3 Keys to Let Go of Rigid Expectations on Your Family & Relationships
Letting go of rigid expectations that are affecting you, your family, and those in your life unfortunately isn’t as easy as taking one cure-all pill, and poof!…you now have a life of peace and calm. Wouldn’t that be nice?!
It’s not an actionable process, but it’s a mental, emotional, and spiritual process. It starts with making the conscious choice to change your mind… and doing the inner work required to get there.
By placing certain expectations on others isn’t only not fair to those you’re placing them on, BUT also causes chaos within your own life. Think about it. What do you go through when someone doesn’t live up to your perceived expectations? Kinda rocks your world, doesn’t it?
I speak from experience when I say, this one act of letting go of expectations goes a long way in creating more peace and calm in your life… and your family’s. Of course we are still human, so that’s not to say that we won’t get bitten by the “expectation bug” every once in awhile, BUT with your new awareness you will catch yourself that much sooner and quickly get yourself back into alignment.
So, how can we let go of hindering expectations and find peace and calm:
- Stop Assuming
We all know the old adage – Assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” And this adage certainly holds true. We play the role of the fool when we assume our way is the only way. The only thing this accomplishes is disrupting our own peace of mind, as well as causing tension in relationships.
Stop assuming that you know what’s best, and stop assuming your way is the right way. Cause that’s what it really boils down to. You get peeved when others don’t live up to your expectations because you figure you know better, you figure you do better, and you figure your values/priorities/qualities are superior.
How many of you have had the “folded towel” fight with your spouse? This is one I’ve heard several times (okay…and I did it too!). Newly married, your hubby lovingly wants to help out (…oooor you expected him to help out), and he goes to put the freshly folded towels into the linen closet, only to be screeched to a halt by a voice barking, “That’s not how the towels should be folded!”
Boom! All the good is knocked out of the air by the simple assumption that you know how to fold towels better. Really?!!! How presumptuous to assume that our way is the only way! Not to mention, who wants to help out when they can do nothing right.
An example I encountered with my daughter involved my assumption of how a clean room should look. There used to be arguments about keeping her room clean. I couldn’t understand that she was okay with the state of her room, since I was the type of kid who spent hours cleaning, rearranging, and reorganizing my room. (I know! I get it…weird!… I’ve since let go of that perfectionism.)
Believing that communication with our children is important, I finally had the clarity of mind to talk about this with my daughter instead of dictate. What I learned is that she just isn’t as sensitive to the clutter like I am. In fact she even said that it comforts her (yeah, I know… I don’t get it either! BUT I trust that she is able to listen to her own intuition).
As soon as I became aware that we simply have different sensitivities, neither being right nor wrong, I was able to let go of my expectation (and in fact embrace her free spiritedness) and allow her some freedom over the environment of her own room. Now that’s not to say, I gave her a free for all and allowed her to trash her room. No. What we did is work out a compromise, both setting healthy boundaries of what we expected from each other. This is where expectations work!… when they’re based in a mutual understanding.
- Stop Controlling
Control is fear-based. It’s an indication that you don’t quite trust how life is going to turn out, so instead of leaving it up to chance you control it. This is not only true in your own life, but certainly also in the lives of the people close to you. You mistakenly believe you are helping them by being so in control.
The way to begin to let go of control is to understand that everyone is on their own path, and it’s not your job to dictate and coordinate it. Even if those we love hit bumps in the road, its part of their journey and not up to you to clear the path or fix it.
That’s not to say that you can’t be there to support, guide, and even provide advice if it’s asked for, BUT that support and guidance is to be given without attachment to whether they decide to listen to you or not.
When you can let go of your attachment to how things turn out, you then have let go of control and are on the road of trust! A very freeing feeling!
- Start Loving and Accepting
Yep! Everything boils down to love and acceptance. The fact is that when we unconditionally love and accept ourselves we can then love and accept others… regardless of what they are, or aren’t, doing!
So, this means it’s not about trying to change the other people who aren’t living up to your expectations. This means that it’s about you changing you. It’s about you learning to love and accept you.
People, your children included, will respond to the energy you are sending out. If you are setting expectations based in fears that come from your own lack of self love and acceptance, they will feel rigid and unreasonable. Most will respond to this energy with resistance.
If you are setting expectations based in understanding and openness that come from self love and acceptance not only of yourself, but also of others, the expectations will be met with a desire to want to reach for them. The resistance is dropped because they receive the energy of complete love and acceptance, so they know regardless of any mistakes made they will not lose your love… it’s truly unconditional.
Expectations alone are neither good nor bad, but it’s the form in which we place these expectations on others. Once you’re able to shift into a place of letting go of the expectations that are creating emotional havoc in your life, you will then find the peace and calm we all aspire to… and so will your family.
Trisha Savoia is founder/owner of Absolute Awareness, and creator of the The Integrity Code, and The Soulful Parent Courses. Through her courses, writing, and speaking she uses her skills, experience, and intuition as a mother, teacher, Life & Parent Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist to help guide parents to recover their true selves and their intuition, while at the same time learn how to parent so their children can do the same.