One of the blessings the holidays provide is a real “in your face” moment to see just how much our unrealistic expectations can make us suffer. You know, that picture of what should be happening, but isn't? Of course, the rest of our lives still gives us plenty of opportunity to experience this, there’s just not as much glitter attached. What if you could let go of those nearly-always unfulfilled expectations and come up with your own fulfillable intentions instead? Here’s how to begin:
Take the time to separate your “shoulds” from your wants. Is it really helpful to hold on to unrealistic expectations of how people should behave or how events should turn out? Those shoulds come from internalizing what we think others expect or demand. When those shoulds are driving us, we automatically expect some kind of reward, appreciation, acknowledgment. Or we feel cheated when those expectations aren’t met. What a drain of energy!
Ask yourself: what do you truly want for yourself? Answer that from your heart, not your head, and you’ll discover your wants align you with your integrity and your authenticity. You’ll want them because they make you feel good, whole and fulfilled.
Start living in the present moment, by letting go of expectations about the future, about yourself, about the world and what might or should happen. When you aren't stuck reliving the past or worrying about what might happen, you won't have to spend time anticipating how others will or won't react. You can be right here, taking steps right now, knowing what's best for you without being influenced by how anyone expects you to be (or do).
What do you want, right now? Own your answer and begin moving toward it. However big, small, challenging or easy, it comes from your intention for happiness. You’re the one who can set it into motion. And you’ll feel incredibly empowered because you won’t be dependent on someone else’s shoulds. Without preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to be, you'll be open to receiving what you truly wish for. Listen to the free audio healing here.
Nina Lockwood, MSW, HTCP, is a healer, teacher and coach.