The other day I received an email from a dear friend. I opened it with anticipation and read it hungrily only to catch myself feeling disappointed.
After investigating what was going on inside of me, I realized I had expected him to write something specific, which he didn’t do.
Instead of being open to receiving what he was sharing with me, I was focused on getting what I expected.
When we go into something having fixed expectations we close ourselves off. We can’t take in what is actually given to us. We are stuck in our mind constructs instead of experiencing what is.
It’s not only sad because we miss out on beauty, gifts, experiences, and connections, it can also be really toxic to our relationships.
Whether it’s in friendships, our family or with a partner our expectations can be what stands in the way of creating deep connections.
If we look at what’s behind our expectations we’ll find they stem from our own needs, control and fear.
When we go about in the world we unconsciously try to get our needs met in whichever way works. The less we’re aware of our needs the more they drive our behavior, and we might end up trying to control other people to get our needs met and relate to them from a place of fear.
This is not to say that there’s something wrong with trying to get our needs met. Not at all, it’s a natural part of being human.
However the more clarity we get around our personal needs, and when we learn to listen to our needs from moment to moment, we can consciously work on getting them met in a positive way.
In relation to others we can voice our needs as requests, (which still means being open to not having them met the way we expect), and if necessary, we can find other ways to having them met.
As the holidays are coming up and for many, this means more time spent with friends or family, it’s useful to be aware of any unvoiced expectations or unconscious needs. I’d like to invite you to spend a moment to feel into this for yourself. And if you’d like to share what came up for you, I’d be honored to read, just let me know in the comments below (or on firstname.lastname@example.org) what you discovered.