Breaking Free of Expectations

Breaking free of Expectations:

Who are we really? Isn’t that the question of the day of the decade, of the eons? For those of us living

in the Westernized American culture it can seem so easy. I’m a child, a mother, a father, a sibling. This

is the work I do, this is the church I go to, these are the activities I do on the weekend. I am an atheist, a

Republican, a Moderate. I believe in World Peace, I volunteer, I accrue money in bank accounts. The list

can be endless and although it is a natural part of establishing our identities in our adolescence, we can

become stuck there. As adults we can even believe that the more labels we acquire the more we have

achieved. This is the way we give ourselves value. These roles and deeds need a witness and thus, we

come to rely on others’ perception to validate our sense of worth.

Of course, the opposite axiom has been repeated for centuries: it’s what’s inside that counts. But how

many of us heard this from parents who took credit for our “good” deeds, academic achievements,

and athletic prowess. Or maybe their ego identification was so strong that they shamed us when we

did not do well believing it was a reflection on their ability to parent. It became obvious that for these

parents, their expectations of us had nothing to do with acknowledging the sweet vulnerability that

willingly performed to please them, or praise our innate intelligence that helped us figure things out by

ourselves. For those of us with that kind of parent, the kind of parent with good intentions, the kind of

parent who desperately wanted to instill in us a striving to do our best, the fact that we were already

our best, just by being, was denied.

We all knew a greater truth at one time. As babies there was no question that we believed we deserved

to be fed, to be comfortable, to be held and adored. That belief we were born with. It is an innate

part of our core. It still exists. And no accomplishment could make it any greater than it is. For it

encompasses ALL of you, without effort, without fear and without hesitation. That truth has never left.

Most everyone has a scar from that time. The failure we might feel when we disappoint others is

perfect and necessary. How else would we examine that old lie? How else but by not meeting the

demands of others would we be able to stand in a deeper truth that we are not just of value because we

can produce? We are more that what we can produce. We are more than our labels. But, if this is what

we present to others, are we not setting ourselves up to fail their expectations…and our own?

Next time you feel as if you are not meeting the demands of yourself, of others, of the world: simply put

your hand over your heart and ask yourself if that is true. Ask yourself if what you are doing is enough.

And maybe even dare to ask if fulfilling that request is really yours to do. Put your hand on your heart in

this manner for three days and see what happens.

Your heart may be relieved that you finally asked. And you might be surprised by the answer.

Now go find your truth.