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We all have expectations.

We all have beliefs – beliefs on how the world should be, how you should live your life, what is right and wrong. It’s these beliefs that then become almost concrete rules to live by – you should do this or you should do that. Turning these beliefs into a set of rules creates expectations not only for yourself but for other people in your life too. The problem is, we forget that just as we have our own belief systems, those around us also have their own belief systems. When we forget that, we assume that everyone follows our own belief systems and that’s when the expectations we have on other people starts to get in the way of our relationships. Not only that, but once we put expectations on ourselves, we’re no longer creating room to grow, learn or explore and that impacts our capacity for true fulfilment in our lives.

So what is an expectation?

An expectation is :

A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

Immediately, you can see that the word ‘expectation’ is so closely linked to the word ‘belief’.

A belief is:

An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.

We all have our own story because our lives are unique to us. That’s what makes them so powerful. That’s what allows us all to add our own value into this world. These stories create the beliefs that we have because they help to shape who we become. What we have to remember is the benefits of being open. Open to change, to opinions, to new experiences & people and open to seeing things from both sides of the coin. One of the main elements of HUG is GROWTH as that’s what allows us to work towards that empowered life we dream of. But in order to allow growth to occur we have to be open.

As soon as we create expectations, we shut ourselves off from that openness. Why? Because we are telling ourselves that our belief systems are so concrete that there is no room for development and that if others don’t live up to those expectations they’re failing us in some way – or worse, if we don’t live up to our own expectations, we fail ourselves.

So let’s start off with why we should let go of the expectations we have on ourselves.

1) We need to be kind to ourselves.

I have said this so many times but it’s something I believe whole heartedly in:

We should be our biggest cheerleaders – we should treat ourselves BETTER than we would treat our best friend.

After all, the longest relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves so we need to nurture it, cherish it and fill it with more love that we could ever imagine. We need to be kind to ourselves and when we put expectations on ourselves, we damage that kindness and that loving relationship. These expectations are something we believe we should live up to and when we don’t, we beat ourselves up over it. It opens the floor up to criticism and judgement – both of which allow no room for kindness. We should never judge ourselves – it should be a massive NO-NO when it comes to our lives, yet it’s so easily done when we fall short of an expectation. So let go of expectations to allow for kindness.

2) It stops us from exploring.

Part of the journey of life is exploring. As human beings we are all creatives – we have evolved so far by allowing that creativity to shine through, by allowing our curiosity to take over and encourage us to explore. Expectations however, are strong beliefs – they are concrete beliefs that we SHOULD be something or that our lives SHOULD pan out one way or another. But once we believe something in such a definitive way, we close that door on exploration. After all, why would we need to explore if we already know what our lives SHOULD be like? It stops us from venturing outside our comfort zone and pushing ourselves beyond our boundaries. In essence, expectations can almost be like a safety blanket that allows us to be wrapped up warm in how we believe our lives should be. Here’s the issue with that – and you’re probably already guessing what it is – we stop ourselves from GROWING! So let go of expectations to allow for exploration.

3) It puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

We all know how draining pressure can be. Some people thrive on pressure whereas other’s may crumble but regardless of where you fall in that scale, the pressure we put on ourselves will inevitably result in burn out. It doesn’t matter how driven you are, the more you put yourself under pressure, the more likely you are to collapse from the weight of it. This pressure can be self-made or it can be pressure that others put onto us or the perceived pressure we feel from others. In any case, any pressure is TOO much pressure. We need to let go of expectations to allow for relaxation.

4) The stress it creates can affect our overall health and wellbeing.

With the pressure that comes with having expectations on ourselves, we bring in stress. All pressure comes with stress. Think about when you apply pressure to a plastic drinking bottle: Stress is put onto the plastic bottle and it starts to cave in, collapsing under the pressure of our fingers. That stress increases until you hear the plastic cracking, then before you know it, the lid of the bottle comes flying off as the water goes everywhere because the pressure created so much stress that resulted in the water exploding out of the bottle. That explosion is our health. The more we put pressure on ourselves, the more stress we create in our lives. Our bodies can only handle so much stress before our health is affected. So, let go of expectations for vibrant health and wellbeing.

5) We become fearful.

Yes, that’s right – expectations create fear. If we didn’t believe in something so strongly, it wouldn’t be an expectation but by doing so we create fear of failing in some way. The expectations we have on ourselves can create a variety of fears:

  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of not being liked
  • Fear of disappointing

The problem with fear is that it can stop us from being who we truly are. Fear has the ability to control and run our lives for us but it can also empower us and we can use it to our advantage. Expectations give fear the power and the upper hand because there are so many risks with NOT living up to our expectations. However, once we let go of them, we allow ourselves to sit back in the driver’s seat and steer that fear into a position that works for us and serves us. Let go of expectations you have on yourself to take back control over your fears.

Why we should let go of expectations we have on others:

1) It puts pressure on our relationships.

We can only control to the edge of our finger tips – we have no control beyond that and we can’t determine whether something is done or not. Just as we have our belief systems, those around us also have their own beliefs that in turn create their own expectations and ways of doing things. Can you see how a collision is likely to happen when we put our own beliefs onto others? Can you see how friction is so easily created when we start to expect others to have the same belief systems as us? It’s that friction that then puts pressure on our relationships because just as we are fearful of disappointing ourselves, those who love us are also fearful – we all fear rejection. Arguments happen when there are two opposing sides fighting against each other. Expectations can sometimes be the two elements that contradict and work against each other. It’s so important to remember that not everyone has the same belief systems as you and to respect them and their beliefs. Having respect for others is essential in communication, it’s essential for compassion and for long lasting love. So, let go of expectations for healthy relationships.

2) It avoids disappointment.

The more we put our expectations onto others the more we are giving them the power over our happiness. Think about it, the more someone doesn’t live up to our expectations the more disappointed we will be. By letting go of expectations it protects us from that hurt, anger and disappointment. We are in control of how we feel so don’t give that power away. It’s the only power we truly have in this world and it gives us strength. When we learn to let go of having expectations on others, it empowers us to get back in that driver’s seat of our emotions, take back control over our lives and avoid disappointment. Let go of expectations for freedom.

So yes, letting go of expectations is something I believe we can all benefit from but that doesn’t mean we can’t put something else in its place – and that is STANDARDS.

Switch expectations for standards, standards for how you want to live your life and for the relationships you want to create.

A standard is:

A level of quality or attainment.

Rather than creating expectations that are so concrete and limiting, create boundaries that will protect you and serve you rather than work against you. Think of your standards as your own body guard, a bubble that surrounds you and gives you strength.

It’s so easy to give into your expectations and to create them but once we learn to let them go, we allow ourselves more room for growth and more movement to explore who we are and what we have to offer the world. There’s a freedom that comes with letting expectations go and at the end of the day that’s what any of us want in this world – to be free.

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