For many, the holidays can create expectations and, if unfulfilled, they can cause drama and disappointment. You may expect a certain gift, or expect relatives or friends to be a certain way, or believe that others have expectations of you. When these expectations become rigid, the likelihood of being distressed is high.
Expectations assume a certain result that you have projected onto the future. They create an inflexible approach to a picture that you have planted in your mind about how things—or how you—should be. When you become attached to an expectation, it is only natural you would continually assess whether your experience is measuring up to the view you have become attached to.
When you assess whether your current experience is meeting your expectations, you cannot simultaneously be present to the moment. You will not be available to truly listen to a loved one, or appreciate the astounding joy that may be occurring in the moment. Because many expectations go unnoticed, we unknowingly become victim to our own expectations.
Expectations can cause you to feel entitled to whatever you are expecting. Once entitled, you will be distressed with anything less than what you expected and may persecute yourself or others for not meeting the expectations.
We sometimes hear people say that they never feel like a victim and don’t identify with the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™. There’s a good chance they are in denial of how powerful unnoticed expectations, both small and large, can dominate their life. Without more mindful awareness of the tendency to form limiting expectations, it is common to be unaware of this controlling habit.
We encourage you to observe the difference between an expectation and a possibility. Expectations are future oriented and limiting. Possibilities require living in the moment and being comfortable with not knowing how things are going to turn out. We realize this isn’t easy because it means facing your need to be in control of the situation.
Getting free from expectations happens when you realize they reduce the possibility that something even grander than what you imagined could occur.
Creators have the knack for trusting the process of unlimited possibilities and are open to what is new and beyond their prior experiences. When you are open to possibilities, novel ideas pop into your head and you have access to new thinking.
During this holiday season, notice when your expectations arise. Be willing to let go and trust possibilities, rather than being attached to fixed expectations. This mindset will help free you to live even more fully in the joy of the season.