When you have no expectations, you have no disappointments and you open yourself to the realm of infinite possibility, where happiness and abundance simply fall into your lap. photo: martin sattler
We are all consumers of expectations. They are easy to come by—from parents, family, friends, the media—and many are self-created. Maybe it’s to be successful, get married, have children, look good, make a difference, please others…The list is endless, especially in today’s world, where there are constant opportunities to compare ourselves to others and look for ways to be more, better, or different. Never before have expectations been so high in terms of what humans are capable of, and this creates a paradox of opportunity and pressure when we begin to realize that expectations lead to disappointments.Expectations are pervasive in our lives, and most of us are conditioned to be driven by them and to attempt to realize them. But we didn’t start out that way. We are all born in a state of pure Love where there are absolutely no expectations and no disappointments. Think of it as our “original innocence.” When you were born, you knew these Truths: You are whole and complete. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are worthy and deserving. You can trust the Universe. You have a deep inner knowing. You are connected. All there is and all that matters is Love. You are Love.
And then you got older. And things happened that moved you out of love and into fear: someone criticized you; you only got praised for your accomplishments; someone left or wasn’t there for you; you saw people fighting or got yelled at; your heart got broken; you were told your dreams were impossible; you felt incredible pressure to succeed; you got rejected; you made a mistake and judged yourself a failure; you compared yourself to others and believed they were better in some way. Or perhaps you had a blissful childhood and grew up expecting the adult world to be the same way. The moment you got your first reality check in the form of a disappointment was the moment you moved into fear. Expectations lead to disappointment, and you were just getting your first taste.
When in the grip of fear, we experience disconnection and a sense of emptiness. The voice of our ego and the voices of others become much louder than our inner voice and Spirit, and we feel alone and separate. To manage the disconnection, we start to be driven by what we expect will make us feel loved again. To fill the emptiness, we create expectations of what we believe will fulfill us. As we fail to live with no expectations, they then become our compass, which often navigate us right into an Expectation Hangover.
“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” —Alexander Graham Bell
“Expectation Hangover” Defined
You probably have a good sense of what an Expectation Hangover is by now, but here is my official definition: the myriad undesirable feelings, thoughts, and responses present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:
+ Things don’t turn out the way you thought, planned, or wanted them to.
+ Things do turn out according to your plans and desires, but you don’t feel the fulfillment you expected.
+ You are unable to meet your personal and/or professional expectations.
+ An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what you wanted or planned.