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

891 thoughts on “Having Expectations

  1. Having expectations is a killer of joy because we miss what is actually there to be seen by the picture of what and how we want it to be. It’s the same with expectations on people, it doesn’t allow us to see them because of what we are holding them to.

    1. It is so true Sandra – ‘Having expectations is a killer of joy…’ It is crazy how much we limit ourselves by the expectations we hold. For me this begs the question as to why we choose to hold onto expectations in the situations that approach us, are we resisting embracing all that we are or is it that we do not want to admit that we like the identification we seek through an expectation being met or not?

  2. ‘My husband on the other hand, was feeling the enormity of how marvellous and awe-inspiring nature in the Snowies was’. Your husband was experiencing the awe and wonder that nature and the universe inspires in all of us when we are connected and open to observation. As you say Suzanne, it is extraordinary how our expectations about things can so blind us to the beauty that is there.

  3. I recently witnessed on the news the head of the Olympic team carrying on in a grave voice about how Australia’s medal tally didn’t live up to expectations and so everyone was really unhappy. The belief in competition as a valid way of relationship, and the expectation that there could only be happiness if our team defeated a lot of other people provided a pall that was hanging over this speaker and the whole team . . . and what was the ‘solution’? More and more money to be poured in – taxpayers money!

  4. A great learning Suzanne that to have expectations of a mental ideal can so often lead to disappointment but to appreciate how things are and the lessons this offers frees us from the seesaw of expectations.

  5. A very mild (and true) example of what having expectations can lead to! Great that you are aware and can be honest about what happened here, to learn and expand for the future

  6. The expectations of life are a double edged sword. On one hand they set us up to be disappointed when those expectations aren’t met. On the other they block out all the incredible opportunities that are right there waiting to be had, but can’t be seen as we have tunnel vision on our expectations.

  7. Its a great learning that expectations is a false way to go, as it will cap what is truly there for us to experience. When we allow and trust the flow of nature then we are beautifully supported by the magic of what nature has to offer.

  8. As I come back to this blog, I can see much more clearly now than before just how insidious theses expectations, images and pictures can be, and how they get in the way of simply living life

  9. Having expectations not only sets us up for disappointment but it exposes how limiting our beliefs and the images that come along with them can be. If we are open to receiving what is presented by nature or people we can experience the full majesty of the world as it is, not as we try and shape it to be. My expectations can still trip me up but I have been lovingly examining them and trying to be light-hearted with it – oh there you go again trying to box the splendour of the universe in the confines of what I imagine a situation should look like – a recipe for unfulfilled expectations if ever there was one! Allowing myself the freedom to go into a situation with an open heart to whatever unfolds offers so much more potential for whatever is there to express.

  10. I am struck by just how controlling expectations can be and how this does not allow for appreciation and in that how we set ourselves up for so much disappointment because situations and people rarely live up to our expectations and if they do then we just tend to raise the bar of what we expect the next time. Dropping our attempts to control and allowing situations to unfold gives space for appreciation and wonder and is so much more joyful. Here’s to saying no to the contraction of expectations and embracing the vastness of what is on offer every day.

  11. Expectations are super harmful to those on both ends of the expectation – The expector will either be under a false elation or a disappointment and the expectee will feel the enormous pressure that the expectation brings

  12. I agree with you, Suzanne, having expectation being a way of controlling a situation, and I have had plenty of experience to say that trying to control a situation is frustration breeding and robs me of joy that life has otherwise on offer.

  13. Suzanne your example shows how very much we limit ourselves by expecting things have to be a certain way and how we are influenced by the image of beauty that we have. I would with certainty say that you probably would have been disappointed too if the mountains had been as you had expected, because how could one place in the world possibly be exactly like another?

  14. It is so true Suzanne, and so beautifully and wisely shared. With any expectation that we impose on anything or any situation, we instantly forgo the opportunity of discovering the truth and wonder that is naturally there to explore and appreciate.

  15. Having expectations about how someone or something should be, prevents us from truly connecting with what is being provided for us to experience in all our encounters.

    1. A valid point Elizabeth. Using everything that happens to us can be used as an opportunity – to evolve – or stay in comfort – and perhaps wallow because reality didn’t match our expectation, which then becomes a wasted opportunity to grow. .

