I used to live a life that had a lot of expectations, for example, expectations of life events- what, how and when it should occur and relationships- what it is and how others should behave.
Suffice to say that I learned a lot over the past few years from experiences like these-
Surprise– Husbands don’t always remember important days, let alone bring presents. Horror– People can cut in your lane and flip you the bird. Disappointment– When you move to a new city and look for friends and come across tribes and exclusive groups- you’re not welcome here!!!
So what exactly are expectations? Expectations are strong beliefs that something will happen or be the case in the future. Or, you believe that something should be a certain way.
What happens when we expect events or relationships to be a certain way?
You’re faced with more disappointments-
Expectations delude you with a false sense of stability and control, tricking you to believe- since it should be so it must be. You fall prey to your pride and ego with your expectations. Your expectations only bring you a number of false possibilities and no guarantee of a desired reality. You’re met with disappointment when your expectations do not become your reality.
It deprives you of your present happiness-
“Shoulds” are occurrences of the future that we can’t control. When we expect, we can’t focus on now as we are too busy decorating our anticipations for the future. You’re stuck in a loop of future possibilities that deprive you of your present happiness.
Makes you other reliant-
A lot of the time our expectations have a lot to do with others. You bake a cake for your mom and expect her to say kind words about you for your efforts. You want to go to the botanical garden but expect your husband to initiate it. The reality is that we can’t control other people’s actions and we must not rely on others for our own happiness.
It hinders your growth-
You’re so busy setting up your expectations about all sorts of things that you hardly have any time to develop self awareness and nurture your own growth. You’re using up all your color painting the picture of how things should be. And the negative energy from disappointments can drain your energy.
So, what can you do about your expectations?
I learned this prayer a while ago- O Allah help me see reality for what it is and give me accordance to it, and help me see illusions for what it is and give me avoidance to it. I do not remember the source of it but i loved it much that I put it up on my fridge as a reminder.
Know when you’re expecting-
It’s always good to be aware when you’re expecting so you can talk yourself out of it and live a more meaningful life. When you catch yourself expecting, remind yourself, I used to expect this a certain way but I don’t anymore. Or, I’m open to possibilities and I can handle it inshaAllah. A great dua for this is- “O Allah, I beg You that You make every decree of fate good for me. And I beg you that whatever decisions You make for me, make their end good.” Ameen.
Rely on Allah(swt) and make efforts-
The reality is that if you’ve already asked someone a few times and dropped hints in a number of ways and didn’t get the desired response then it’s not likely going to happen.
Whatever needs and wants you have that you expect someone to fulfill can be fulfilled by yourself or by someone else. So rely on none other than Allah(swt) and ask Him for all your needs and wants and then get to work to make it happen. This will help you to become more Allah reliant, instilling wonderful lessons in tawaqqul.
Own and work with your stuff-
Whatever bothers you in others must be addressed in yourself first. All the things that you believe someone else “should do” must be practiced by yourself first. We must learn the lessons that we want to teach others. Expectations are a fertile ground for becoming a better you. Start small and be consistent about it.
Practice Acceptance and letting go-
We all have wants and needs that we want others to satisfy that don’t happen. Bring yourself at peace to accept it. Keep the hopes that it will be fulfilled by Allah(swt) and let go the person/people. It takes time and patience since it may feel like a failure, a nightmare that brings in a vortex of emotions- shame (it’s my fault that he is treating me this way), guilt ( I should’ve given her another second chance), fear ( I better put up with their abuse, I don’t want to end up by myself).
Be kind to yourself every step of this process of acceptance-
Be present and move forward- Be open to see the possibilities of now. Enjoy every aspect of it and be mindful about it. Find peace in your present reality, look for the things that brings you joy at the present moment, letting go of the works of anticipation of the future.
I wish you a life in abundance with more acceptance and less expectations insha Allah