More on Expectations

Is it impossible to live without expectation? Or if we are really living in the present moment…does it leave expectations behind?

Personally, when I think I am living without expectations, it is because my dreams and plans for life are so much a part of me that I don’t recognize them as such. The things I take for granted are simply expectations well met.

It’s hard for me to imagine walking through my life in a constant state of “whatever…” After all, I love to feel productive. What I do matters to me. I enjoy thinking of ways to solve the problems of my little world, my extended family, my friends, and the entire universe?

It raises the question, though; can I be that person and be accepting? If I have no expectations of myself, will I lower my own bar? In Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance, she affirms that we can accept ourselves and still reach toward change. (I’m still reading on that subject.)

And there is the question of the highs and lows brought up by a virtual friend commenting on my last “Expectations” post. Or when another friend asks, “Isn’t anticipation a form of expectation? Isn’t it part of the joy in life to plan, to dream, to anticipate?” I can’t disagree with either of them.

But there is the downside when my expectations are capable of leading me away from the joy of any given moment. When I am aware of my negative reactions, the small irritations…the gritchiness…the indignation, I can follow them to their source – my expectations. I expected agreement. I expected respect. I expected smooth sailing.

And then there’s the gratitude piece…If I expected to wake up, why would I be grateful for my first conscious breath of the morning? If I expected my husband to empty the mulch bucket last night, why would I be grateful to have room for the orange peelings this morning? If I didn’t expect my doctor to pay attention to my concerns, why would I be thankful that she had the answers I needed?

Still I am happy to know that up to now my grand expectations in life must have been met. I am content, and most of the time I remember to be grateful.

But there is more to consider…



  1. I am by and large a realist. I do have expectations in terms of outcomes, but am seasoned enough to accept that my expectations may not come true and can result in one of four alternatives. 1. Get exactly what I expected; 2. Get less than expected; 3. Get more than expected and 1. Get something completely different to what I had expected. So, whatever comes true is accepted as being my due for that particular transaction. I don’t tie myself up in knots when things go wrong.


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