for another day, is simply that, for another day.

  10. “With having an expectation, I did not allow what actually was there to be seen, to be seen.” This is a great observation and one that reminds us what we can miss out on when we have locked in an expectation of how we want, or hope, things work out. There is so much magic waiting out in the world for us to experience. All we need to do is simply allow ourselves to trust, surrender to the process and allow it to unfold in its own time and in its own unique way.

  11. Nothing in life is fixed or predicable. Expectations seem like an attempt by us to control things so there is more of a known element to life. However as the with the perfect examples in this article, expectations set up a picture of how we want things to be which can lead to disappointment or a temporary emotional high. Accepting what is there at the time and working with that feels like a way to be in life rather than standing outside of it, trying to control something we cannot control.

  12. When we hold pictures we miss the opportunity to experience what is in front of us, we are in control but we also experience disappointment when our pictures aren’t met, awesome to expose how this stops us from feeling the beauty and magic that’s around us.

  13. “With having an expectation, I did not allow what actually was there to be seen, to be seen”. Very true whenever I have an expectation I have closed all the doors on the multidimensionality and narrowed everything down to what I want to see and not what is there to be seen.

  14. ‘With having an expectation, I did not allow what actually was there to be seen, to be seen.’ True Suzanne we stick our own image onto something and are judging what is actually there to not be what we expected it to be. Never will life be what it truly is if we look through this kind of tainted glasses.

  15. Having a picture of how we expect or would like something to be is a killer, especially when we get there and it’s not that – what are we left with? Not an appreciation of what is on offer but the disappointment that reality is different from what we wanted. Our expectations essentially set ourselves up to fall, instead of coming at something fresh and ready to embrace whatever is next.

    1. This is an interesting observation and comment… that our expectations are limited by our current patterns and therefore static or stuck and narrow whereas life is constantly moving on and deepening and expanding if we allow it to unfold.

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