The Expectation of Expectations
In our society expectations are, well, expected. It seems normal to expect something in return when we do something for someone or give something to someone. Of course, we have been trained to think this way. The truth is, this concept of giving with expectation is far from normal to us. But, in the world of expectations, when we hold the door open for someone in a public place, we expect them to say thank you, or at least to acknowledge our kind gesture in some way. When they don’t, kindness turns to cursing. How ungrateful! What a jerk! Or worse.
In the expectation version of the world, we know that freebies aren’t really free. We have even coined the phrase, If something is too good to be true, then it probably is. We have come to believe that if someone “gives” us something, there must be a catch, meaning they want something back. This means giving always comes at a cost and nothing is truly free. When we subscribe to this point of view, we are never truly free either.
The problem is expectations often become killers of friendships, family relationships, and once happy couples. But we can change this. If we uncover the foundation of expectations to see what really drives them, we can correct this imbalance and return to our natural state of being—giving freely without expectations.
Giving Love to Get Love
Each day, many of us hope we will get back what we give out. This is because we are trained to believe we are not good enough—which means we believe we are less than we are, as if there is something missing in us. This is a lie. There is nothing wrong with any of us. However, anyone who believes in this lie clearly cannot afford to be “more less”.
In this deficit-driven version of ourselves, giving anything away without getting something in return is considered a loss. Loss is unacceptable to this trained persona. This is the main reason we defend our material possessions (they are called possessions for a reason). Mine, mine, mine! is the mantra of this self—which is not our real selves, by the way. Our real selves are driven by the heart, not by lack (which creates fear).
Nowhere can we see this madness in action more than with love. When we approach love from a place of deficit, our motivations are distorted and misguided. If I believe I am not good enough, I need to find someone who can make me feel good enough. This is also about pain relief for us since it is painful not to experience love for ourselves. Experiencing love within is our natural state. It’s also painful to believe something about ourselves that is not true and believing we are not good enough means we are believing something that is not true. This line of thinking turns love into a commodity where it becomes nothing more than a service you can provide to me. It sounds like this when you put it into words, I need you to love me because I don’t love myself or I don’t feel good about myself so I need you to make me feel better. It’s as if we’re trying to fill the hole inside with anything we can get our hands on from the outside believing this will make us better. It never does.
Now, here’s where giving love to get love can become super ugly. Under the deficit program, we often give of ourselves, to our detriment, in the form of time, money, or effort hoping to get love in return. For instance, we may see the films our partner wants to see, rather than the films we truly want to see. Or perhaps we pick up after them over and over, grumbling along the way building resentment, but we put up with it because we are afraid the relationship will end if we don’t. We do many things for someone else as a form of insurance to make certain they will love us. Problem is, it doesn’t always work out for us. Sometimes the love isn’t returned, or it isn’t returned in the same way, or the right way. Sometimes, the love that was provided yesterday is not good enough today.
In this world of commodity love—where I give something to get something back—you might hear a partner say something like, I gave you a trip to your favorite place, why don’t you love me? Or you might hear, I have done everything for you and you still don’t love me! These aren’t examples of love—these are expectations—and expectations aren’t love, they are lack, as in you believe you are lacking and expect someone else to make you feel better about yourself. Let me be honest with you—that is never going to happen. No one can do for you what you need to do for yourself. It may seem like it works, but it doesn’t. Any mirage of love that comes from commodity-making is temporary at best.
Here’s the thing: the correction for the belief that we are not good enough doesn’t come from anything outside of us. We couldn’t get enough stuff or have enough people love us to believe we are good enough. The correction must come from the inside. We must correct the lie we have been taught about ourselves. To correct it is to no longer believe in it. We can do this through awareness that the lie exists, to know in our hearts that it is a lie and to reconnect to the true love in our hearts. Giving without expectations is a great way to do that.
The World of Pure Love
The world of pure love is natural and normal for us. It is who we are and how we are when we don’t believe that we are not good enough. Pure love knows nothing of expectation because this love has no fear attached to it. We aren’t afraid to be less than because we know in our hearts that we are more than enough—we are the amazing, unlimited creators of our experience. Who needs someone to love them to feel better about themselves who knows they are already good enough? No one.
Another major difference between the world of pure love and the world of commodity love is that with commodity love, there is a tension underneath the love. Commodity love is fragile since you can be fully of love one moment and completely empty of it the next. Love is a roller coaster ride under this regime. But pure love—love without expectation—creates an expansion and an experience of love all in one. First, when we love someone without expectation, we expand love automatically. Nothing is needed in return so love is free—it doesn’t cost anyone anything. When love is free, it’s free-flowing. In this situation, we are also free.
In the realm of pure love, when we give love we get love—not because someone gives it back to us, but because by giving love to others freely, we also experience love freely. Here, it doesn’t matter if someone gives it back. There are no expectations. The very act of expressing love outwardly automatically means you experience it within. The same happens with anger and resentment. We experience what we express. But with love, healing happens when we express it rather than sickness since love is our natural state.
Giving anything without expectation is freedom. Its freedom from stressful outbursts, disappointment, resentment, regret, guilt, judgment, and anger. Imagine you just loved your partner. Period. No pre-conceived ideas of what love should look like. Your mind probably wants to defend all the reasons why we have to have expectations, but this is part of the poor, incorrect training we received. Don’t follow this line of thinking. It isn’t based on pure love. Instead, break free from what you have been taught about love and expectations—let go and allow yourself to experience the peace and the freedom of giving everything without expectation, especially love.