Today I am giving myself a gift to release my expectations in order to truly enjoy life. Expectations feel enticing. They fill our imagination’s desire to formulate what might come next. But they also box us in, they limit our vision for how things may turn out. Expectations do not open us to the promise of the universe. Instead they trap us in a web of possibilities rather than free us to enjoy the serendipitous.
Expectations are limiting and confining. They trap us in resentment. When reality does not conform to match our visions we may feel let down. It is as if we got what we wanted but not all of what we expected. In this way we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. When we envision the perfect evening or event, we imagine it so exactly that we leave no room for imperfection. And no event or other person can ever live up to that. We imagine a reality with no flaws and that simply does not exist.
Reality is full of delicious flaws that make life interesting and richer. It’s easy to get so caught up in our curated lives that we forget that it is the very real flaws that make life beautiful. The imperfections make it real. When you release your expectations it frees you to see beauty everywhere. It opens your eyes to see the whole picture, not just the small area where you are looking. Letting go, frees us to savor and enjoy what we have already and to absorb even more.
I remember in my early 20’s a girlfriend was getting ready for a date. This woman was an artist with make-up. As I watched her, completely mesmerized by her artistic talent and expertise – turning elixirs, shadows, and powders into wearable art. She explained that whenever she did her face she was always sure to over-do one feature. She explained that by adding more definition to one area, the imperfection would make the whole of her face, “perfect.”
My friend explained that when her entire face was done flawlessly, it would look plastic – so perfect that she would not look real. She would look like an avatar or as if she had had work done. Which was not a look she was going for. Much like Cindy Crawford’s mole, a small imperfection made her human. It also set her apart from her fellow models because it was a trademark, something that made her stand out.
Expectations are much the same – we do not imagine the imperfections. Because if I told you to imagine a model with a mole, chances are none of us could imagine Cindy Crawford. That is until we had seen Cindy Crawford and then we can think of no one else. Therefore, as I look ahead I am reminding myself not to get too attached to what I envision. To anticipate a good time but not to anticipate how it will be a good time. It is the surprise, not the expectation, that fills life with wonder.
How do you release your expectations? Or how do you guard against developing expectations in the first place?