Suffering Under The Weight of Expectation [Haven Digest]

Do you ever feel the weight of people’s (including your own) expectations?

This is often a burden highly sensitive people end up lugging around with them. It can lead to perfectionism, people-pleasing, and struggles with self-worth.

Expectations are often a source of suffering for all involved. They skew how we see and hold the world and can lead us to pour energy and concern into things that don’t matter to us.

Gavel and Weighing Scales - Under the Weight of Expectation

Expectations vs Expectancy

There is a difference between expectation and expectancy. It’s a distinction that can help us shift how we hold many aspects of life.

After watching the latest series of the TV show Black Mirror, I spent some time down the rabbit hole of viewer reviews. Many of them embodied this distinction between expectation and expectancy perfectly. “It’s just not Black Mirror”, they declare boldly.

The negative comments came from viewers unwittingly carrying this contradictory weight of expectation. There is a sense of entitlement to consume what we’ve already devoured. There is a desire for more of the same, yet if that’s what they were given, there would be disappointment that it’s just more of the same.

Expectations lock us into stories about who we ought to be rather than who we are. These stories are reinforced by many things. We might absorb the critical voices that demand we act, speak, and move through the world in certain ways.

These expectations often reflect little more than the other person’s fear-fuelled lack of imagination.

Expectations Are a Story

Expectations burden us with meaning, labels, and identity. The weight of contradiction that sits between resistance to and desire for difference. In this sense, our expectations are defined by comparison with other things and past events. They want to recollect and repeat the content of experiences that belong as memory or facade.

What made you love this band, TV program, forest, person, community etc., in the beginning? It was probably your lack of expectations. It was the spirit of expectancy you carried into the first encounter. Isn’t that why we often consider the music we grew up listening to as “real music”? It was about us and our curiosity more than the content of the things that our liberated spirit attached itself to.

Expectancy moves with open arms. It is allowing the flame of this moment to reveal what sits around it. Expectancy points the light and peers at what is revealed without entitlement or demand.

When we hold this spirit of expectancy, we sit within the experience rather than outside it like a judgemental critic.

Expectations Dictate Experiences

Imagine walking along a path where you once encountered a beautiful sunset.

The weight of expectation compares this moment with that one. “This is where I saw a beautiful sunset. I expect to see another one” you might think. But it’s a cloudy evening, and the sun is concealed behind the shades of grey that fill the sky. “What a disappointing evening that was”, you say as you get home later.

The spirit of expectancy encourages you onto the path. “I wonder what I’ll see this time,” you think. You notice patterns and images in the clouds above. Stopping to observe, there is one that reminds you of something that makes you laugh. You take photos, dream dreams, and watch unrelated dots playfully dance and connect in your soul.

Expectancy anchors to the present with openness to uncertainty and fresh possibility.

Expectation is tethered to the past, demanding to deliver what is no longer possible.

Expectancy is a nerve-tickling buzz. A helium spirit. It is ready to flow through the contours of this landscape without judgement. It is flexible, adaptable, and prepared to make something memorable out of something undesirable.

Are you ready to come out from beneath the weight of expectation? What might be keeping you there at the moment?

Around The Community

General Conversations

What does The Haven mean to you?

Creativity & Play

Do you have any creative intentions for August?

Mind, Body, Soul

Where can you spot more glimmers in your life?

Coming Up

Join us on Monday for our next Live Café session.

Focused time can often feel hard to come by. The Live Cafe Hour is an opportunity to spend 80 minutes “alone together” alongside other members and focus on what matters most.

It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with those important (but non-urgent) activities. Or receive gentle accountability to focus on that thing you’ve been putting off.

Theme Kota | Sunday 1st October 2023 (6pm UK)

As social beings, humans are wired for belonging. But in a judgemental and critical world, it doesn’t always feel safe to be yourself, especially when you don’t seem to see or experience the world in quite the same way as other people.

We will bring our Haven hive mind to these questions:

  • What does belonging mean to you?
  • What tells you it’s safe to “be yourself”?
  • In what ways are you different around people you feel safe with?
  • What characteristics in other people help you feel safe and connected?

Whether you want to get actively involved in the conversation or quietly observe and absorb, you are so welcome to join us.