Letting go of our expectations in relationships

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By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

I had organized a beautiful conference with world-class speakers and I was really looking forward to meeting the participants and having them listen to these inspiring talks.

A few weeks before the event, I noticed that I was getting frustrated that some of my close friends had not purchased a ticket and had not responded to my request to share the event in their network to help sell tickets.

I was thinking to myself, why is it that some of my closest friends do not support my work. They say they do, but when the rubber hits the road and it is time to physically demonstrate their support, they remain silent. I grew more and more frustrated and as the event happened and some of these close friends did not attend the event, the frustration turned into sadness.

As I did a long walk on Mount Royal yesterday with my wise friend Johann, we had a heart-opening conversation and I realized that I need to replace expectations for appreciation in my relationships.

I had an epiphany that our expectations in our relationships are rooted in our attachment that people will do what we expect of them and that this can only lead to disappointment.

It also kills the possibility for generosity and gratitude as the best the people from whom we have expectations can hope for is that they meet our expectation. This leaves no room for them to express their generosity and for us to express gratitude.

Imagine the difference when you do something for a friend because she expects it or because she has no expectation and you choose to do it out of the generosity of your heart.  I certainly feel a big difference in energy between these two situations.

At one of my events, I had asked one of the speakers to share the event in his community. We were one month away from the event and this is a critical time as we always sell a lot of tickets in this period. To my surprise, he refused. He said that he did not want to share this event with his community as he was already sharing his event. I was frustrated and sad and felt rejected. I meditated on this all day and at 7 pm that day I let go of my expectations towards this person and magically, he shared the event on social media at 8 pm. The shift that happened was in the energy.

In my work, as I have developed a large network, I often get solicited to share other people events. Some people come to me without having developed a relationship and some after taking the time for us to know each other. I do share other people events sometimes, but very rarely as I do not want to inundate my community and I only do it from people I fully resonate with and whose work is aligned with mine. In all cases, I feel it is my choice to share or not and I don't have to justify my choice to anyone.

I have realized that I also need to respect this with my friends too. That I need to accept that they also have a choice in sharing or attending my events and most importantly that I need to let go of my expectations to embrace appreciation.