Our lives are full of expectations. We don’t even notice them, even though there is virtually no situation in which we do not set expectations of the situation, of others, or of ourselves. I expect a meeting to bring to me what I am meeting the other person for; I expect the other person to behave as they usually do; I expect myself to be determined. If we observe ourselves, we find that we go into every situation with some kind of preconception in our minds.

We want something or we don’t want something. Something should or should not happen. Then, as we formulate these concealed expectations within our consciousness, we frequently overlook the fact that we are not solitary actors in these scenarios. Even when solitude is present, it’s not solely ‘me’ amid the situation; the situation itself holds a role, an unfolding event. Hence, I cannot stand as the sole stakeholder in the outcome. Given such a reality, why do we consistently find ourselves taken aback by the mismatch with our expectations? Why the offense, the distress, the struggle to embrace it?

The answer to this is our ego, which always seeks to exert control over everything, both within us and around us. And because control is a huge illusion, it can lead us to experience profound discomfort when we realize our inability to control both ourselves and the events around us. The only way to feeling better and finding contentment in this world is through cultivating our awareness. A significant part of this process involves becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that all our expectations originate from the ego, and these expectations are inherently unreal. I can expect my parents to stay mentally fresh as they age, but can I actually influence that? I can expect to never get divorced, but is it truly reliant upon my control? I can expect my child to be a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, but how do their own paths fit into this expectation?

I can lead a content and harmonious life if I release my expectations and embrace whatever enters my life. If I don’t dwell on the fact that it came at the wrong time, that I wanted something else, that it’s not worthy of me, but instead, I accept that if it’s here, it’s my concern. Not because the other person is foolish, didn’t do their job, or is mean, but because I have a role in the situation. Me! Also. But this “also” is not my concern. So, it’s best to entrust it to the other person (even if they haven’t realized they have a role, as well) and deal with the part which truly belongs to me. What’s solely mine. What I can learn from it, what this new experience will bring me. For instance, a situation might bring me feelings of guilt or shame or jealousy. It may hurt, it may hurt terribly, but if it does, if I have that painful feeling inside me, then resistance won’t make my pain go away, and neither will seeking fault or blaming the other person for my pain. It will help if I allow myself to feel it. If I dare to admit to myself, even to the other person, that I’m going through a very difficult time right now.

When I consciously and bravely dive into the pain, allowing myself to experience everything that emerges within me, a certain thing tends to happen: suddenly, I feel there’s no way deeper down. I experience the feeling of knowing what shame is, for example. This makes the experience complete, and at this point, there’s no reason to remain in the situation. I’ve understood, lived through, and embraced the given situation, as well as myself within it. Therefore, my gift (because there always is one when we courageously and humbly confront the parts of ourselves that have been in the shadows) is an inner miracle: the pain and fear, to which I had been a prisoner until now, begin to visibly release. I become less and less tense, increasingly capable of reconnecting with myself, and progressively more peaceful. And suddenly, the discomfort I had been experiencing as a form of hell dissolves completely. It is replaced by gratitude that I dared to surrender to the painful experience and that, through it, I managed to transcend myself.

If we enter an experience with expectations, it will not be able to conclude with the result described previously. When we expect something, our focus is solely on whether we will receive it. Everything else escapes our attention. We fail to notice the possibilities within the situation. We do not perceive when we must let go of the situation, when there is nothing more in it, because we are still struggling to obtain what we desire. The need for control that generates expectations within us, in fact, severely limits us in experiencing ourselves. But who doesn’t wish to discover themselves freely? How is this possible? Let us be courageous, open, and humble about ourselves! Let us dare to permit ourselves to undergo both the favourable and unfavourable aspects of what we currently embody! And relinquish the grip of control and expectations. That shall suffice.

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