A Simple Truth - When You Have No Expectations You Won't End up Feeling Disappointed

Caroline de Braganza

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I’m not suggesting you should drift directionless through life. But how will you react if Life doesn’t give you what you expected?

Do you beat yourself up or do you scavenge for scapegoats to drape with your excuses? Point a finger at God and people and circumstances?

I call it the If Only Syndrome - if only he had, if only she had - flows with such ease off the tongue.

Carl Jung said for every finger pointing at someone or something else, three are pointing back at you.

I used to be a control freak. No, not manipulating people, but wanting the outcome to be exactly as I’d planned. And when it wasn’t, I laid the blame everywhere else except at my door. I’ve changed.

We have to learn to let go of everything outside our control.

“Expectations actually make us focus on what we want, instead of being happy and content with what is.”― Ari Gunzburg, The Little Book of Greatness: A Parable About Unlocking Your Destiny.

I know. It’s difficult. I still catch myself falling into that trap. We abandon old beliefs, stop playing the blame game and take responsibility for how things work out. But those old tape-recordings can sneak up on you, so we have to stay alert.

Those pesky thoughts replay in your mind:

  • I can’t trust people
  • nobody wants to help me
  • this always happens
  • it’s their fault.

Only when you regain belief and trust in yourself, stop stressing the outcome, and abandon judgement, then you can you the insight to step back and review the situation.

What are you thinking right now?

Are your thoughts helpful or harmful?

What are you feeling right now? Up or down? Energised or drained?

Which voice is loudest? The one in your head?

Is your heart battling to be heard above the roar of traffic in your brain?

Have you done all within your power?

Did you do your best with what you had available?

You refused to take responsibility so you could play the victim again?

If we expect nothing from anyone, nobody can disappoint us. We can assume total responsibility for every choice we make, every action we take.

When my neck and shoulders are tensing, and the cortisol is pumping through me, the stress creates looping negative thoughts like a needle stuck on an old gramophone. Then I know it’s time to switch on the music playing in my heart and surrender to the symphony of my Soul.

“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.”- Eric Hoffer, American philosopher.

We live too much in our heads.

Life is a balancing act between holding onto that which is inside our control and letting go of that which is outside our control and trusting the process. We thus empower ourselves to claim 100% ownership of the consequences of our choices and actions, no matter what happens.

Life asks of us (through a higher power, the Divine, the Great Spirit) to trust that whatever is unfolding is Life. It’s part of who we are now and who we are becoming. Part of our unique journey.

Life asks of us to live each precious moment with actions fuelled by our highest, purest intentions with no expectations.

Non-expectation is the pure enjoyment of being and doing—relishing the process.

Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn out as you planned—rather pat yourself on the back because you know you did your best.

Expectation is a side-show, distracting us from living in the present moment and enjoying the ride.

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Published essayist. Follow me for local news that impacts our lives, plus stories on public and mental health. Through writing, I also share my passion for music, politics, our environment and social justice, and hope you find value in my words.

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