Fluidity in every movement
If you ride loose and relaxed, then your bike will be loose and relaxed—this is what the bike wants to do and what it was built for. Much like riding a bike, you will experience more flow in life if you relax and allow yourself to instinctively absorb obstacles and situations as they appear, without forcing it.
Happiness = reality minus expectations
The only thing for sure is something unexpected will happen.
You may have expectations, such as I can’t make any mistakes when riding this trail feature. Then, BAM! you’re face first in the dirt. The problem was your expectation sabotaged your mental game. We’ve all been there…you get into your head too much and everything falls apart—because you’ve added an excessive amount of pressure and are thinking too much about the result.
When you’re forcing situations and you’re controlled by expectations, you cannot be free in the present moment. You can’t be in flow on a bike ride or be fully present in a tender moment between you and another. With expectations, every experience is bound to the constant effort of working to get, and feeling the emptiness of not receiving.
The ultimate task is mastering your mind to be in the present moment, whether the situation meets your expectations or not—after all, it’s pretty rare that things go exactly as planned. It’s invaluable to understand that not only is this okay, it might actually be better.
Relax to receive
Feeling the freedom that comes with relaxing to receive life as it comes, makes things much easier. We realize how much we lose by desperately clinging to expectations, and we know how much there is to gain through loosening our grip. Like riding a bike, when you’re always forcing things, it becomes a battle with no flow; but when you relax and gently trust in yourself and the direction you’re taken, it becomes a much more enjoyable ride.
This is not being passive. The trick is to gently register your preference or intention, and then relax to receive. Live your life without attachment to the result, and accept whatever comes.
Mastering the mind
Our well-being depends greatly on how we relate to our mind. It takes patience, devotion and self-awareness to master the mind, but if you can achieve a state of mind free from expectations, you’ll make room for joy, zest, and your ability to give to others.
Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than how you think it should be. – Wayne Dyer
Striving to be free from expectations doesn’t mean we’re indifferent, it simply means we understand that expectations don’t serve us and they make it impossible for us to be our most present, authentic self. Being unattached emotionally to the outcome of a situation means you’ll be open to possibility and experience more peace in your mind and body.
Goals not expectations
Expectations are assumptions, and as the old saying goes—that makes an ass our of u and me. Goals are about possibility whereas expectations are about certainty. Goals are intentions about working towards something, without expecting things to just happen.
Live and let live
It’s not easy to let go of expectations of others. It takes work to accept others for who they are with their imperfections and quirks, but it’s worth the effort and it becomes easier with practice.
Putting expectations on others is a recipe for resentment and hurt. When other’s don’t meet our expectations it’s because we expected them to act the same way we would, or the way we think they should. This isn’t realistic considering we each have different life experience, values and beliefs. I expected her to show up on time, I expected him to fold the laundry, I expected her to love biking as much as I do, I expected him to call me, I expected her to apologize etc.
In relationships it’s all too common to do things for others based on the expectation that they’ll do things for us. We say sorry only when we will hear sorry back. We constantly expect to receive patience, kindness, understanding, tenderness, respect and love the way we want it. This isn’t realistic because everyone is different and experiences each moment differently. What we’re lacking is the ability to give without expectation.
Expectations vs. Standards
It’s okay to have high standards. It’s healthy to insist on being treated politely and with respect, but if people fail to meet those standards, you can’t expect them to change, you have to accept them or let them go.
It’s a far more peaceful path if you choose to not try and change people, but instead compassionately accept them for who they are. You’re not lowering your standards, you’re simply realizing that each of us behaves in accordance with our unique set of beliefs—you can then take appropriate action that works for you.
Having high standards for how others treat you is a sign of healthy self-worth, and it implies that you have clarity about who you are and what you want. Conversely, it’s important that the expectations others don’t pull your standards down. Where expectations put responsibility on something else, standards empower you to take ownership of what’s happening in your life.
Practices for letting go
Learning to let go of our expectations means we won’t put ourselves and others under so much pressure to be perfect. We will be much less likely to feel disappointment when things don’t turn out as planned, and when others don’t act how we expect them to.
Begin letting go of expectations by noticing what your mind is doing, letting go and returning to the present moment. Like muscle memory, when you train your mind it becomes stronger.
Training the mind to be kinder, less judgmental, and more understanding will create space for acceptance for others and lessen the hurt when your expectations don’t play out. It’s not always about you and others don’t need to act the exact way you would.
Notice if you’re stressed, acting self-righteous, not open to other viewpoints, avoiding, being jealous etc. These are signs you may be clinging to an expectation.
Love yourself more
There’s only one person in this world who can love you 100% the way you want, and that person is you.
At the heart of your pain is not wanting things to be the way they are. When you do this, you’re not living in the moment and thus not living life fully.