Here’s one thing about having expectations — when you have expectations of another, you’re likely to end up relating to your expectations and not to the person.
When my friend says she’ll be here at 6:00, I expect her to be on time. When she doesn’t arrive until 6:20, my anger and other emotions are all swirling around my expectations. I may think my feelings are caused by my friend, but in truth they are a reaction to my expectations. Without my expectations, there’d be nothing to swirl around.
When I expect that someone will be happy to see me and they’re not, all of my resulting emotions — confusion, anxiety, irritation, shame, blame, fear, etc — have only to do with my expectations. I may feel like I’m relating to the other person, but in reality I’m relating to my expectations.
I place my expectations between me and the other. You place your expectations between you and the other. You’ve seen it — in some relationships the expectations eventually pile up into a wall that cannot be breached by either party.
My expectations prevent me from focusing on the person or on the situation at hand. My expectations keep me focused only on my expectations.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Eschew expectations!
I got my hair cut yesterday, and by the time it was done, the stylist and I had concluded that there are only two things any follower of any religion needs to know:
1. God is love.
2. Kindness is the highest calling of a religious person — unconditional kindness to Earth and to all Earth’s creatures, including all humans and including oneself.
Do you consider yourself a religious person? Would you agree?
It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who first got me to seriously consider the idea of love. Not when he was alive. No. I was too committed to self-righteous anger to understand that there might be power in love. Then, about 25 years ago I suppose, I started listening more closely to Dr. King and Bayard Rustin and their comrades.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
“We are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. [This new way is] an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft-misunderstood, this oft-misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
“When I speak of love, I’m not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of a force which is just emotional bosh. I’m speaking of that force which all the great religions of the world have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.”
“Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Happy New Year!
Sometimes, even oftentimes, interacting with other humans fills me with joy. But here’s the thing — that joy can show up even when the human I am interacting with is one I know to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and Republican.
So where does this joy originate? Surely not from the other. It must be from within.
I’m about to turn 67, and this is the first time I’ve really understood that love can inform even a situation that is otherwise distasteful.
In the moment, I love being with this racist, sexist, homophobic person. In the moment, interacting with this person is joyful.
How can that be?
A friend gave me a new way to describe/experience radiating love: walk through my day in an aura of love.
I like it! I like it a lot. It’s a joyful thing to do. It’s a simplifying thing to do. It’s a happy thing to do. It tickles my fancy. I laugh.
I’ve had to tie a string around my finger to remind myself to stay aware of my aura, but the more I practice, the better I get. Practice, practice, practice until I become the practice. Yes, I like it.
Try it. Let me know.
Happiness and kindness. They are inseparable. If you can’t be kind, you’re not happy. If you’re not happy, you can’t be kind.
Want happiness? Be kind.
This week, practice kindness. With everyone and everything you encounter, be kind. Regardless of anything else happening in your life, be kind.
For this one week, practice kindness all day, every day. I’m going to do it. Join me, and I’m willing to bet that by the end of 7 days, we’ll all be noticeably happier.
Let me know.
If it’s true that every moment of my life has led to this, then THIS must be a profoundly important moment.
When I have sufficient awareness to remember that every moment of my life has led to this moment, then I can choose to honor the profound importance of this moment by how I choose to live it.
In this moment, I choose to live the energy of curiosity.
In this moment, I choose to embody the energy of love.
In this moment, I choose to be the epitome of kindness.
In this moment, I choose to experience wonder.
In this moment, I choose to feel joy.
Or sometimes perhaps, in this moment I choose to surrender to grief.
But how often do I choose to use this one moment that every moment of my life has led to by experiencing shame, or anxiety, or anger? Is that really what I want all the moments of my life to have led to?
If I can feel shame, I can feel wonder. If I can feel anxiety, I can feel curiosity. How I live THIS moment is my choice. Choice is the great power of my life, and awareness is my ally. In this moment, I choose . . .