  16. “….. 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.” So true Suzanne. Expectations are something I still struggle with and although I didn’t think I was a controlling person I can see that is how exactly I am in some situations – all to do with my expectations of how things will turn out. ‘Live and let live’ is a good motto for me.

  17. That’s the sad thing about expectations, it breeds comparison and judgement instead of allowing the beauty and potential of anything to be fully understood and appreciated.

  18. It is amazing how damaging having expectations are on our body, we set ourselves up to fail from the outset creating an immediate pressure on ourselves in leaving who we naturally are to strive to be something we are not and then often become very critical or emotionally effected when our expectations are not met, even knowing from the outset that we have set ourselves an impossible task.

  19. Such a beautiful reminder to not impose our expectations, ideals and beliefs on ourselves and others, thank you for this gentle reminder Susanne;
    “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”.

  20. It is remarkable how often we unknowingly taint things with an expectation of how we would like things to be… the ideal picture. However even the slightest change to this can create disappointment when the picture is not met…. Each time denying the beauty that can come from just allowing life to be and to happen as it should and for us to then experience it as such… free of any control or imposition for it to be anything else other than what it is.

  21. I can so relate to what you have shared, I have had many moments lately where my expectations, ideals and beliefs have set me up for a let down. Not only have they effected me they have effected others who I have imposed upon with these expectations. In living like this we can absolutely miss the beauty that is right in front of us.

  22. I have been noticing how quickly I come up with pictures of how things would be, or rather how I would like it to be. This happens so fast, and usually keeps me on the safest track. And I agree that having expectations is our way of wanting to control situations – so for me, it feels related to the lack of confidence – that I do not feel I am equipped to handle whatever that may come my way – and this can only go back to how I live my every day.

  23. It is interesting to consider why we do have expectations and what they actually do bring to us. In general to my experience is that my expectations do never meet the actual reality when I am at the point I had the expectations about, they either are under estimated or over estimated but never meet the actual experience. The thing that then is happening to me is either to get a heightened or disillusioned state of being that takes me completely away of who I really am and does not allow myself to actually experience and feel the reality that is in front of me and the lesson that is there for me to be considered and learned. Running life from expectations will bring nothing else than disappointment or dissatisfaction and leaves us empty that in turn have to be filled with another falsity, a perpetual movement that will not bring us any closer to who we truly are, our true way of being.

    1. Expectations are a great way to reduce everything and everyone. There is such a false sense of security by expecting life be a certain way, instead of being open and ready to receive what is on offer moment to moment, and appreciating ourselves, others, and life exactly as it is now.

  24. Running expectations will immediately and without doubt cut us from from the greater awareness that is there for all. Expectations are like a protective device to keep the world within a framework that feels handle-able. This inevitably stops growth.

  25. We don’t let love in (and out) when we come from the expectations we hold. it is as simple as that. It sets us up to be disappointed, frustrated and all other kind of emotions so we dismiss the grandness that we truly are and is reflected in nature, the magic of God.

  26. When we are controlled by our expectations, we miss out on all that is naturally going on around us, and the reflection that it offers us too.

  27. Expectations and investments go hand in hand. The problem is not just what happens to us, but also the fact that both are impositions over free will and the evolutionary path of another one. Oneness is a true alternative.

    1. Great point Eduardo – that our expectations effect not only our relationship with evolution and what is unfolding before us but also that of another. We don’t appreciate just how sensitive and connected we all are and that each choice we make, whether it outwardly or ‘privately’ is felt more broadly than we care to see.

  28. How my life is now, I could never have imagined or tried to concoct or control. Making life about being and having a relationship with all we are in every moment allows a flow to move from each moment to the next – all is simply revealed in this flow and each step is an offering to deepen the relationship. The outcome is less important as the journey never ends.

  29. Placing expectations on an outcome is not allowing things to evolve in their natural rhythm, and may very well rob us of enjoying the lead up to the event, as our focus is not in the moment but on the end result.

  30. I have found that when I have an expectation of something it automatically shuts down my ability to feel the joy in that moment, and accepting and embracing every new moment brings a lightness that is felt throughout our body.

