The Truth About Expectations

05/26/2015 04:01 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2016
Sergey Nivens via Getty Images

Not meeting expectations, high expectations, low expectations or anything in between, expectations can trip us up.

We hold onto what we expect, even if it's not what we want because maybe going out on that limb of change is too scary. Staying the same feels safe. The unknown, not so much.

We tell ourselves, "this is how it is, and I don't expect it to change."

Expecting something better can sometimes seem not worth the effort because the idea of disappointment can feel tragic. This is where trust comes in. And if yours has eroded away because of past disappointments then trusting in what you don't see may be an option that's long gone.

In my personal life, there was a time when I attracted relationships that were not what I truly wanted. My belief system kept me expecting broken, unhealthy relationships, so that's what I kept getting. It was like I was caught in a loop of bad choices and I didn't know how to get out.

But after a while, the discomfort couldn't be ignored any longer and I realized something that had been true all along -- my expectations were all up to me. Every last one of them. This realization was a game changer.

Our expectations can deliver what we want, if we take charge of them.

Be clear about what you want.
This takes courage, but wavering won't serve you. Make a commitment to your true desire. That true desire that bubbles up from your heart.

Declare your expectation. Say it loud and don't settle for something you know isn't what you want. There's just no use in settling.

Have patience, young grasshopper.
Just to make sure you know what you want, you will be tested. Things that are almost good enough will show up. The contrast of knowing what you don't want is helpful in staying true to what you do want. This is where patience comes in. Wait for it, it's worth it.

Believe it will happen. Know it in your bones. This may take a while, because shifting beliefs isn't an overnight job. You've got to remind yourself of it everyday. Reprogramming a lifetime of repetitive thoughts that have formed beliefs takes time!

Expect it to show up then get out of the way. Get on with being you. Waiting for something to happen before you can be at peace with who you are is like chasing a dangling carrot that happens to be attached to a stick that happens to be attached to a hat that you're wearing. You'll never catch up. Stop running and waiting for the next thing or person to bring you happiness. Your fulfillment has been right next to you waiting for you to step into it.

As for me, I wrote a list of what I wanted in a relationship, the feelings I wanted to have, and I didn't settle. But I wasn't unfulfilled until the relationship showed up, in fact I was having the time of my life. I expected it to happen, then got on with myself. I did things I had always wanted to do, embraced my creativity, owned my open heart and there wasn't anything or any person that could keep me from savoring and enjoying my own life. My joy and self-acceptance were the ultimate trump cards.

And yes, I did get the relationship I wanted. And he's probably going to read this, so know this -- he's not perfect. (Can't have any inflated egos around here). But he is perfect for me. So are the friends I've manifested into my life, the situations and the job. They all teach me, expand my heart and keep me grounded in unconditional love.

I still fumble too, it's just part of it. But by releasing the expectation and not settling for less, I keep an open awareness of the amazing things that are coming my way, which leaves room for very pleasant surprises.

Want what you want with your whole heart. Feel it. Know it. Squeeze it. Jump in head first and own it. Expect it. Then let it go and enjoy each breath that leads you to a new desire.