expecting expectations


Expectations are a tricky thing. There are many trains of thought regarding the subject at hand:
  1. Prepare for the worst. Expect the best.
  2. Don’t expect anything and nothing will disappoint.
  3. Expect and accept abundance.
I could continue with more contracting quotations, but it's fair to say that the three above can succinctly summarize expectations. Even the title of one of my favorite books includes this elusive word, Great Expectations. And we all know what happened when the protagonist (despite his best intentions) expected a bit too much. 
So where do we draw the line? When a dream meets reality, does expectation play a vital role in their magical encounter?
I have been very blessed in my life. I have been places and seen things that I never in my wildest dreams would have ever imagined. 
Or did I?
When we are children, it comes as second nature to dream big, live big, have fun, and play. As a teenager, this sneaky thing referred to as "restrictions" starts poking its hideous head and we learn to be a bit more cautious. Our natural state of "openness" no longer becomes innate and in time it becomes suppressed. 
Now that I'm in my late 20s I've been actively trying to reverse this process and start being open to the natural wonders of life… to literally tell myself, "The sky is the limit." And every time I dream big, I force myself to say "Dream bigger, Idalia. Do it. Fight for it. And if you get hurt in the process, that's ok. You're still moving onward and upward."
Ah, I forgot one tiny thing along the way… others. It's one thing to expect something from myself (after all, I know how much I can push myself and allow myself to dream), but it's a completely different ball game when we begin to expect things from others. On one side, I wouldn't be the woman I am now if my family hadn't pushed me to be a better person, to make my bed every morning, to say "please" and "thank you", to love unconditionally, to speak my mind, to move 3,000miles away from my home to pursue a dream. I would have never learned how to swim if I hadn't been pushed into a pool. 
Yet on the other side, when we start expecting too much from others (or rather, too much from their comfort zone) we no longer are a building block. We become a boulder on their shoulder. The world upon Atlas. That's when the human psyche begins to shut down. We stick our head in the sand and pretend the outside world no longer exists. The only saving grace here are two things: communication and trust. 
When I had dinner at my friends' house on Sunday, the newlywed offered some advice on relationships (no, I did not ask for it). On his wedding night, he went around from old couple to old couple asking, "Please tell me the secret to a long and loving marriage." As he continued his story, my friend turned to me, eyes lit with fire and said, "Idalia, we all hear about love, trust, respect, blah blah blah. But the one piece of advice that really stuck to me was communication. One guy told me that even if you have nothing to tell your partner, still speak. You'll find there is always something to say."
Regarding trust, I have no secrets or magical spells for this one. This comes straight from the heart. You either trust someone or you don't. And for me, that line has always been black or white. I don't allow myself to trust anyone in the grey. In turn, you need to trust yourself when dealing with others… you need to trust your selfless expectations with others. There is a beautiful quote from Anais Nin that says, " I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me na├»ve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman."
With that quote in mind, I've learned that I must also trust those that I deal and share my life experiences with. I literally have to trust their expectations of me. 

So this bring us back to the three sayings mentioned above. Here are my thoughts:
  1. Maybe we should not prepare for the worst. Maybe in life we should just carry our "emergency kit" a safe distance from our heart and with a deeper conviction expect that we can move mountains. 
  2. This was one of my grandmother's favorite sayings and one that I've spent my life trying to figure out. I would hate to think that she was wrong, but something in me as always told me that she was. We have to allow ourselves to expect and dream. We must also allow ourselves the space for disappointment. And when that time comes, to feel it in its intensity and then kindly walk away from it. 
  3. This is the truth. The world is abundance. Expect and accept it. I'll add one last touch to this : give abundance. 
Allow others to expect the world from you. You're here to give it.

- i. salsamendi

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