Ok, I totally cheated with my X word.
Don't judge me, it was hard to think of something that had to do with "X" that had to do with joy--although, to be honest, playing the Xylophone really is quite joyous...but that's another post.
Let 'em go.
Not ALL expectations, just OTHER people's expectations of you.
Your personal expectations are the birthplace of your dreams.
Hang on to those, because they rock.
I experience the most unhappiness when I'm trying to fulfill the expectations dictated to me by others.
I have two problems with the expectations of other people hoisted upon me:
1. I hate to be bossed around, and...
2. The stuff that people expect of me I usually don't want to do.
A few years ago, I came across a profound book. You can read about that here.
When I finally figured out I could say, "no" to other peoples expectations of me, it was like a huge light turned on in my soul. I found myself with free time to fill with anything of my choosing. I felt like I was shaking off the shackles of a lifetime of guilt. I didn't have to say "yes" all the time. Instead, I gave myself permission to ask myself, when presented with another's expectation, "Is this a hell yes, or a hell no?"
If it's a hell no, I usually say, "I'm sorry, I'm unavailable." And I move on.
No guilt, and no worries, because I'm tending the garden of my integrity and standing guard at the gate of my soul and no one else is going to do that except me. I am responsible for my own happiness.
And if someone comes along with expectations that align with my inner desires, talents and interests? Then it's a hell yes, and I'm all in.
Living with the "hell yes/ hell no" concept takes a lot of the angst out of daily living--and I've gotta say that saying "hell no" to other's expectations of me and "hell yes" to living with authenticity and integrity has given me more freedom and joy than I ever expected.
Living free from expectations brings me joy. What brings you joy today?
"To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves, there lies the great, singular power of self respect." ~Joan Didion