This week I asked YOU on my instagram story why it’s so hard to let go of expectations. Here’s are the top 4 reasons YOU gave:
The heartbreak of not feeling like a priority
The number one reason you said you find it challenging to let go of expectations was because of the simple heartbreak we all feel when we realize we’re not a priority to someone we love.
One of you wrote,
“I often go with the flow while losing my own voice. My unmet exceptions are most often a product of my own passivity and not expressing them. It’s a battle to release those feelings of angst since I know it’s unfair to place those expectations on someone else, but at the same time I feel rejected and overlooked if I express my realistic needs and they are left unfulfilled because it’s not a priority for the other person.”
Does anyone else ever feel that way?
We all WANT to let go of our expectations of others. We KNOW it’s unfair to expect too much, but let’s admit it, it’s hard to ask for what we need and then have it be ignored or not considered important enough. This is where rejection can take root in our hearts.
I care about what others think
Everyone says, “I don’t care what anyone thinks”, but then we experience a relationship that lets us down and we find ourselves getting wrecked. Why? Because we really DO care. It’s not because we’re weak. Our human brain is wired to want to connect with others, especially those closest to us. Our inner world thrives when we are connected to others and FEEL like we belong, are accepted, and loved.
One reader wrote:
“I find letting go of my expectations challenging because I care how others feel about me. I have high my expectations of myself, and I find myself over analyzing my responses.”
We often receive other’s responses as a reflection of what they think of us. Most times, their response has nothing to do with us, but we read it that way. When people let us down we instantly think it’s because they are rejecting us. Like the reader said, this often stems from having unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Our significant other’s response makes us think we need to work HARDER, do BETTER, not because THEY want this, but because WE think we need to do more. Our expectation on OURSELVES is too high and that perspective comes with us into every conversation and interaction we have.
If you find yourself analyzing all your responses, you may want to do some reflection to see if your own expectations are playing a larger role than you think.
Accepting how I feel
Many of us ignore how we really feel when we’ve been let down. We bury it (sometimes for years) and then one day someone lets us down and we blow. Why them? Was it about them and what they did specifically? No. It was a reaction to ALL the years of times we felt let down.
This is a response I received regarding this:
“I find it challenging letting go of expectations with accepting how I feel about finished product outcomes: whether that’s how my spouse cleaned the house, or a peer flopping on an assignment, or being let down by a friend, or when people don’t respect your boundaries.”
Say this with me, “That was disappointing.”
This is what you need to say to yourself every time someone lets you down no matter how big or small. You don’t even need to say it to them, just acknowledging how that person or experience made you feel takes that emotion out of chaos. Naming the emotion you feel around a situation puts YOU in control, not the emotion. Too many are walking emotional time bombs because emotion has control when we don’t name it.
Is this uncomfortable? YES!
Someone else wrote this:
“I find letting go of expectations challenging simply from the discomfort of having to face my disappointment. It’s hard to live with unmet expectations.”
Emotions are extremely vulnerable. To name an emotion means you have to admit the other person has affected you – and in our culture we are taught to not let our walls down to admit defeat. Never let anyone affect you. Well my friends, as a human, that is just plain impossible. People affect us because we are born to love and be loved. Emotions go crazy when we’re not.
Do yourself and all those who live with you a favour and acknowledge your emotions when needs go unmet and then learn to communicate them.
Letting go of control
I haven’t met one person who likes feeling out of control. Nothing reminds us more of how out of control we are than having a relationship or being a parent. It’s our attempts to control that destroy our relationships. When I don’t feel heard I may use anger or scream to get attention. I may resort to getting physical. I may shut down emotionally, choosing to build a wall of emotional protection no longer allowing you access to my heart. I may seek to numb through substance or work. These are ways we cope with feeling unheard in our relationships.
One response summed it up well:
“It’s hard because you can’t control and your only hope is to accept.”
It’s the “accepting” that is one of the hardest things for us to do in our relationships.
“I want my kids to be happy but they have to make their own choices. What makes me happy may not make them happy.”
Letting go of our expectations of what we expect our partner or kids to be like is hard for many. Letting go their interests, their personality and preferences. Many are trying seeking to control merely because they are having a hard time letting go of the expectations they had.
“I thought my husband would want to talk for hours with me.”
“I thought my son would love hockey like I do.”
“I thought my friend would be there for me.”
Letting go of control means letting go of the expectations we had.
Do you know what all these boil down to?
When we don’t have healthy boundaries we don’t know how to let go of our expectations of ourselves and others. We have a hard time not wanting to control every situation. We can’t seem to get a grip on our emotions, we stress over what others think of us, and we have a hard time coming to acceptance. We WANT to, but we don’t know HOW to when we haven’t learned boundaries.
I have been in the exact same place. The reason what these writers wrote resonated so deeply with me is because I have experienced the exact same things – until I learned how to implement boundaries. I am so excited about my new boundaries course, Take Back Your Life. It debunks what you THINK boundaries are and how to take back your life with being secure in who you are, learning emotional regulation, learning what to do with toxic and hurtful relationships. It isn’t the way you’ve normally heard. If what we hear on the regular worked it would have already. If you want something that actually works, I invite you to take my online course which I believe is a GAME CHANGER!
In this course I explain:
- what boundaries are and aren’t
- how we create them (which is different than you’d expect!)
- foundations for building and creating boundaries that are different than walls
- how to have relationships that feel fulfilling
This isn’t easy for many so I want to help. Along with the course, I am offering personal coaching on creating and keeping boundaries.
If this is you, I want you to know there’s hope for meaningful relationships just waiting for you. Your marriage can thrive, your friendships can be meaningful, and your connection with your kids can be strong. Secure your spot in the course by clicking hereif you’re needing that right now in your life and let’s do this together.
Keep being brave,