I have been pondering the concept of releasing expectations in the back of my mind for quite some time. I am trying to separate my goals from my expectations. I have a goal of having peace in my heart. I am not going to attach that goal to an expectation of "I must maintain every relationship in my life at all costs, AND have peace in my life." My goal is peace. I am releasing my expectation of how that is going to look, and the result is exceeding my expectations.
I have experienced peace, when I'm with loved ones, and when I'm alone. I have discovered that having a calm feeling is not contingent on my relationship with any one person. Does that make sense? Maybe semantics is at play here, but I want to fully understand the concepts of releasing expectations, and being unattached to the outcome.
My reading over the last several years has included several Buddhist monks, the Dalai Lama, and Deepak Chopra. I am coming to understand that maintaining a certain expectation of how things need to be limits my vision and possibilities.
Decisions are not always about Choice A or Choice B. Sometimes the answer comes to us when we are open to a variety of possibilities, and we discover the best decision is neither A nor B, but perhaps another choice entirely, or a compromise, and inclusion of other ideas that would not have been considered, if we limited ourselves to A or B.
Rather than saying "I'm releasing all expectations," perhaps you would be more comfortable with the phrase, "I will not become attached to the outcome." Is that better?
As an example, my hope for my children is that they will lead happy and productive lives. It falls to each of them to determine what that will look like. If I base my happiness on their fulfilling their dreams in a location near me, I am setting myself up for disappointment. I may have to release my expectation that they will be geographically close to me, so that they can follow their hearts. The particular circumstances will change throughout their lives, and by giving them the freedom (which is not mine to give; it is rightfully theirs from the get-go) to dream, and plan, and live lives of fulfillment, we will all be happier.
When I release my expectations of how others will choose to be, and let go of my attachments to how the particular circumstances of my own life will play out, possibilities for happiness and satisfaction become limitless. I limit my own satisfaction when I think, “As long as the kids don’t move any farther away than (insert nearby location here), then I will be happy.” Or, “If I live in this particular house with this person under these circumstances, I will be satisfied.”
Happiness and satisfaction are actually internal values that are not affected by external circumstances. Obtaining a peaceful state of mind can happen regardless of the actions of others, or the particular circumstances of my own situation. This is what releasing expectations looks like to me. It is making the best decisions for myself, and allowing others to do the same. It is not demanding of others to choose as I would choose for them, but giving them the space and freedom to discover what that will look like for them.
This passage spoke to me this morning:
“It’s so common for your world to just turn upside down when you really commit to raising your vibration. It’s no secret that thoughts are like magnets, so it’s impossible for people and life circumstances to stay the same when you change your mind and commit to a new belief. Embrace the change for a change and just allow in the new life that’s working its way into your experience and TRUST that it’s all for your benefit. I promise you it is.”
- Jackson Kiddard
As I am shifting my focus from trying to control all of the variables to maintaining peace, my life is changing, for the better. As I change, those around me respond to that change. Circumstances may change as we move through this phase of transition. I do not know how my life will all play out, but I trust that I am right where I need to be, going where I need to go, traveling in the way I need to travel, and will continue to do so, if I have courage, and speak the truth of my heart, and strive for lifelong growth.