England expects

Nelson famously signalled to his fleet on the eve of Trafalgar “England expects that every man will do his duty”. He was hailed as a doughty British hero for this, but most of us get into rather more trouble where our expectations are concerned. We have a world view that cons us into ‘believing’ that everyone is like us (or at least they should be!) We are for some reason constantly caught off-guard when this turns out not to be true, despite our many years of contrary experience.

Even when we have no conscious expectations they are still there beneath the surface, waiting to trip us up. Now I am not unrealistic enough to suggest that we are capable of totally disarming this mechanism but if we could move, even a little way, from expecting to accepting, the world would be a better place and we would be a lot happier.

One of the greatest gifts we can give another human being is our acceptance. We all worry about the burden of others’ expectations and judge ourselves when we believe we have fallen short. It is a blessed relief to know that we are enough, just as we are.

Expectations are also a major cause of stress in our lives. For some reason we expect that yesterday’s dirty, late overcrowded train will today will be on-time, clean and have a seat for us! Once we start dealing with the ‘real’ person in front of us, or the ‘true’ situation in which we find ourselves, we start to be more successful and a good deal more content. Of course, once we have started to offer this to others, we can begin to give ourselves a slice of the same cake….

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” Karen Casey

” Our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” Jean Anouth

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