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Releasing Expectations and Judgment

By Jodi Cohen

A woman with long, brown hair and wearing a light blue shirt stands with her head bowed, her eyes closed, and her posture slumped. Multiple hands from off-frame point accusatory fingers at her from the right side of the image.

I was recently challenged to reassess and release some of my long-standing judgements about myself, the world and others, in a way that has drastically improved my mental health.

A relatively small misunderstanding served as the catalyst.

My boyfriend mentioned that his friends were going to be in the same spring break location at the same time and inquired about a popular scenic location that I had not planned to visit.

I immediately heard criticism, assuming he wanted to visit this site and I had somehow messed up in not booking it.

And I was wrong.

That assumption was incorrectly based on my previous experiences with judgement and expectation – I grew up with a parent who was hyper critical and I had grown to expect that others would criticize me despite my best efforts and intentions.

But that is not what he was doing.

Quite the contrary…

His friends had warned him that the site required access through an extremely narrow cave that could be problematic for people who suffer from claustrophobia as I sometimes do.

He was trying to be pro-actively thoughtful and considerate.

But somehow I assumed otherwise – based on previous experiences of judgement and expectations.

The disparity between my assumptions and his kind hearted intention prompted me to revisit my pre-existing judgements and expectations and how those impact my view of the world and my ability to receive love and support.

Relationships are mirrors – they reflect back and allow us to clearly observe the beliefs and attitudes we hold about ourselves and the world.


How Expectations and Judgment Impact Relationships

Expectations are a mental attitude of how things should be that influence your views and perceptions of your life experiences.  Judgments tend to align with and influence your expectations.  Judgments can present as:

  • Judgments of ourselves: “I’m stupid”; “I can’t believe I said that”
  • Judgments of others: “They’re stupid”; “I can’t believe they said that”
  • Judgments of situations or experiences: “This is stupid”; “I can’t believe this is happening”

Life doesn’t always flow according to our pre-existing expectations.  The more attached to your judgements and expectations, the more likely you are to create conflict, tension, miscommunication or disagreement in relationships.  On a personal level, when life turns out differently than you expected – either a person who lets you down, a situation that was disappointing or where you may not have lived up to your own standards – you may experience emotions like stress, irritation, angst, anxiety, disappointment, guilt or shame.

Judgement and expectations limit your potential both individually and in relation to others to show up and behave a certain way.  If things do not unfold as you may expect, you might perceive that someone or something is wrong.

As noted in the book Expectation Hangover, “Someone not living up to your value of “hard work” you may judge as “lazy.” Someone who does not follow your idea of “giving” you may judge as “selfish.” Someone you judge as “inconsiderate” is not acting in a way you see as “kindness.”

When you let go of needing others to live according to your “right” way, you realize how others respond is simply a projection of their reality.

When you make yourself or other people in your life wrong, you may see yourself, your loved ones and situations in your life as objects or problems that need to be fixed.

When you perceive yourself or someone else as wrong, it justifies your need to correct, convince, control, or change other people, which may present as blaming, shaming, diminishing or condemning yourself or others.  These negative emotions can undermine us both individually and in relationships.

They limit what could be possible for us in our lives and the lives of others. When we open up and free ourselves from expectations, a whole new world is unveiled for us to explore.

When you let go of convincing, correcting, controlling, and trying to change others, you release a big illusion in love, ownership. The secret to experiencing deeper love is allowing each other to grow without blame, shame or guilt.


Essential Oils to Release Expectations and Judgment

Essential oils can help you release expectations and let go of judgement and other emotions that keep you stuck and unable to move forward as your best self.  This is because your sense of smell links directly to the limbic lobe of your brain which stores and releases emotional trauma.

Smelling essential oils can help you mobilize and release the negative emotions like anger, fear, shame, guilt or grief so that you can move forward and heal.

I know from personal experience how challenging it can be to release these negative emotions in the midst of trauma and loss.  But I also recognize that even the most painful situation can be a catalyst for positive growth and healing if you allow yourself to learn and grow from the situation.

Essential oils can be a powerful tool to help facilitate that growth and help you let go of emotions that no longer serve you.

My favorite essential oil to help identify and release expectations and judgement is Heart™ which helps amplify feelings of self-love and gratitude, helping to cultivate greater empathy and compassion for yourself and others to support deep authentic connections.

The book Expectation Hangover speaks of the opportunity to acknowledge release expectations offers a “tremendous opportunity to heal issues from our past, change how we are living in the present, and create a future based on who we truly are rather than who we expected to be.”

If you are getting emotionally triggered or feeling stress, anger, resentment when something or someone doesn’t meet your expectations, you can release your mental and emotional suffering by topically applying 2-3 drops of Heart™ blend directly over the heart (left side of chest) or on the back of the neck to calm guilt and uplift the heart and the body and  allow yourself to acknowledge your expectations and judgement then choose to release them and instead embody empathy, compassion and love for yourself and others.

Similarly, Liver Support™ allows you to release expectations, judgement, anger, blame and shame that are often stored on very deep cellular level. Just place the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply, fully inhaling the oil for 3 – 7 breaths, then slowly exhaling while intentionally releasing the expectations, judgement and anger.

It helps you breathe into and work through the emotion.  You will know that the essential oil is working when you stop smelling it.  You can also topically apply 2- 3 drops of Liver Support™ over your liver (right side of the body under the breast) to help work through and release your expectations, judgement and anger.  You can also apply it around the ankles as this is often an area where we hold resistance to moving forward in life and block the ability to receive joy and pleasure.  Start at the back of the ankle and apply under the ankle bone around to the front and back under the other ankle bone, all while allowing yourself to release your anger.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.