I have higher expectations of myself now, later in my life and in a positive way, I expect nothing from others. For the first time in my life, I can see the direction I was intended to follow, and my purpose. I really don’t know for sure how this finally sank in after all these years, but this change, for me, is for the better. And perhaps there is something helpful in this idea for you. In case you’ve been feeling anxiety over things that are not under your control despite believing you might change things yet feeling let down, it’s important that you finally realize you really haven’t changed this one thing in you!
We all have family and friends who do things differently than we do, things that might even seem wrong to us. We secretly wish them to do things the way we expect, as if we’re more compassionate, considerate, loving, and kind, or even more intelligent, and that we know better than they do. Most of the time, this belief that we are right is our biggest setback in life, regardless of our circumstances or intellect. It is our ego’s expectations of others that are keeping us from being our highest selves by focusing our thoughts, feelings, and emotions on what others should be doing instead of what we could be doing better at any given time. Some things are not supposed to be under our control — they’re supposed to be left in God’s hands. But before we can accept this, we must be ready to trust these higher expectations of ourselves. When we do that, then everything will change for the better and lead us forward.
I used to think that if I were only more compassionate, mindful, or more like Jesus, I’d be on the right path and things would change for the better for everyone in my life. Yes, things will change for the better, but only when our highest expectations are coming from ourselves. But if we continue to look over our shoulders at others with even the slightest sigh of disappointment, we are setting ourselves up for more disappointment. It also keeps us living in a harsh world filled with conflict and anxiety and prevents us from shining in the world.
How many spiritual teachers does God put in front of us before we see that nothing is under our control but our graceful response? We must know that everything belongs to God — our children — our spouses — our family — our friends — our houses — and you and me. All we have to do is read the scriptures and learn how Job went through crisis after crisis before he came to understand this. Many of us are still stuck in the same place as Job once was, despite our sophistication. We waste our precious time and energy every time we point to a person, a country, or a nation that we believe isn’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Yet we credit ourselves with knowing right from wrong. Do we believe only in ourselves and not God, who can do all things for us?
Let us all take a deeper look at those expectations we put on others and instead take responsibility to right those wrongs through understanding and compassion. Our higher selves are sure to feel what’s pleasing to God. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have all the answers. What I do know is that the more we expect from others, the more weight we’re putting on our own shoulders and it’s weighing all of us down. Those things that are out of our control are supposed to be given over to God, not given to other people to manage. If you do this, I promise you’ll feel lifted up and filled with a calm sense of well-being. Wherever we right wrongs through grace, it’s our responsibility to do this for ourselves and others. Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” I think about this quote differently now, and wonder what my changes will bring to those around me.
I admit I had it all wrong before. I’m finding myself refreshed and relieved from any expectations, but this change as being true to myself. I realized it was my heart deviating from love, causing anxiety, each time I expected some person or thing outside to change. My heart rests more peaceful and calm by instead making room for grace and forgiveness for the people and things that I love alongside this change for the better in me.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine’s artist father’s works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, the works of Marianne Williamson, and through conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress.
She is an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The mother of two children, and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the author of Imprinted Wisdom and a contributor to Anne Born’s These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology.
Originally published at medium.com