Expectations are premeditated resentments

by Jill Sockman

I’ve written about this before, I know that I have. Probably more than once. Expectations are premeditated resentments. I don’t recall the woman’s name who first shared that with me, but I clearly remember where I was- it was my very first teacher training, in 1999, in California.- and it was one of my most memorable moments from those weeks immersed in yoga for the first time. I can still see her face and feel the strong resonance of those words with the truth in my soul. That was 16 years ago. I’m apparently a slow learner.

What does it mean? Well, let’s break it down. Expectation is a state of anticipation- of an outcome, of an event happening or not happening, of a reaction, whatever. We walk into a situation or conversation with an idea of how it’s going to go, or what the other person is going to do. We are invested (attached?!) to the outcome. Premeditated resentment would be planning in advance to be annoyed, hurt or otherwise bent out of shape. Why would be plan in advance to be angry or disappointed? Sounds crazy, right? But we do it. I do it.

One of the things I’ve found with this is that I don’t always know that I even HAVE expectations. I have worked pretty hard to get clear of them on a conscious level, but there they are, still brewing, churning, bubbling, murmuring under the surface. Then something doesn’t go quite as I apparently thought it should and the bubble rises up to the surface, breaks, and splatters everywhere. Bah. What a mess.

I don’t imagine that these situations are going to go away, so I will continue with my plight to be less attached, to be more willing to go with the flow, and to trust over and over again that whatever is happening in the moment is part of a bigger picture that I can’t always see. And to remember that planning to be pissed off is a bad plan.

In doing so, I shall proceed with my Expectation Containment Program, to limit my premeditated resentments. And I’ll look with as much patience as I can muster on myself and those around me when things just don’t go the way I thought they should. After all, I’d much rather plan to be delighted with whatever outcome is meant to be.