The expectation of what lies at the end of the rainbow is always what trips you up.
Expectation and all the baggage that is attached to expectation is a big driver of unhappiness and disenchantment in the world today.
Expectation drives impatience, supports an undercurrent of “what if”, and quite often leaves you empty.
I asked a friend of mine who is a mother of four how she handles all the comings and goings of every day, the chaos that is likely her life.
Her answer: “I have no expectations”
If you have no expectations, you suffer no disappointment, and in some ways no over the top elation either. You remain neutral to the high-high’s and the low-low’s.
What does that mean, you don’t feel anything and so therefore you will be happy?
Neutral doesn’t mean you don’t feel things, it just means you don’t get attached to those feelings.
The immediate sensation of elation when something good happens to you, or that sense of immediate disappointment because something went wrong is normal.
But if you have a deep sense of expectation for a result and when that result doesn’t occur, your whole demeanour changes and you find yourself in a funk, then you’ve attached too much to the outcome, and not enough on the process.
This is called object reference. Being attached to the outcome or object of your desire.
It’s the same even if it’s a positive result.
Yes, be happy you won the game, or finished the project, or had a great date, but attaching future expectations to these results doesn’t serve you. Neither do over the top celebrations that leave you feeling empty the next day.
Instead of being attached to the outcome and having specific expectations of that outcome, good or bad, simply connect more with the process of reaching the intended outcome or objective.
If you just focus on the beauty of the rainbow, and not on the “treasure” at the end of the rainbow, you will in turn enjoy the rainbow for what it is, a beautiful separation of light.
This is where the idea of setting intentions versus goals becomes more than semantics.
You see a goal tends to be rather objective and can lead easily to a greater sense of expectation.
You want to loose 20 pounds, you set out on a diet, you focus on seeing the weight drop off, it doesn’t come off quite as quickly as you would have expected, you get despondent about your progress, you give up and start eating badly again.
Instead, if you set your intentions with a connection to the process of learning about your body, how to eat more healthily, what exercise to do to support, and then you reflect daily on how you are doing with immediate positive and constructive change, you get connected to the process.
You become more self-referred. This is called self-reference.
What are you learning, what are you experiencing, what are you more aware of on a moment-to-moment basis.
You are present.
The more connected you are to the process, the less finite your expectations become, and a sense that progress is the most important thing, not perfection becomes the theme.
Perfection is an ever more difficult state, never truly attainable, just like the end of the rainbow, as you approach what you think is the destination, it some how moves further away.
Process however is not a state, but rather a pathway. You can move along that pathway as quickly or as slowly as you wish, the key is not being attached to the speed, but rather connected to the need to stay moving.
Simply moving, and moving with consistency creates progress. Tomorrow you will be farther ahead than today, that’s it, that’s all.
You are not stagnant.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Progress not perfection!
A good friend once provided a wonderful acronym for FEAR – False – Expectations – Appearing – Real.
Remember, a rainbow is simply an illusion of the refraction of light, as an expectation is just an illusion in the imagination of our mind.
Focus on what is real, not what is an illusion created in your mind.
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