Recently, I’ve been finding myself speaking with others a lot about the concept of expectation vs acceptance. Others have mentioned that they feel somewhat lost if they don’t expect certain things in their lives, and feel unsure with the thought of just letting go and accepting all things that come to them, “good” and “bad.” What I like to point out is that with expectations, we are trying to control the uncontrollable and with it, we also, in turn, shut down powerful forces for positive lessons and change in our lives. With acceptance, it doesn’t mean we don’t have discernment. We still can decide what serves us and what does not, but we accept that the obstacles in our lives are there for a purpose to help us see more clearly and become better equipped for the work we are here to do.
Here is the difference between expectation and acceptance, as I see it. When we expect, we also expect to have control over the who, where, how and why. When we have acceptance, we know that the way our wish will be granted my not look, at all, like we think it might. That we will have “lessons” we may need to learn before we can gain access to the want, so that we know its value and how to utilize it, effectively, in our lives. We accept that we have something that we are striving for, but we are unattached to how we might receive it. We do not have a want to make up for something we have not been given before. Similarly, the want cannot become or reflect our value. We hold our inherent value within us, already. No, instead we desire because this want will help support us in being who and what we were created to be. The point is not in the “having” but in the “wanting,” as it motivates us to take the steps necessary to have that want.
Illuminating Through Story
There are two people who want to move through a forest. One proceeds from south to north in the energy of expectation. He maps and plans out the way he has to go to get to his desired destination. He thinks he cannot veer from his chosen path, because he knows this is the only way that will get him to where he wants to go. This is what his path looks like, this is the way he wants to do it, and this is the only option that he believes will get him there. As he moves through the forest, unexpected things lay in wait. There are fallen trees along his path that he must take precious time to remove, because going around them would take him from his path, and this is not an option. It takes effort and he moves along with frustration every time he encounters something he didn’t expect in his way. He curses even taking this journey to begin with. He should not have come, and he wonders if he will ever get to where he wants to go. When he finally does, he is exhausted and so focused on the many pitfalls that he had to overcome that he cannot even experience the joy of arriving.
The second person enters the forest journey in the energy of acceptance. He, too, knows he wants to travel from south to north, and has a desired destination in mind. This person is open to working with whatever comes his way, knowing that the glory in the journey, itself, is in the learning and the growth. To him, it’s not about the destination, it is about the journey, so he is challenged and stimulated by the obstacles in a completely different way. He knows he has the power to look at what he encounters as an opportunity to learn something about himself and gain a better knowledge and perspective of his gifts so that he can better use them along the way as well as when he arrives at his destination. He sees the journey as a way to learn more about who he is and what value he brings. Without the challenges that he meets in the forest, he knows he can never, truly, feel the pure joy of reaching his destination. When he does arrive, he feels a greater sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the increased clarity and ability to see why he came to this place at all.