Teresa Brooks Life Coaching

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If it was easy to release expectations, we would all be doing it, all the time; or as soon as we became aware that we were disappointed with someone.

When all is said and done, releasing expectations is about seeing the person in question as they really are and not as we expect them to be. We need to uncover the emotional component in the expectations we hold. Sometimes, the very thing we expect others to do or be is the very thing we are avoiding or not able to see in ourselves.

Below is an exercise that may help to release an expectation you hold against a person in your life. It may be a work colleague or someone close to you. It may even be an expectation you hold against yourself! It is often easier to begin with an expectation that does not have a huge amount of emotional charge in order to test out the method being suggested. Expectations with huge amounts of emotional charge, often have several layers to uncover so are not easy ones to start with. Here we go:

  1. Picture an image of the person on whom you have the expectation as he/she is doing what upsets you. What might that person be feeling? Really get into the feeling.
  2. Name the expectation you have running on this person. Use these words: “I release my expectation on (name of person) that he/she (name the expectation) and I release it to Love and Acceptance.” You may want to use another quality that seems to fit more appropriately like, Peace, Trust, Generosity, Humour etc.
  3. Picture the image of the person again. Is it different? Has anything shifted? Does the person look less stressed?

If the image of the person has not changed, then there are more expectations to uncover. It may help to ask yourself,  “What expectations might be running below the obvious one I have stated?” Return to steps (1-3) and continue with the new expectation. Picture the image of the person again. When the image of the person you are working on is relaxed and at ease, your work is done. Check in with yourself…..how do you feel about this person now?

Here is an example of how this method works.

A woman was disappointed at her husband’s apparent apathy towards his health. She said, “I want my husband to live a healthy, long life so I’m really upset that he does not exercise.” Her expectation of a long life with her husband looked grim because he was not committed to an exercise regime.

When she pictured her husband (step 1) she saw him as overweight, unattractive, disinterested and distant. Her words were, “I release the expectation on my husband that he take proper exercise and I release this to Love and Acceptance.” Then she pictured him again. To her surprise, he was no longer unattractive or disinterested. She still found him overweight and distant. As distant was not his normal loving state, she looked again for further expectations she might be holding and found an underlying one in relation to responsibility and health. Her new statement was, “I release my expectation on my husband that he always act in a totally responsible way around his health and I release that to Love, Acceptance and Trust.”

When she pictured him again (step 3) He was no longer distant and she was able to fully accept him just as he was.

The woman hit the ‘A ha’ moment when she discovered the expectation around health and responsibility which was the real reason she was upset. Often times, what is REALLY upsetting us is not on the surface but buried  deeper. In this case, the woman realised  that while she exercised regularly, she actually neglected her health in other ways. Getting to the deeper source of the upset, allowed the woman to release a more general expectation on her husband but also gave her a wake up call about her own behaviour towards herself (of which she was not proud). Whilst she could not see this negligent behaviour towards herself, she could see her husband’s negligent behaviour and this upset her. Releasing the expectation on her husband created a more loving relationship and put the attention where it belonged; with her health….a win all round.

You do not need to use the afore mentioned steps to release expectations on the people in your life but it may well be a starting place. The act of accepting a person just the way he/she is, is hard to explain; but when you do, you ‘see’ him/her with different eyes. It is not something that can be forced or willed into existence. You have to be open to seeing the situation differently. In some circumstances this may be very hard and resistance may be very high. You may need to commit to several tries before you are ready to truly ‘see’ the situation differently. When you reach the point of being able, you will realise what a gift this is to yourself because of the freedom it affords you. It is also a gift that keeps on giving because it helps to repair the relationship with the person on whom you hold the expectation.

Be kind to yourselves

Source of example: Common Sense Personal Growth by Greg Broomhall (self published booklet 1999)


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