How to Let Go of Expectations

let go of expectations

Have you ever set your mind on the final outcome of something, only to have your hopes dashed when it didn’t come true?  When you have an expectation and believe that something is going to happen, that’s the result of your imagination kicking in. And odds are, the expectation won’t turn out the way you thought it was going to, which can be disappointing. You might even remember feeling resentment for it not working or playing out in the way you imagined, since expectations are typically geared towards something that will make you happy. 

How You Create an Expectation

Expectations are usually centered around future events or people. It’s hard to deal with uncertainty, so we create predictions on how we would like an event to happen or a person to act. Without realizing it, these expectations become bars or standards we set for ourselves and others. If reality matches an expectation you might feel happy, but if they don’t turn out as expected, you can feel sad, frustrated, resentful, and disappointed.

Negative Expectations

It is natural to feel disappointed, especially if you’ve set an unrealistic expectation for a positive outcome. And, just like we can set optimistic expectations for a positive outcome, we can also set negative ones. Anxiety can become high when the mind conjures up expectations for a negative outcome. You might even become fearful if you think about a future situation that could threaten you.

You can convince yourself that something bad is going to happen, and end up living with stress, fear, and anxiety as you await an outcome. When it finally arrives and is more positive than you imagined, you have allowed fear and anxiety to take a toll on your mind and body. This toll might even leave you too exhausted to enjoy a good outcome.

Managing Expectations

There’s nothing wrong with having positive expectations. The more you expect of yourself, the more you can do. However, if you feel expectations are frequently more disappointing than positive, you need to learn how to let go so they don’t block your vision to the possibilities or hold you back from achieving your goals.

How to Let Go of Expectations

Letting go of expectations takes some hard work embracing mindfulness, gratitude, acceptance, awareness and more. 

  • Mindfulness is your ability to remain in the moment. It will help you become more aware of how you think, feel, and do things. Mindfulness will take acceptance of your experiences and thoughts without judging them as being bad or good.
  • Gratitude allows you to reflect on experiences and things in your life you are grateful for. Begin by appreciating the positive aspects of your life and staying more optimistic. Gratitude empowers you to search for more positive outcomes in any situation. 
  • Acceptance allows you to experience life just the way it comes to you. Life typically gives you two options of acceptance. You can either choose to accept what is happening in your life or can resist and fight against it. Accepting what is happening does not mean you give up, you just need to take different actions toward the desired outcome. 
  • Awareness means you will understand and become aware of the emotions that you experience without having guilt. Observe the expectations you’ve created, and learn how to understand them better. Through awareness, you learn how realistic your expectations are and whether they can be achieved. 
  • Let go of Resentment. Dealing with resentment means you have to recognize what you feel resentment towards. Understand how it is negatively affecting your life so you can move past it. 

Where to Learn More About Letting Go of Expectations

Raise Women is committed to creating systemic change in the business world. Through our mentorship program, you can learn how to succeed in the business world as a woman of color and rise to the top of the corporate ladder. We have certain standards of social performance and can help you learn how to let go of expectations that are holding you back from goals.

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