  31. I have just had a great lesson in expectations, or in other words, putting conditions on life. I had been out of work for longer than I planned to be and during this time I found myself putting conditions on what job, what hours, what location etc etc, and funnily enough no job appeared. Last week I realised that it was time to let go of all conditions, scary for a moment but so very freeing. Within a few days there was a job, a short term position, but one that fits so beautifully into my life right now and in a place where I had actually begun volunteering! I know now that I am not going to place conditions on what comes after it’s finished; letting go of all those controlling expectations feels so liberating.

  32. I will take this blog and commit to bringing it in all areas of my life, one by one and step by step, but a commitment it is. The reason being, joy is my natural state, anything that dampens it is not worth it to indulge in, so expectations and the disappointment we all know it brings, is not part of the true me.

  33. This is such a beautiful and honest blog Suzanne and I especially love the last line and your words of wisdom that are a great reminder for me to take into my day ‘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.’

  34. Suzanne, this blog illustrates perfectly how having expectations can limit what is truly there to be experienced. When we want things our way, its like we have blinkers on.

  35. It’s so true how if we’re projecting out what we expect or want to see that we miss seeing what is actually there to observe in full, in any situation in life. And this can apply if we put on rose-tinted glasses as well, so to speak, and don’t allow ourselves to observe all of what is going on…

  36. It makes sense how much having an expectation for a certain outcome is very damaging and controlling that instantly puts us into reaction with an inevitable outcome.

    1. Thank you Stephanie, a great summary and something I can relate to. Expectations also have a nasty habit of always being unreachable so that the cycle can perpetuate. As soon as we allow in from the outer world the expectations we supposedly need to reach, we begin to see ourselves as failing instead of taking in the whole of our life, and appreciating the qualities of who we are and all the little miracles along the way.

  37. Brilliant Suzanne. I can see the link between expectation and control so clearly after having read this blog. There is a sense of entitlement that comes with expectations. I recently experienced how damaging it is to have expectations. When I let go of my expectations I see life as a reflection and accept what is before me.

  38. The thing is with expectations is we can’t keep them to ourselves. If we have them with us, we have them with others too. Did you ever get stopped and see that you were totally missing the beauty of a place or person and think ‘gosh how did that happen?’ Well the answer you show Suzanne lives in the expectations we let go. Like money in the bank we look forward to what we have in mind only to receive a great big surprise. It’s often not pleasant though, because as you say you find yourself feeling short changed by life.

  39. Thank you Suzanne, I was having a phone conversation today about this very thing! This is a great line about how we let our pictures of how life should be affect us “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.” Giving our power to anything that comes from the outside world, whether is how our house or body should look because of a magazine, or how we or others should be etc creates stress, tension, and disharmony. We can instead feel and read things from our own inner heart.

  40. A beautiful sharing and understanding of life and the control expectations puts on us if we live by them. The appreciation and honesty with which you share is very reflective and special to realise “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.”

  41. This is a gem of wisdom to read “an expectation is really just an ideal or a belief about something that we want and imagine will happen”. It’s like our mind holds a road map for how things need to be and have to happen, we literally try to control life, instead of allowing it to unfold before us and enjoy and learn as it does. I can also feel when others have expectations on me and what an imposition this is, which is a great reminder to not have expectations on others.

  42. Yes our body just is in the moment and is totally fine with whatever happens in that moment when we are present with it, it is the mind with expectations that can make things seem wrong or ‘not how it should be’ because it was not as it thought it would be. It is one to really look out for because it is what can make the difference in enjoying a moment or not.

  43. Expectations are a big trap, continually keeping us searching for an unreal existence externally, and as a form of control – how we translate and re-interpret things we see and hear which thus restricts our way of movement.

  44. Expectations are not only exhausting they are also distractions that take us away from the truth that is often right in front of us. Having a picture of what we want or how something will play out and then being presented with the opposite has the potential to bring up a whole raft of emotions, from frustration to anger which then impact so severely on our body. To let go of expectations offers us the freedom to simply allow everything to unfold; and that often is a most welcome surprise.

  45. What a great example of how much of a set up expectations are. We put a block up to receiving all that is on offer before the situation has even occurred.

