Have you ever noticed that having unrealistic expectations about life and other people generally leads to disappointment and frustration? It’s true and if you’re the type of person who tries to control either of those things either directly or through manipulation, your life becomes not only exhausting but more stressful. Intellectually we all know that no one person can control another—still many of us try. If truth be told, we have our hands full just controlling our own actions and attitudes.
Realistic expectations are the key ingredient for a peaceful existence. And, nobody can be at peace while constantly trying to force life’s square pegs into round holes, day after day.
Life is really quite simple. We are only here to love—to receive it, feel it and pass it on to everyone and everything we see. If we can remember that simple principle then life’s journey is a delight. It’s only then we can truly enjoy our friendships, appreciate the magnificence of nature—in all its forms, and joyfully contribute to humanity with which ever talents we were given.
I have a dear friend named Cathy, who left us much too soon, in 2016, when she was 65 years old. She is still a friend although she now lives on the “other side”. Cathy was one of three other women with whom I travelled and explored many spiritual adventures. We were all smart, accomplished and warriors in one way or another—making a mark on life within our various professions. Shortly after Cathy left, she came to me with a wonderful message, which I wanted to quote because it brilliantly conveys what this Blog post is meant to share.
“You have it right. Total surrender to life—to God—to guidance. Like floating down the Verde River on an inter-tube. A little bumpy once in a while but a fun ride if we share it with friends. That’s what God wanted for us. To enjoy the ride, laugh with friends, help one another and if our bottoms get a little cold and our tops get a little sunburned, what the heck? That’s life.”
You see? No expectations. Just experiencing life’s journey with a light heart, joyful spirit and love for one another—with our eyes wide open in the process and no judgment whatsoever.
The most miserable people I know are those who try to control their life and everybody in it. They have standards and expectations that are totally unrealistic and they seem to complain about everything: their work, their mates, people they know, the state of their lives, politics and anything that pops up into their head. Then, if that wasn’t enough, they try to change everybody and everything constantly. A futile exercise and a frustrating one. Instead, they should just turn around and face a mirror—if they looked closely enough, they’d see they have their hands full just working on themselves.
Unrealistic expectations can also manifest in greed or not ever having enough. Greed is painful and jealousy even more so. Where gratitude would bring a constant flow of abundance, meaning what we need precisely when we need it, forcing acquisitions and being unhappy that pre-set goals aren’t met quickly enough causes doors to close from which abundance flows. The latter robs our lives of peace and joy. Besides, it’s a horrible way to live.
So, why not relax, drop all expectations and enjoy the ride? Sure, you can have a big dream or a vision and see it somewhere in the future but don’t expect to travel in a straight line to get from here to there because life is always a series of zigs and zags and that’s the fun of it. The adventure of living and the surprises along the way are truly gifts in and of themselves.
Instead, just try to simplify your expectations about this lifetime and focus on love—that’s when you’ll have it nailed. When you do that, peace and joy will flow abundantly.