26th of February 2021

Often there is a gap between what you expect and what happens. Let’s call this the Expectation-Reality-Gap. If you cannot cross this gap, there will be tension in your relationship with the world. Maybe you get unhappy or frozen, or you want to change reality to match your expectations. The latter is, for sure, the better one to live a good life. Be proactive. If you shower and expect the water to be warm, but the water comes out cold, use your hand and change it to warm.

But there needs to be the second option in your repertoire: accept that your expectation was not met by reality and let go of this dissonance by letting go of your expectation.

If you go into the shower and you expect hot water, but there is only cold and no possibility of changing it, the only thing you can do is to accept the situation. Let go of your expectation and reduce your suffering. The worst scenario is to have unrealistic expectations and no internal mobility to change these expectations and accept reality. If you expect things from other people that they cannot provide, you will suffer.

Don’t expect a two-year-old to act like a grown-up. Don’t expect a blind man to look at your paintings. Don’t expect 30° celsius in winter.

We often suffer from not realizing that our expectations were off. This is one big reason why people end relationships, stop practicing, are unhappy in their work or life in general, and do not pursue their purpose. Grow up!

If you expect things to be done quicker, but the natural unfolding of action has its own pace, realize you were unrealistic, take the experience, and know better for upcoming expectations.

If you can keep your expectations mobile - liquid - and if you can reduce the grip of expectations, you will be more calm, relaxed, and energetic.

It will also help tremendously in pursuing what you want to pursue. All too often, we become passive because we cling to expectations of the world that the world cannot live up to, while not realizing how we can proactively change the world to match our expectations, ideals, and beliefs. Both, to be proactive and to let go of your unrealistic expectations, are actions. You cannot be passive.

Joseph Bartz