Are your expectations holding you back? Becoming Aware of Limiting (Beliefs and) Expectations.
Per the title of this blog post, I have a feeling most of you already know what the topic of this article will be.
"Expectation", however, is one of those words that carry a wide variety of meanings and usually leaves too much room for misinterpretation.
You've got "setting higher expectations," "lowering your expectations," "meeting expectations,"letting go of expectations," "managing expectations," and even the well-too-known "unrealistic expectations" - All of which are great examples of what the word really means, but I think today we're going to focus a little more on the core of Why we have to master this topic.
A couple of days ago, I would have thought that these definitions were the entire iceberg of what "Expectations" are. But, to my humble surprise, they are just the the tip of the surface.
With all of those expressions containing the word "expectation," what really is it?
According to the Wikipedia, an expectation is "a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future." It is synonymous with the words presumption, belief, reckoning, projection, prediction, assumption, and even the word "outlook."
By putting the pieces together through other articles, definitions and even a book that I just started reading, I've come to understand that an expectation is more along the lines of an outlook (on life, or an area of your life) that will often project strong beliefs about a particular outcome... Am I right?
If that is the case then let us dive deeper.
Now, I don't know if you're familiar with the Law of Attraction, or if you're among the crowd of more scientifically proven believers that will only accept something as truth if there is hardcore evidence; but - let's imagine that your thoughts, outlooks, and feelings make up your sense of reality. Through psychology or spiritual magic, it doesn't matter.
You've got this preconceived idea (aka. expectation) of what Life and reality look like to you, and then your brain goes to work and causes your thoughts and feelings to make it seem real.
Throughout your life, you've lived out a set of experiences that have shaped your mentality of how reality seems to exist. Every area of your life, such as career, wealth, relationships, friendships, health, economy and even education have been majorly influenced by the way you interpreted the experiences you've endured.
By combining both, your belief about what you'll see and the thoughts/feelings narrating them at the same time, you've got what you expect Life to be.
Still following? So, how is it that some people, out there, are living their best lives while others are slowly dying away in the pit of unsatisfying realities and challenging circumstances?
Well, those living their ideal existence practice, both, the work of positive thinking AND developing higher expectations for what their reality could end up looking like, while our miserable friends are repeating the same cycles of negative expectations and actually reinforcing them by thinking and feeling negative at the same time.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster... and, it is.
So, say you're part of the crowd that's living below their ideal reality. You might be forcefully thinking, aligning, and even feeling the positive energy of Hope for a better unfolding; but what are you expecting when it comes down to it?
Are you expecting, preconceiving, or projecting a better life for yourself? Or, might you unknowingly be projecting a life of struggle, dissatisfaction, and disappointments in spite of your tiresome efforts to create something better?
After coming to the harsh realization that I, too, was projecting struggle after struggle in my own life, it dawned over me that attracting a life of Happiness, Positive Relationships, Success, Growth as well as all the other fun stuff, comes more from what you anticipate (and are willing to accept) for your life than what you might consciously make yourself think or feel about Life.
Here's what I mean.
Most of us, at some point, will attempt to consciously re-wire our thinking. We'll undergo the discomfort of recognizing our mindset isn't optimized for the life we want to live, and in attempt to imagine something better, we'll start pushing aside negative thoughts for positive ones.
If, you've gotten slightly further than that, you've probably realized that you're feelings, energy, and emotions ultimately have a say in that too. You can't think positively if you're feeling negative, so you turn inwards in attempt to feel (or meditate) your way to a blissful life.
You might practice shifting your vibe, feeling more positive through your own conscious re-directing (of your energy), and quite possibly you might even try to FEEEL like you're ideal thoughts and feelings are your reality in the moment.
But, why is it that the same obstacles keep re-surfacing?
Some call it the Karmic Cycle, others might identify it as plain, old, shitty luck; I just found out that it's actually called "expectations."
When you're going through the whole "growth" thing, you're facing old wounds, letting go of out-dated mindsets, and even becoming aware of parts of your unconscious/subconscious mind.
Sure, you'll be able to identify the groups of thoughts and feelings that aren't at the level you want to be, so you'll do your best to change them from the inside.
But, expectations are the secret (...well, hidden) door to where you actually want to be. They store all your beliefs about how you think Life will treat you. They are the emotional pull that causes you to, either, push through and see the life of your dreams, or fall back and keep letting shit resurface and ruin your life all over again (while you might not even know about it).
If you've gotten to that point and you're still struggling to bring in better opportunities and circumstances in each area of yourself; in another - deeper - attempt to changing your circumstances, you'll realize that it's your expectations and beliefs that you will have to work on the most.
(Of course, one instance at a time. There's no use taking all three on at once because you'll just overwhelm yourself and fall back into, not only, feeling like shit - but also thinking like shit and believing every single second of it.)
But, you'll undergo another humbling reminder that it's actually your expectations that are influencing your thoughts and feelings because whatever you perceive and interpret will be in direct relation to what you've expected (as well as accumulated and believed) to happen over the course of your entire lifetime.
Now, wait. Because I know this could trigger so much discomfort and I just want to remind you that - right now especially - you've gotta stop worrying.
What causes most of human suffering is the expectations of what we thought life should be. For better or worse, there is no "should be."
Whether you once thought you had to be the "IT Girl" or "IT Guy" and lived your life trying to prove yourself or be the best-of-the best. Or, if you were more like me and believed that the unfortunate turn of events were how Life "should be" and that there's no hope for better things to come; the truth of the matter is our pain and suffering come only from our expectations and believing the thoughts we create about what what we think happens in Life... not what actually happens in Life.
In tomorrow's blog post, we're going to learn the simplest steps to re-wiring our mentality, how to shift our beliefs so that we can start expecting the life we want to live - but most importantly, how to turn our hopes INTO our expectations and allow ourselves to receive what we desire without those suffer-inducing attachments.
I hope the brief definitions, descriptions and examples were enough to raise awareness in your own mind of where you stand, currently.
I suggest you write down what areas of your life are currently hostage to negative thoughts, beliefs, and/or expectations.
Areas of your life could be Health, Success, Relationships, Careers, Wealth, Opportunities, Friendships, Sobriety, and any other thing in the long list of areas in our life that we would like to improve.
Tomorrow, I'll post the second half of this blog post so that we can break down the steps of raising our awareness of our current limiting beliefs, how we can shift our expectations so they actually work for us, and a few really insightful quotes from books I've read on the Power of Expectations.
All my love, and See you tomorrow!