Raising Your Expectations

You are where you are because it is what you expect. Your life situation and your emotional experience of these circumstances are a reflection of your expectations. What do you expect?

Do you expect to struggle? Do you expect to be disappointed? Do you expect to be abandoned, hurt, victimized, taken advantage of? Or, do you expect to be successful, treated well, and in the flow. What are your expectations of the world?

As a child I expected to be rejected. I expected people not to want me as a part of their group. In my mind I wanted to be accepted. When I met people who did accept me, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I learned how to survive, but I always worried about being rejected.

At the time I thought it was my parents’ fault. I thought they should have loved me better. I didn’t understand that they had their own issues of feeling loved and accepted. Blaming them didn’t change my expectation. This negative expectation was part of my spiritual and personal course work. The main barrier to raising my expectation was within me. I discovered that although I felt isolated, unhappy, and unsure, it was a little bit satisfying. The fear of rejection often provided me with the opportunity for a quest. Approval of certain others became my holy grail. I felt victorious when I won someone’s approval. Being rejected by some people gave me pride. It proved that they were as horrible as I thought, and that I really was good.

A focus on whether or not people liked me allowed me to be wrapped up in me. I could be self righteously angry or hurt. I could always tell myself that I was the good guy. Being unacceptable became a self justifying image that ruled my relationships like a cruel dictator. This image dictated to me the role I would play with each person. It exacted a terrible price in terms of the emotional pain I caused for myself and others.

Over time I changed my internal governance. I was not able to overthrow the dictator, I just stopped giving it so much power. I raised my expectation in life. I began teaching myself that I was acceptable which helped me to speak and act in more approachable ways. My higher expectation caused me to spend less time worrying about me and more time focusing on others. It caused me to stop seeing myself as an eternal victim and to take responsibility for my life experience.

I believe my story is universal. Much of our suffering comes from our low expectations of life. Problems of financial lack, poor health, loneliness, conflict, and relationships are rooted in our expectations. We weave our fears and limitations into a fabric that covers our true selves. We wear this fabric wherever we go convincing ourselves and others that this is who we are. We receive from the world what we expect. How do we raise our expectations?

First, we need to acknowledge them. You cannot solve problems that you are not willing to look at. This begins with ceasing all blaming of other people and situations. It means standing up and saying “I created this.”

The second step is to observe the games we play without judging. We are often afraid to look at our darker sides. We fear our own judgment and condemnation. The key is to look and acknowledge without judging, without excusing, without blaming. Instead of judging we can discern that operating at this level is no longer acceptable.

The third step is to consciously raise our expectations of life. In this step we must clarify what it means to expect. Raising expectations is not the same as entitlement. Entitlement has me thinking I deserve to be loved by you. It says I should experience financial gain, bodily wellness, or happiness because I prayed, affirmed, did the right things, followed the regimen. The Universe doesn’t understand “should” or “deserve”, because It owes us nothing. For example, the Universe does not owe us love, because we are love.

Entitlement is based on a sense of separation which says that good things come from somewhere outside us. Entitlement says: “I’ve been good, now where is my reward?” Our good only comes through us–through our consciousness. I allow myself to love you because I want to love. If I believe I am entitled to your love, then I am disappointed, hurt, or resentful when you do not return it. If you do return it, I am hurt or angry if you can’t return it every minute of every day. Expectation means that I simply expect to be loved. If I am not loved by you in this moment, I am loved in another way.

With entitlement I battle my circumstances, identifying with my condition of lack or illness. I tell myself this shouldn’t be happening, I don’t deserve it, or I deserve better. When I raise my expectation my suffering ends. I accept my conditions the way they are, yet refuse to allow them to have any power over me. I refuse to identify with the condition, to be its victim. I focus my mind on what I can become. When healing manifests, I am delighted but not surprised. I am not surprised, because I expected it.

When we are stuck, we are prisoners of our own negative expectations. If you are experiencing being stuck right now, let this truth shine upon you: You are a child of God. You are an expression of love. You are one with all of life, with wholeness, with abundance, and with peace. You need no longer identify with a situation, or a label, or a judgment of you. You are not your mistakes. You are not your situation. You are you, holy, free, and well loved–sustained by a loving Creative Intelligence. Expect more from life, because you are more. Expecting more will lead to you giving more.

Imagine yourself living these words. You cannot wait for some magical person to come into your life and tell you that you are wonderful and valuable. Be willing to take it on faith–you are wonderful. You are valuable. If you knew this to be true about you, how would it change the way you think, speak, or behave? How would it change your relationships? When confronted with a negative situation you would say: “This, too, shall pass.” You would expect joy, peace, or success. Being in this frame of mind you would be focused on even the smallest evidence of success. Your positive expectation would create an energy field that would draw to you success. You would see yourself as blessed, grateful, and connected to your good.

You are responsible for raising your own expectations, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can pray for assistance. You can pray for strength and wisdom. You can pray to perceive differently. You can pray to be guided in all that you say and do. Know that the Universe is waiting for you to expect more of life, and It delights in your new willingness to receive.