Releasing Your Expectations

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Eva M. Selhub, M.D. Physician, executive coach, cross-fitter, motivational speaker, and author of Your Health Destiny, out April 7th.

How often do you get upset when someone doesn't comply with your expectations?
How often do you get upset with yourself for not doing something better?

Look closely at your expectations of yourself and others. Think about the last time or the last person that caused you disappointment so that you felt let down, hurt, angry or resentful.

Of course, we all have expectations of one another and of the larger world. You expect that the waiter at a restaurant will serve you; that a dentist will work on your teeth; that your mother will love you; and that your friend will want to go to a movie with you. You also expect that a government will take care of you or that your bank will hold your money.

But what if they don't--what if the waiter ignores you, the dentist makes you wait an hour, your mother doesn't make time for you and your friend has made other plans? Do you shrug it off, or do you get very upset? What if the situation is truly something overwhelming and upsetting, like expecting to get the flu vaccine and everyone being out of stock? You have been warned to get this vaccine and now you can't, how do you feel now?

Different situations will trigger a variety of reactions. The stronger your reaction, the more likely fear is part of the equation.

Expectations, like negative emotions, are hardwired into you. They exist to signal to you that you are unhappy or that something is out of balance within you or around you. Your expectations reflect a distorted representation of your deeper needs: your deeper needs of needing to be enough or have enough. The more you feel that you will not be enough or have enough, the stronger the fear, and therefore the Fear Response.

In the Fear Response, you cannot think clearly and be balanced. Expectations become unrealistic.

False expectations--not seeing a person or situation for who (or what) they really are apart from the role they play--have the unwelcome side effect of putting you into your Fear Response. You are not seeing this person or situation for what they are. This is a setup for disillusionment and dissatisfaction and an invitation for the Fear Response to come right in.

I am not telling you that it is bad to have expectations, just as it is not bad to feel fear, but you should be more aware of them. Being too attached to your expectations is a signal of you being out of balance or a sign that your Fear Response is in active mode. Your expectations are clues that can guide you to healing your deeper needs so that you can feel more balanced as a whole. You cannot often change situations and people, but you can change yourself, how you view your world and how you react to it.

Here is something you can do:

Let's say, you find yourself getting upset over someone or something not meeting your expectations. Good. Now,

1. Slow down that active brain thinking and imagine your SHIELD or golden rays of light shining down upon you, surrounding you in unconditional love and grace, so that you can Inhale deeply and Exhale completely.

2. Listen to your needs. Ask yourself, "What is it that I really need from this situation? Is it love? Respect? Validations? Acceptance? Approval? Money?"

3. Decided to meet your own needs: Imagine the golden light is filling your body, especially your heart with whatever it is you need--love, abundance, respect, etc.

4. As you do so, repeat these words: "The support I need is here. I have all that I need."

5. When you feel that the light has filled your heart and it is overflowing, practice The Love Circle with your breath:

  • Focus on the inhalation.
  • Breathe in deeply.
  • Focus on the exhalation.
  • Exhale completely.
  • Notice how much air you can take in before you feel as if you are going to explode.
  • Notice how easily you let it go.
  • Notice how you cannot hold on to your breath even if you try.
  • Notice how when you exhale completely, your inhalation begins immediately.
  • Notice that there is no way to stop the cycle.
  • Notice how every time you let go of your breath, a new breath of life comes in.
  • Focus on your chest as the breath moves in and out.
  • Breathe in life.
  • Let go, sharing it with the world.
  • Breathe in love.
  • Let go, sharing it with the world.