I got the idea for this article from Susan Jeffers in her book Embracing Uncertainty. It really struck a chord with me. The whole idea is that hoping, wishing, wanting, etc. opens you up to disappointment because you cannot control the future. When what you hope for doesn’t happen, your hopes are dashed. You then judge the situation as “bad” because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to turn out. You are hurt, disappointed, frustrated, etc.
The idea is to replace your hopes with wonder. Instead of hoping you’ll get a particular job you wonder if you’ll get that job. Instead of hoping your partner will act in a certain way you wonder if they will act that way. Instead of hoping your child will do well in school you wonder if they will do well in school. Instead of hoping a certain thing happens, you simply wonder what will happen. Do the same thing with wishing and wanting.
This immediately takes the pressure off of the future by removing the need for it to turn out a certain way. You are free to let your life unfold in the way it is going to unfold regardless of your hopes and desires. Wonder frees you from the anxiety of a specific outcome.
This is NOT about pessimism. Pessimism sucks. Hope is better than pessimism. Wonder moves beyond hope and doesn’t open the door for pessimism. If you had ask me a few years ago what I thought about all of this, I probably would have said it was total crap. What a difference a few years make!
“Don’t wish for it to happen.
Don’t wish for it not to happen.
Just watch it happen.
Let the wonder of life unfold.” – Susan Jeffers
Expectation is even worse than hope. It is a stronger version of the same basic problem. Expectations create attachments to a specific outcome. Creating expectations just sets you up for disappointment. You create an expectation and then you start worrying about whether it is going to happen or not. Even if it does happen, you didn’t enjoy the journey because you worried about it. If it doesn’t happen, you are crushed.
We need to sever our expectations for specific outcomes and embrace the uncertainty of life. This doesn’t mean you don’t set goals and work in certain directions. You absolutely do that. But you do that with the spirit of wonder and excitement and not expectations. You don’t attach yourself to a specific outcome. You can try your best and be happy with whatever happens or doesn’t happen. You wear your goals very loosely.
The wonder of your unfolding life has replaced your life of hope, wish, and expectation. You have embraced uncertainty and you have let go of the need to control outcomes which can’t be controlled anyway. You have slain the monster of disappointment.
“In all things, I suggest you create your goals. Do your best. Enjoy the work. Then let go of the outcome. When attached to outcomes, by definition, we are attached to unhappiness. As hard as we try, as fast as we go, we can never feel the security of being in control of the outside world. When we break our attachment to our expectations of control, we become happier people.” — Susan Jeffers
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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