I’m a fan of seeming paradoxes. They are all around us and are crucial guideposts to help us find our way. Here’s one of these paradoxes: Though you are the most important person in your world, the world doesn’t revolve around you.

My meditation teacher continues to teach me a very important lesson: Whosoever has expectations chooses to be unhappy.

What are expectations? Expectations are a range of thoughts and beliefs about what was and what might be. Expectations include fears, desires, and hopes about the past and the future. For instance, if we say, “They hurt me on purpose,” that’s an expectation. Here’s another one: “There is no way I’d ever tell them that, they’d get so angry!”

Anticipation of an outcome is an expectation. The stronger our reaction to a perceived outcome, the stronger our expectation was. Anytime our mood changes due to circumstances external to us, we are giving up our power, essentially conveying that someone or something else has the power to determine how we feel and how we act.

When we live in a world of expectations, we are reactive. We are controlling. We become hurt.

Life is an enduring process of being a student of our selves. Observing our expectations about self and others. Refining our thinking process. Treating others and ourselves with respect and kindness. Being happy.

Surrender, I’ve learned, is an empowering action. It’s often a braver and wiser choice to allow things to be, instead of trying to control the people and situations around us. After all, me, myself, and I are the only things in this world we can control, and ultimately, for which we are each responsible.

Is there an area of your life you are finding difficult to control? What are those underlying expectations that are getting in your way? What do you have in your control, and what do you need to let go?

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