I made mention in the book that our ego expectations are the root of so much of our upsets, unhappiness, depressions, and sorrows. Who wants to feel like this? Nobody, but when our expectations are not met, it is a natural response to not feel good. Our physiological responses are set up in an instinctual way that when our emotional values are not met, we feel bad.
I don't know about you, but life doesn't usually go the way I want it to. If I have any expectations, they usually aren't met. I learned long ago this particular life lesson. That is just the way it goes. We are not in control of life itself. But guess what? There are billions of people out there, all with their own expectations and none of them are in control either. So... join the club!
Life goes the way it wants to go, not the way one individual person desires. But we continue to react in the same way a baby does when it doesn't get what it wants. We might not throw a temper tantrum in the same way a baby does, but we will react in a negative manner of some sort.
We just need to learn to deal with our expectations. Our first step is to observe our usual way of reacting when we don't get our way. In some cases, this can be a matter of life and death. If you think I'm exaggerating, just look at how prevalent depression is in this country. Doesn't it make sense that we get a handle on this issue? I don't see much help coming our way other than doctors prescribing anti-depressants to millions and millions of people. The untold story of these medications is that once you are on them, you can't get off of them. Horrible...
It is estimated that one in four women age 40 to 50 take this crap. One in ten Americans are users. Surely some people need these medications for a variety of reasons but I have to believe that anti-depressants are way over-prescribed. Maybe we should be looking at alternative solutions. Learning to get our ego expectations under control is a good place to start for the majority of us to not feel so bad so often.
The issue at hand is this; the ego sees itself as the center of the universe. If things don't go the way it wants it becomes invalidated, then it becomes angry or sad because of this. It's as simple as that. We have all these emotions that are released in response to not getting what we want. We have all felt this way. How we respond to it is the key. Life really is all about developing conversations in our head in order to rationalize and manage our responses. If you can tune into an empowering internal mind conversation to help you deal with disappointment, you can turn the life situation into something positive.
The worst way to handle our unfulfilled expectations is to feel sorry for ourselves and become a victim of our circumstances. Nothing good comes out of this. The stronger the attachment to an expectation, the worse you will feel. The more of a victim we are, the deeper into this depression mode we fall. As victims, we have no power to change anything.
"Attachment to the external always suffocates inner peace."
Byrant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
This brings me to what I really want to write about. In your pursuit of heightening your awareness, you might have heard the phrase, "just go with the flow". That sounds good in theory but I can't buy into this concept totally. Going with the flow is only one side of the coin. It is a great place to start as most of us swim upstream against the very strong current of life. "Let go and let God" is another way of seeing that we are not in control and that the process is taken care of. We just need to learn that we can be OK with the process and become more of an observer, not a victim.
There is another side to this, as there is with everything in life. Duality rules! Duality is the central philosophy that shaped Master the Mystery of Human Nature. The opposite of "just going with the flow" is the taking control of your life and changing whatever it is that you want to happen. These are opposing ways of thinking, but as we learned in the book, they really are complementary if you approach it correctly.
Napleon Hill wrote about taking control over your life in his masterpiece Think and Grow Rich. He believed that thoughts are things that can be manifested into our physical reality if done with the right emotions and intentions. This is key, so pay attention please! You can't change your external realities but you can change your thoughts about them. There are an infinite number of ways to perceive life so why not choose to think about it in non-negative way. There are a number of emotions that you have inside you; why not get in touch with the positive ones?
"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve."
Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
You do have a choice if you want to grow and change. If you don't want to grow and change then it is a good indication that your ego is firmly ensconced and in control. You want to continue to be right. Good luck with that! You will continue to get the same results and perhaps a downward emotional spiral will begin. Maybe a doctor can prescribe you some medication to help!
If we can begin with an intention to look at things from a different point of view then we have a chance to overcome our ego's emotional attachments. This intention must include positive ways of thinking and finding positive emotions to accompany them. What we are doing is rewiring our brains that will in turn re-create our reality. There are an unlimited number of ways to perceive life and our perceptions will in turn create how others react to us. How we interact with others opens up endless possibilities for our present and future.
Really, this is a simple concept. The hard part is to make our egos give up its control. The ego is sourced by fear and negative emotions. Our challenge is to change our mindset and our emotions to something positive and empowering. We must be diligent when the process doesn't go the way we think it should. Patience, persistence, positive thinking, positive emotions, surrendering to the process, all will help us get what we want. What I have found is that by going through our process, sometimes our perspectives change and what we want changes. Life is so wondrous and mysterious.
"There is a difference between expectations and aspirations."
So, let us concentrate on our aspirations, not our expectations. Our aspirations are a steadfast longing for a higher goal; an ernest desire for something above one. Aspirations help us to become more than we are. Expectations are all about satisfying our ego's wants. The ego can never be truly happy. There is never enough for satisfaction. Expectations are our path to unhappiness.
It is in our power to choose. Choose well. Your emotional state is in your hands.