Expectations, small and large, have been rearing their ugly heads again for me lately. I’m discovering that pregnancy, especially when it isn’t theirs, seems to evoke a need in people to share their opinions and stereotypes with you. I’ve been bombarded with other people’s opinions, experiences, and beliefs about what happens while you’re pregnant, what happens during labor and delivery, and what happens once the baby is born. Generally speaking, I would say it is well meaning and comes from a desire to support you in what you’re going through, even when the content is on the negative end of the spectrum. Most of the time I see it that way and take what is said with a grain of salt. But every now and again, someone will say something it will just irk me to no end. When I stop and look at what is causing that reaction, I realize that if another person had said exactly the same thing it wouldn’t have bothered me so much, I would have been able slough it off. So what is the difference? Ah yes, expectations. Without fail, my reaction is caused by my having some expectation of that person, that they would think more like I do, that they would realize that what they’re saying is merely a perpetuation of stereotypes instead of being based in reality, or even that they would realize that every pregnancy, delivery, and baby is different and therefore every experience is unique.
In some respects, it is a welcome change for me to have this experience with other people instead of simply with myself. Most of the time, my expectations surround my own abilities, whether it’s about my productivity or being centered or showing up the way I choose to or, really, I could go on pretty much ad nauseam. But wherever those expectations are stemming from, whether it’s about expecting something of yourself or your situation or another person, expecting things to be better or different or any way at all, those expectations are getting in the way of living life fully. That may be a harsh way of looking at it, but the way I see it is that expectations may lead to many emotions — primarily disappointment, irritation, frustration, or even anger — but at the end of the day, they keep you from staying present, from experiencing the moment as it is happening. Expectations leave you in a state of comparison instead of enabling you to see the moment for what it is. Expectations leave you in judgment, allowing you to say that now you like the person or the situation or yourself more or less than you did before, instead of opening you up to see the divinity within.
The reminder in all this for me is that the path to freedom, the path to joy, is to see people for who they are in this moment, to accept the situation I find myself in for what it is, and to love myself unconditionally. I choose to set my intentions for my life, but allow the moments themselves to unfold in their own divine perfection, staying present to the experience and opening myself up to the opportunities each moment brings. This is my challenge to myself for this week, and I welcome you to join me. I would love to hear how it goes for you! Namaste.