Keep your eyes forward but work backward.
This is the time of year where everyone looks forward.
A new year and a new decade are upon us. Jumping in with intention and focus is great, but we can’t be fully present in the now if we are carrying past expectations and baggage with us.
Jay Shetty sat down to talk to his audience about expectations in a recent episode of On Purpose with Jay Shetty. In the “6 Things to Stop Expecting from Other People” podcast episode, he explained that our expectations of other people can have a lasting effect on our relationship with that person, our perception of them, and even our own health.
“Expectations are not based on reality,” Jay Shetty said. “They are observations, expected realities, or beliefs of what you think will happen. Expectations of others stop us from acting as our highest selves and reaching our full potential.”
In this podcast, Jay Shetty pinpointed six areas of expectation that hinder true forward movement. Addressing these areas and putting your expectations of others to rest will help set the stage for a solid start in the new year.
Don’t Expect Others to Provide Closure
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
How many have been haunted by that line? Even if the end of the relationship brought relief, it can be hard to find closure and let it go. A relationship that ends without proper closure can really be harmful to emotional health and self-esteem.
Jay Shetty’s best advice is to deal with the wound yourself. Don’t wait for the other person to address it.
“The reason people can’t give you closure is probably because they don’t have clarity themselves,” Jay Shetty said. “Even if they give you a little closure, you will always have another 10 follow-up questions they can’t answer.”
That doesn’t mean you can’t have closure, however. Jay Shetty urged listeners to take care of their own wounds. Waiting around for someone to come back and heal us is futile. If we have a wound, we need to step up and initiate healing ourselves.
When you stop expecting someone else to heal the wound in order to gain closure, you can gain closure yourself. In the end it will be much better.
Sometimes moving on means being honest about what you brought to the relationship and what you need to learn in order to move forward in a healthy manner. Learn from it and grow, but also realize it’s impossible to move forward if you’re continually revisiting the past.
Other times moving on involves stopping the negative thoughts and self talk that comes with feeling we are to blame for how the relationship went.
“You start projecting hurt and pain onto yourself when you don’t find closure,” said Jay Shetty. “Be honest with the situation and yourself, clean the wound, and move on.”
The hidden beauty of choosing to give yourself closure is that you get to write the story. Be kind to yourself, end the chapter well, flip the page, and start fresh.
Don’t Expect Others to Apologize
Have you ever internally fumed at someone only to realize they had no idea they hurt or offended you? Sometimes even if someone DID intend to hurt you, they may have no interest in apologizing.
So much time and effort can be wasted expecting apologies we may never get. Let it go. Not holding out for an apology frees a person up to move forward.
“We should learn to accept apologies we have never received,” Jay Shetty said. “Sometimes we are expecting an apology from them because we haven’t gotten apology from ourselves for getting caught up with them in the first place.”
In addition, be quick to offer yourself an apology. If you want to get to a place where you are ready to form new relationships and start again, forgive the mistakes you have made and embrace the lessons you have learned.
“Whatever you think someone else should give to you, you need to be able to give yourself first,” said Jay Shetty.
Don’t Expect Everyone to Need an Explanation for Everything
“Take it like a man.”
While strength is commendable, having feelings and expressing yourself isn’t a sign of weakness. Not expecting explanations from others frees up space for you to explain how you feel about something – no strings attached.
It takes work to develop the vocabulary to explain your thoughts or feelings to others. Stretching those muscles develops confidence, and true strength comes in sitting with emotions and being honest about them. There’s no need to suppress or explain them away.
Don’t Expect Everyone Else to Understand You
Have you ever shared your dreams or passions with someone and they just didn’t get it? It is powerful to connect with people over shared dreams and interests. It can be hurtful when our excitement is not reciprocated.
Jay Shetty believes good communication is the key in situations like this. People don’t read between the lines, so it is not fair to expect them to be as excited as you are if you haven’t told them you’re looking for their enthusiasm.
“Express it well,” Jay Shetty encouraged. “Be clear. Have you explained it to them or just expected them to see things and understand? Take some time out and present the case before them.”
If you have been clear, you have done your part. There are people who will appreciate what you have shared and connect with it. Others are not in the same place, and that’s okay. Know that you have done what you can, and move on.
Don’t Expect Validation from Others
Have you ever worn something just because someone told you it looked good, even if it made you feel self-conscious? Sometimes an affirmation is the nudge we need to be confident. Often, however, we end up uncomfortable because we sought external validation over our own comfort.
“The need for external validation drives us to make some of the stupidest decisions ever,” Jay Shetty says.
Think about it. What did you wear in high school that you wouldn’t be caught dead in now? Do you shake your head when you reflect on how you spent money on it because it was the cool thing to buy at the time?
“Validation based on other people’s expectation sets us up for failure,” cautioned Jay Shetty.
We crash and burn when trying to fit in or find validation from someone else. In the end, they often don’t even acknowledge us.
“When you are looking to be validated by others, you are living according to their values, not yours,” commented Shetty.
Don’t Expect Others to Believe in You
Truly confident people believe in themselves, not what other people believe or say about them. It is not arrogance, it is assuredness.
Don’t waste your time waiting for others to believe in you. Jay Shetty knows the pain of this all too well. In the past, Shetty waited for other people to spot him, appreciate him, and build him up. In the end, it hurt his self-esteem even more because it didn’t happen.
Don’t put the responsibility for your self-esteem on someone else.
Start believing in yourself now, even if you have to start small. Make a promise and stick to it. Trust your gut. Speak well about yourself.
“People will believe in you when you believe in yourself,” said Jay Shetty.
There is freedom that comes from getting out from under the expectations of other people. Taking the pressure off allows us to really live.
Jay Shetty encouraged his listeners to look to Stephen Hawking for inspiration. The brilliant man who gave the world so much was given a zero percent chance to live past the age of 21.
Instead of being paralyzed by the weight of that realization, however, he met the situation head on. No expectations meant total freedom. Hawking used that freedom to have a profound impact on the world today.
Shetty challenged listeners to imagine what the new year could look like for out from under the expectations of others in these six categories and urged them to simply start.
Start small. Start intentionally. Remember, progress is the goal, not perfection.
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on the “6 Things to Stop Expecting from Other People” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.