It is something that hovers above my head almost all day. It has for quite some time, if not for always. Today I define it as expectation. Other days it is duty or obligation. As I stood in the shower, idled at the traffic lights or sat in the sun waiting for the school bell to ring, each time thinking about this post I have tried to point the finger of blame. To find the person or the reason that I feel my life and what I do with it is under constant expectation.
For a moment there I thought it was my parents. They left their country when I was very little to come and live a better life here, for both my sister and I. Surely, it was them that expected I do so much and achieve so much in the shadow of their sacrifice. Then I thought it was my ethnicity, a cultural background that demands I have a career, while I effortlessly juggle a house full of babies. I even managed to blame an entire generation, surely expectation is simply a fall out from the race we all seem to be running, to have the perfect life with the perfect balance.
But the resounding honesty is that it is not any of these. The only person I can justly point to, the only person who places so much expectation on my life – is me. It is just me. I am the person setting the toughest and at times most unrealistic expectations on my life. Slowly, but surely, one achievement and one failure at a time, I have become my own worst critic and with it I have continued to raise the stakes of what I expect from my life.
Perhaps expectation is not always a bad thing. At times this expectation has been the drive I have needed to work a little harder and chase a dream. But there have also been times when I have felt that I have fallen short of meeting these expectations and my self esteem has taken a battering when that happens. I know it is all about balance right? Striking that harmony where I can manage expectation so that it is not overwhelming. But what if it is more than that? Is it possible to eliminate expectation all together? To replace the once discontinuous cycle of expectation, duty and obligation – with contentment instead.
Freedom from expectation, is such a thing even possible? I think the possibility of it is more real than expectation itself. Expectations are only thoughts in our head, nothing more and nothing less. With all thoughts, we have the power to change them. We can allow them to live within our mind and dictate our lives. Or to eliminate them from the space that they occupy and free ourselves from the binds and shackles that they constrain us with.
Perhaps the best expectation to have is to have no expectations at all. To fill the space of crippling expectation, with appreciation and gratitude instead.
What expectations do you have of yourself? Do you have the same expectations for others? Can we live without expectation?
The next Conversations over Coffee link will open on
Thursday April 24, 2014
Having a bit of fun with next months theme ~ Conversations with Superpowers ~ everyone is welcome x