When you let go of expectations, you are letting go of judgment, and forming a non-judgmental way of being in the world.
For some of you, that might not sound that great — why not judge something as wrong if it’s wrong? Why not judge things as bad if they’re bad? Why not judge the actions of others if they’re harming you or behaving badly?
But those things are only “bad” insofar as they are not aligned with our expectations of how people should behave and how the world is. You need an ideal to judge something, and that ideal is not real, but a made up fantasy.
Instead, what if we just observe, and acknowledge, and accept things as they are … while trying to understand instead of judging? We would then be more understanding, more willing to solve the underlying problem rather than being angry at the symptoms, less frustrated and more compassionate.
That’s not to say that problems can’t be rectified, but I’ve found that solving problems is done better when you’re not angry or frustrated, but start from a place of understanding and compassion. People are more likely to cooperate if you accept them as they are and trust that you are working for the common good, not attacking them for some fault of theirs.
Being non-judgmental is not only good for solving problems, but for your own happiness. When you’re not in judgment of others or the world around your or yourself … you’re more at peace. You see things as they are, are curious about how things are, seek to understand, stay in the moment more.
This way of being helps with all your relationships, I’ve found. People are happy when you accept them and refrain from judging, when you like them for who they really are, not who you’d like them to be. That means that being non-judgmental also helps with business and your career, because relationships are the key to everything.
That said, just like expectations, judgments inevitably arise. That’s OK. Just notice them. Just see them as temporary conditions, like urges and itches and expectations and anger. These things arise, and they stay for a few moments, and eventually float away. It’s only when we get deeply attached and engaged in these temporary clouds that they cause us problems — if we just watch them arise and float away, we are more at peace.
So a non-judgmental way to be in the world:
- Notice your expectations of the world, of others, of yourself.
- Let the expectations go. Toss them gently away. Let them float away.
- See things as they are, without expectations or judgment.
- Be in the moment with them (other people, your surroundings and circumstances, yourself), complete in that moment.
- If problems arise, don’t get entrenched in judgment, but seek to understand, seek to ease suffering, seek compassion.
- If judgments arise, notice them, acknowledge them, see that they’re temporary conditions, let them float away.
How can we learn this non-judgmental way of being? Practice, of course.