It took me years to learn that there is more to life than living up to people’s expectations, especially if these expectations are in your head. There is more to life than having a degree and a fancy job. There are many ways to use your potential.
A lot of times, our expectations of ourselves and others comes from lessons we were taught as children — not to say these lessons were the best or even helpful — but they shaped us. Growing is a journey and gives us the ability to reflect and learn how to listen to ourselves, to listen to others and to be able to release your own perception on how things “should” be and become flexible with how things can be.
How do we let go of our expectations and still plan our lives?
My friends and I talk about this a lot. Some of us are compulsive list makers. There are people like me who journal as our process to sort out the moment. Others I know use visualization. I wonder if we all use these as an attempt at controlling ourselves, keeping ourselves in check.
What it really boils down to is are we operating from ambition or from aspiration?
Ambition is about outcomes and end results, as if we can predict that. It’s about the future, not the present. Aspiration, on the other hand, is about something bigger than you. You give more than you receive. You are more fearless and present. It comes from being on the spot, fresh in the moment. To aspire means you are open to the possibility of right now. Love isn’t something you do in the future. It’s what you do now.
Thinking about doing something instead of doing it creates a loop. If I spend my time journaling or thinking about what I want my writing to achieve instead of just doing the work, I’m future-spinning. What I do right now is what matters. Plan or do? Trust your wisdom to get things done for the right reasons.
It’s the same reason we have intentions here on the site, and not goals. It sounds straightforward but we can minimize the disappointment we feel when reality doesn't live up to our expectation by letting go of expectation.