  46. I am getting to see how my expectations deprive me of new experiences because I make up my mind about how its going to be beforehand. I am catching myself with this on many levels so its good to be aware, and with this I’m starting to be more open to new things.

  47. The detrimental power that expectations have over our community has become a focus once more in my working life recently. The final school exams are approaching and some of the parents of the kids I am tutoring are getting understandably anxious about how their kids will perform in the exams. It has been a very interesting time observing all the factors that come into play. Many believe in the system and cling to the picture that their child must be successful. In the end it feels fruitful to drop all expectations and pictures and simply do ones best – no judgement. It is the student’s choice and they will reap the consequences.

  48. When I was young I hated the feeling of expectations that were put on me by other people , they wanted me to be the way they wanted me to be , to live up to their expectation , this was such a terrible burden. There is no allowing of free will .
    Once a person has a picture that picture energetically controls them , for the picture will never be true: it will always be a false projection and so it will always be a disappointment in truth.

  49. Thank you Suzanne, this is a topic that comes up a lot, as when traveling people are always asking the question are you looking forward to going or getting home etc. The answer that keeps me connected to my inner-heart is that it is one life so enjoying where I am now keeps me present and when I get to the next where ever be it the car, the airport, or the trip itself, enjoying every aspect of a trip as much as being wherever at that moment is a blessing, all this to the best of my ability.

  50. I completely agree, we often have so many more images and expectations than we are aware of and it clouds our vision. Sometimes I meet someone I have been speaking to on the phone or communicating with for some time but never met in person. It is only at that point that I realise I had pictured them at a different height or with different coloured hair and hadn’t even realised that I was holding that picture until I saw something different.

  51. Expectations I have found to be all wrapped into how we see or believe something will happen leaving us feeling disappointed or hurt when things don’t work the way we envisioned them. Having expectations also adds a lot of pressure on our bodies and how we move, taking us away from our natural movements and placing tension on ourselves instead. Letting go of these expectations leaves much more space to see the bigger picture and also simply connect to our bodies and how we move for we then cast the next movement or moment ahead by the energy we move in. Moving from our natural quality and expression brings a greater freedom and observation to how we live which feels so much more spacious than the movement or anticipation of expectation on our bodies.

  52. Expectations are really just ideals and beliefs about something that we want and imagine will/should happen, and by the very nature of having this ‘expectation’, we set ourselves up to be disappointed or worse if this fails to play out. How simpler life is if we let go of having any expectations in the first place.

  53. When our mind paints any image we use that image to build a profile of what we consider as being normal and this is an expectation, which has the propensity to get out of control. So Life can be as you say Suzanne, a way to “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.”

  54. When we have pictures in our mind how things ought to be we will not only be disappointed or especially pleased but we limit ourselves to what there is to see, as we have already framed the picture without having perceived its fullness.

  55. Expectations can be so sneaky and subtle. They lurk in the background of our minds ready to jump in and claim their ground which they pretend is truth, and then watch us collapse into reaction as the expectations are not met. It is a truly ridiculous trick!

  56. Having expectations can be a way of us trying to control a situation, I love what Lyndy shares above, so very true, ‘They lurk in the background of our minds ready to jump in and claim their ground which they pretend is truth, and then watch us collapse into reaction as the expectations are not met. ‘It is indeed very ridiculous.

  57. What a beautiful reflection for you to learn such a priceless lesson. Having expectations is like being carried on a cloud of illusion and when the expectation is not met the cloud dissolves and you plummet back into reality accompanied by all the emotions that come along for the ride; failure, disappointment, anger etc, they are all there making the outcome even more painful and leaving you feeling worse than in the beginning.

  58. Expectations keep a lid on what is true accessible to us at any given moment, as anything that is not our particular picture, does not exist.

  59. An important point here Suzanne on how you have described having expectations as a way of trying to bring in control to a situation and the huge difference it makes when we are open and allowing of what is offered to be truly seen.

  60. Expectations are a killer. They give us a picture of an event, scenario, relationship and we run with how we think things should be. We then constantly wait or look for if things are meeting that picture and if things are going ahead as planned. But all the while we can be missing out on what is in front of us.

  61. When our lives are like a roller-coaster ride our expectations are running high and when we feel a true feeling of our life is flowing with a forever deepening expansions we are divinely connected.

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