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Explore: Letting Go of Expectations

My awareness has been heightened this week after writing about letting go of expectations. Here's how I have been letting go these days …

Letting Go of People

On March 28, 2011, I witnessed my grandpa's last breath. Through his 86 years, Grandpa had enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, skiing and, above all, his family.
I like to think my presence during his last ten days alive helped him let go of this world. For about six weeks following his death, I felt as if a boulder was crushing my heart. One day I noticed the boulder's absence. I still wonder when it might drop on my heart again, but next time I don't think the boulder will stay as long.

Letting Go of Things

With excessive rain late this spring, we are in the midst of repairing water damage in our basement. None of our belongings were ruined, but in cleaning out the space to make repairs, we are purging stuff we’ve had for 15 or 20 years. This week I brought a truckload of stuff to a donation center and gave a few other items to family members. It feels good to unload things we hadn't been using, and it puts me in the mood to simplify further and purge some more.

Letting Go of Perfection

Given my tendency toward perfection, the fact that this blog exists seems a bit miraculous to me. Imposing deadlines on myself and then not questioning myself about these deadlines helps keep me from expecting perfect posts. When the time comes, I hit the 'publish' button and try not to look back.


It’s ALL about Expectations

Whether it's people, things or perfection, it's all about expectations.

Certainly, I didn't expect my grandpa to live forever. I recently turned 40 and know I have been fortunate to have had a long relationship with my grandpa. My expectation over the past several years, though, was that my anticipatory grief through Grandpa's decline would translate into a smaller grief upon his death.
I was wrong. Accepting my big grief—and talking about it with people—helped me begin to let go.

Some of the things I have recently let go of and given away have clearly been tied to expectations. Over the years I had accumulated a sizeable stash of denim scraps. While the idea of sewing a denim quilt—or anything from denim—had never really appealed to me, I just couldn't see throwing all that fabric into the trash. I held onto the expectation that I would find a use for the denim, come hell or high water. Well, when high water came, someone swooped in for a 4-H group quilt project.

Perfectionism has stood in my path most of my life, and I can see that L+E+S offers me one way to drive past it. Recognizing that I create my own high expectations, I'll continue to practice letting go of perfection.


In the process of letting go, as in changing so many habits, awareness is one of the first steps toward change. Looking at what I'm hanging onto, I'm questioning my own expectations and challenging myself to let go. How about you?