Throughout my life, I’ve had expectations. Expectations that, when not met, lead to deep disappointment or frustration. I ended up breaking my own heart, time and time again.
Expectation is the root of all heartache. – Shakespeare
With every stretch I take on my yoga mat, things in my life slowly start to reveal themselves. Some lessons take a lot longer to sink in than others. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that you need to keep playing around with your life to get something out of it. You have to be willing to go deep and embrace the chaos.
And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my yoga teachers and personal practice is to release expectation. Both on the mat and off. This has taken time for me to appreciate in my life outside the studio. The more I practice presence, the more I understand that life is not about needing things to be a certain way in order to be happy. It’s about embracing where you are and allowing yourself to be there. Without expectation.
From there, you can really start to grow.
Expectations distract you from the present moment. By being attached to a certain outcome, you can create an unhealthy fixation with what’s not there. With what should be happening, but really isn’t. With what’s missing from the picture, instead of what is right in front of you, patiently waiting for your attention.
The “should”s we create in our minds that control our lives are really just thoughts we latch on to. We strive for happiness – even perfection – by keeping an image of how things should be in our minds.
But what if we let go just a little bit? What if we release all those expectations, even just for a moment? Maybe, in that moment, we’ll find a little clarity. Maybe, little by little, things start revealing themselves to us. And then we can really start to transform. By letting go of expectation, we learn to accept ourselves and see our lives with a greater awareness.
Latching on to expectation can strain our relationships with ourselves and with others. Expectations can block gratitude and the self-awareness needed for positive transformation. In all things in life, we must accept that we have no control over the outcome. The only thing you have control over is what you do, and the attitude with which you approach any given situation. We can let go and enjoy the process, or we can keep fighting what’s really happening, never satisfied with the reality that doesn’t measure up to our expectations.
So let go, let go, let go. Release all expectations.
Live in the moment. See it, look at it, hold it, and really feel it.
And for once, just let things happen.