During the holidays, I saw a shift in myself. My relationship with my family started to seem so much easier. Krishan and I became even more easy going with each other. I think Lila (our 7 month old daughter) was having her magical effect on us.
But also, I noticed that I had begun to embody something very profound which made a difference in my love life. I began to release my judgments on myself and others, even though I was triggered by some of my friends and loved ones.
The relationship killer to look out for
This past summer, my father gave me the most important relationship lesson. He said, “Sarika, release your expectations from people. Your life will become easier – you’ll see!”
Expectations ruin relationships.
It makes people feel heavy and judged.
It creates a sense of boredom, and lack of desire, and makes feeling fulfilled from life impossible.
Men eventually run away from women who are perpetually unhappy and have too many expectations.
And women’s libidos go away, when there is an expectation about how sex is supposed to go, and what’s expected from them.
Moreover, it’s impossible to celebrate the small joys of life and smell the roses in your path, and the beauty of the people in your lives (however different they are from you), if you’re so focused on the outcome or how people should behave with you.
Instead, try to simply love and accept people for who they are (yes, even if they trigger you).
This is hard, because we live in a ‘not enough’ world, and it’s easy to write people off.
The first place to start is within yourself.
“When I get married, I’ll finally be happy.” “When I have 2 kids, I’ll be happy.” “When I get promoted, or get treated fairly at work, I’ll be happy.”
Notice within yourself if you have any of these statements: “When ___, I’ll be happy.”
Journal about this. See how many rules and expectations you have for yourself, or how life is supposed to go.
Notice how your happiness is dependent on some outside factor. It may feel inauthentic, or based on other peoples’ expectations of you. See if your sense of self worth is tied to how much validation you receive from others.
Practice loving, and accepting yourself – and your life – even if it feels like you haven’t achieved what you thought you would.
How to let go of expectations from others
Now, this doesn’t mean that you accept hurtful behavior from others (including your significant other).
It simply means – let go of false/inauthentic expectations and stories you create about people – and simply let people be themselves.
For instance, if you want your partner to lose weight, talk about how you value health, and you focus on being healthier – and then learn to accept your partner for where they are in their journey of health. Try not to criticize them, or make them feel judged by you.
This is HARD. This is where the inner work comes in – and this is how we begin to sabotage our relationships. By putting up silent walls and expectations, and making our partner feel judged.
Also, if your parent has been the same since you’ve known them – stop expecting them to change. “When my mom/dad stops being so annoying, I’ll be able to finally love her.” is what I hear from so many people.
What if you could accept your parent for who they are, no matter how much it triggers you?
I remember a loved one crying on the phone when I told her, “I accept you for who you are… you don’t need to change a thing for me to love you.” It took a long time, and deep inner work, for me to finally be there. But I meant it.
And funny enough – all the weight she had been carrying on her, began to lift. She released some of her expectations on me – and our dynamic changed. She began to feel lighter and happier, because I had finally accepted her, and stopped judging/criticizing her, even for just that one moment. Now, trust me, this is a life-long journey – one that I keep working on with all my loved ones.
If you need to, work with a professional on where you have heaviness, anger and resentment in your heart. Sometimes this pain can keep us stuck in a rut, and makes it hard for us to accept ourselves and others – and celebrate the small joys. This type of healing has been the most profound and lasting impact for my clients.
Also, begin to practice meditation and mindfulness, and notice how your hard-wired tendencies of judging others begins to slowly fade away.
Pray for others to be happy, rather than worrying about them, or expecting them to make better decisions.
You will notice that your life will blossom, and more love and grace will flow your way.
This is the space where magic happens.