The common programming that takes place almost the moment we are cognizant is what we should expect out of people and situations. Helpful in many ways and often influenced by the trends of our culture and subcultures, these ideas take on a particular form that so happens to shape how we perceive the entire universe or at least our life’s journey.
While our optimism is still intact, our expectations tend to be pretty pleasant. We expect our parents to provide for us. We expect our partners to be faithful. We expect things to fall into place. We expect Earth to forever continue floating in space. Then, life continues to unfold, we fall victim to inevitable circumstances and our expectations begin to shift.
Suddenly, we begin to expect our parents’ disapproval and unfaithful lovers. We expect to fall short on achievement. Somewhere along the winding road, we might even expect the Earth, in all its vastness, to come imploding in on itself – in perfect alignment with the chaos we have to come to know as our existence. So, in spite of all the unfortunate happenstances that actually do occur, what separates the survivors from the thrivers? Intention.
Intention is about visualizing where to aim and never loosing sight of the goal, even if the target is missed. If every successful business person quit whenever things didn’t go as expected, there would be no successful businesses. If you ceased applying effort towards your goals in life every time something went wrong, although alive, it would be safe to say you would not have actually done much living.
Expectations are usually the glue that keep up stuck in unnecessarily painful situations. We expect everyone to agree with our opinion so we become enraged when they do not. We expect happiness will somehow find us when we buy something new or switch jobs. Or, we just just know our spouses will forever be true to us no matter what. This is not to say that we should not implement healthy boundaries and standards but the truth is that nothing is certain.
The older I get, the more the things I’ve always known to be true are debunked, the more I run into new opposing views and obstacles. What I have found is that regardless of my predictions and assumptions, life does not always match up. I learned the hard way that slow and steady does not always win the race and sometimes the apple falls very far from the tree – common and often true conceptions. And although sometimes initially jarring, instead of allowing these realizations to cause upset, I embrace them as new truths to inform the “how” of my intentions.
Hard times come and go just as much as the good times. It’s what you do with each moment that makes the difference. When we hold on to what we “expect”, we will find ourselves disappointed more times than not as life was never meant to be entirely predictable. Where’s the fun in that after all? The ebbs and flows of life are what make us who we are. We can learn a lot about ourselves based on how we handle each present moment as it comes without the stronghold of expectation but rather with the tides of intention. You just might surprise yourself and end up steering your experience down the seas of the unexpected of so much more than you could have ever imagined.