As we learn to allow love to influence our lives thoroughly an interesting thing happens. Journey back to a time when you first fell in love with someone. Most of us have been there at one time (or still are). When we think back to those days of ‘puppy love’ as it has been called over the years, remember the feelings that season produced. It was a time of innocence and fun. If something didn’t go your way, it was okay. We lived in a way of learning. When a person is primed to learn, nothing seems hard.

Learning To Love

Love is no different. The key to loving yourself thoroughly and completely is to never lose the desire to learn. This is where we become stagnant. This is where challenge happens. This is where when something comes at us, we actually embrace the hardship because we are telling ourselves we are learning, and its ok. The essence of this learning and staying inside a learning mindset…and this is directly related to our personal or professional relationships, and either at home, work or play.

Two emotions carry or rally us throughout life… hope and expectations. Maintaining a growth mindset means that our hope antenna should be the one we are relying on. Expectations are important and they have a place in our world, however, expectations can set us up for failure. Whereas hope creates an optimism in life, expectations often create false optimism (not pessimism…) that can present itself as hope, but truly is rooted in expectation.

Understanding that hope is an external guide and expectations are internal guides, we can frame them into what it looks like to love yourself better, which results in loving others better, showing up better, and becoming more authentic.

Hope Is External    

Hope is the essence of believing that something good will happen. Remember our journey into first love is about learning. Hope is about learning. When we are learning, we hope our date is ready on time, however if they are not, we dismiss it. Why? Because of the hope of what the evening has in store for us… wonderful food, amazing conversation, looking intently into another’s eyes. The list can go on an on, yet hope is a positive emotion that sends our energy into the world with great anticipation of what it returns to us, and whether good or bad, we care not, only that we are in a place to receive hope.

Expectations are Internal

Conversely, expectations creep into our mindsets. Some expectations are ok, however even good expectations can easily turn sour. This is because expectations are a result of something internal to us – a desire to get what we want. Hope delivers a laissez-faire acceptance of situations, but expectation delivers a firmly planted ‘this is how it is going to be’ and if or when our expectations are not met… help anyone in the way. Let’s journey back into that first love. It’s not six months, six years, sixteen years later and it’s time for a date. Your partner is running late. Anyone in this situation knows that the first thought is not ‘oh this is going to be a great evening’ but more of a ‘come on, YOU are making us late.’

Expectations are milestones that we place onto others so that if something goes wrong, we can blame them, and if it goes right, we can take the credit. A harsh reality to read, yet if we are honest with ourselves, those areas that we hate about ourselves are really unmet expectations rather than hope.

Harmonizing The Two

Expectations are important to have. They are what drive success and goals, however balancing what we expect to happen in life – home, work, or play – with a hope reduces the fallout of unmet expectations. Understanding and believing in the realities of hope and expectations will create a buffer. This buffer helps us learn to love ourselves better and therefore we can reciprocate that love externally and be the hope for others which results in better relationships, satisfied clients, and a more harmonized world.