What do you expect?

Under the surface.jpg

Consider this question for a moment.  The word expect is inherently one of the future, right?  So by asking you this I am in a way getting you to both think about now and the future.

This is a tricky way to kick off a new year. For it is at this time that we create expectations for ourselves.  Some call these resolutions, others intentions and a few goals.  Whatever happens we start out with an idea of the future based on where we are now.

We then translate our expectations into wants.  These differ from needs. However many of us do not see this difference.  Instead we increase our wants under the guise of being needs. We justify until we have a complex web of reasons underlying our expectations. All this before we actually physically have or experience what we expect. Can you see the weight we are bearing just wanting or needing?


This equation is easiest  understood when we talk about things. Things are tangible, real and often have a monetary value from which we can extract implied value.  In fact there is almost an inverse relationship in a materialistic society to ‘need’ things that are more expensive.  Do you do this? Do you continually ‘need’ to upgrade? Is your car old, your house outdated, your clothes last season or your phone last versions model?

I know I can get caught up in this cycle. Hooked into an advertising campaign, being a product fan or simply inspired by a friends conversation- I can suddenly want something I do not have. Then following the subsequent reality check I will consider why I need it.  A lot of conversation all in the head!

Perhaps you relate.


Ok. Things are easy to understand. But what about your environment? I am talking workplace, home, community. How do you exist in these places? Do you have expectations? Do you have wants masquerading as needs?  What do you expect?

Inherent to our existence in environments is the reality of interacting with others. I also presume we seek to get along with others, though I will accept there is a minority in society that don’t care.  In this more expanded world we then have to weigh up our needs and wants in context of others, the broader good. However what I notice is that many simply unconsciously translate their approach to things into the broader environment as if others don’t matter.

Here’s a test that I actually don’t do well at so I am willing to ask. How many of your neighbours do you know by first name?  How about in your office. What do you know about the people you work with aside from title and job they do?  These are factors in the environment that affect our expectations.  Collectively this affects whether we exist in environments that nurture us or challenge us.

Values, etc...

Now lets take this expectation gap to an even more intangible place. What do you expect in terms of how you live and work, your values, your beliefs and your principles?  Do you change a little? Are your standards different?  Again at this level we bring in a lot more to the equation. Not only do we have people to consider other than ourselves but we have culture, politics, family influences, countries of origin. You name it because basically at this level anything goes.

Yet here’s the rub.  What happens when we mix up our needs and wants in terms of expectation at this level? We confuse ourselves. We confuse others. We also disconnect.  We create worlds of our own interpretation, isolated from reality.

A way

The answer is to see through our expectations. For expectations are formed by judgement.  We compare one thing, place or state of being to another. We evaluate and then deduct that one is worse or better than the other. The imbalance is usually a reflection of our personality.

Yet when we stop and choose consciously to see our world around us without judgement it is a different experience. How do you take away the judgement? Not easy.

My answer

There is one answer for me. Intuition.

First of all intuition tells us when things are not right. We are not perfect so we then know when we are not in line. If we feel out of sorts, emotionally, physically or mentally, these are clues that something is happening beneath the surface of our being. We may attribute this to our personality but effectively it is deeper.

To trust our intuition means to listen to our self at a deeper knowing level. It means ascertaining what is right for us at the core of our being. It also means not having to know why or where our answers come from.  Sourcing our decisions, thinking, and even ways of being from this place means we are guiding ourselves with integrity as we navigate the world of things, places and values. We are authentically who we are and therefore able to interact and be with others this way.

When we act from this place in our world we choose to have things in our life because they bring us joy or work for us. We choose to operate in environments with respect to both ourselves and others. We choose to live according to our values whilst at the same time accepting and understanding that others can be different.

We embrace living life rather than living in expectation of a future want or need.

I invite you to read this again.  This time read it from a place within you that knows. Suspend your judgement. Take away your expectations and simply see what comes up.

Then I would love to hear from you. Really!

Jenn Shallvey