On the one hand, I’ve often found the expression “no expectations, no disappointments” to be extremely sage advice. How many times have I had my hopes dashed? How many times have I wished for something with all my heart, only to be sorely disappointed when it didn’t come to pass?
Yet, at the same time, by hoping and having faith, the most wonderful, improbable things have happened in my life. By “putting out there” what I want, I’ve attracted those very things and more than I ever could have imagined.
So when is it a good idea to hope and have expectations, and when not? For me, it’s always important to hope. However, I’ve found that the key difference hinges on desire and control. When I’m focused on exactly how something has to turn out, then I become really angry or sad when the situations or people don’t respond the way I want them to. Sometimes I become upset with the other people or circumstances; other times, I turn my anger and disappointment on myself. My problem is that, secretly or openly, I desire to control the outcome.
On the other hand, when I hope for something without clinging to a specific result, I’m often rewarded in surprisingly pleasant ways. I shift to a more open-ended, accepting outlook – hoping for “this or something better.” If I don’t get it, I trust that things are happening in my best interest. With this approach, I’m allowing myself to have and express my desires, but I’m remaining open to all of the creativity and possibility of life.
If you’re not sure whether you’re hoping in a healthy way or clinging to false expectations and desires, honestly ask yourself these few questions:
• What is it I really want? What are the deeper desires or issues underneath this hope?
• Do things have to happen exactly the way I’m imagining them, or am I open to other possibilities?
• Is there perhaps something else here that I need or want that I’m not even aware of at this point? Am I open to finding out?
Faith is a good thing. Hope is a good thing. To want specific things for ourselves and in our lives is really important. It’s our need to control and our habit of clutching to desire that causes our unhappiness.
Life is a lot more joyful when we’re open to all of the wonderful things that can unfold. You may even find that you were selling yourself short with your initial desires and expectations and that many greater possibilities for you exist.
I HOPE that life brings you all the best, however that may look in your future!
© 2017 by Laurie Gardner