Let go of expectations


Have you had one of these experiences?

"What's for dinner?"

"I think I'm going to make burgers."

So you walk into the house several hours later expecting the counter to be full of condiments and instead you see taco shells. You actually like tacos more than you like burgers, yet somehow you're put off or disappointed, because you were expecting a burger. And you let your frustration show instead of just enjoying the tacos.

Yeah, that sort of thing happens to me.

I can be fairly demanding at times. And that means I'm also disappointed a bunch. So I've been working on not just lowering my expectations, but getting rid of them altogether.

  • Letting go of the expectations that when I get home dinner will be ready - or started. I focus instead on the gratitude I feel that I'm not the meal planner and cook in my family!

  • Letting go of the expectations that a client will respond in a timely fashion. When I send an email, I set a reminder to follow up in a number of days if I haven't heard back. If they respond sooner, I'm pleasantly surprised.

  • Letting go of expectations about what an event will be like. I remind my kids to go with the flow. If the birthday party they're going to has pizza, cake, games, and favors, great! If not, that's fine too. I've found they are much happier - and more grateful - if they don't overthink ahead of time.

  • Letting go of expectations about the weather. These days it feels as if the actual weather rarely corresponds with what was forecast. So if they're calling for rain I make sure I have an umbrella, but I don't spend a lot of time planning around the weather or complaining about it.

  • Letting go of the expectation that on (insert your favorite holiday here) challenges we face on every other day will magically disappear and everything will wondrously come together to form a perfect day.

So many people I encounter seem consistently disappointed - by movies, restaurants, purchases, spouses, jobs, holidays, and more. They spend a lot of time arguing with reality. I've set myself up for a happier life by releasing expectations in a variety of contexts. If any of the items on my list resonated with you, you also might benefit from letting go of expectations.

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"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau