Updated: Dec 10, 2020
When you absolutely have to let go, can you? What or who is the most difficult thing to release? I think letting go of someone I have loved is probably the most difficult, far more difficult than letting go of an unmet expectation or a long held belief or even my youth. Those kinds of letting go are more concept than accomplishment. But I just cannot completely let go of someone I have loved, despite the fact they have let go of me.
Lately I’ve begun to think that releasing the hold expectations have on me might be the most important item to tackle on my bucket list. It’s a tricky balance to remain neutral when an expectation is not met. It’s much stickier when it involves a person, murkier still, when I care deeply for this person. And when that person is myself? My expectations become a tyranny.
Being willing and able to let go of a dream or a strongly felt desire for a particular outcome, particularly one that cannot be met, is necessary for my inner peace and ability to move forward. Every expectation exerts its own pressure on me to constantly let it go and just allow what is to be or become what it will.
When I don’t expect something or someone to live up to my subjective expectation or even their own, and they do, it’s a sweet surprise. When it or they don’t, it’s hard not to care or feel deeply because the tension that arises from expecting something either favorable or not, is the stuff of emotion.
Yet, in each moment I can choose to live my life fully in the present, such that I am not mourning unmet expectations from the dead past or creating tension and anxiety with expectations projected into the imagined future. I can do this, but I am undisciplined. Discipline is a tyrannical expectation I have for myself that elicits angst and longing and often disappointment.
Letting go of expectation with compassion sounds simple and easy, doesn’t it? But is it? Simple and easy are not the same thing. Accepting a person or situation as it is requires discipline and practice for me. How does it work for you?