I once had a friend say to me,
“Jenny…. have no expectations, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
This comment did not sit well with me.
It sounded so dull, so sad, so…. boring!
How can you look forward to things if you don’t have expectations???
Only recently have I come to understand this very sage, very wise advice.
It’s not really expectations that can harm us, but the attachment we have to certain outcomes, and the meaning we make of them, that can lead to disappointment.
Maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but when I want something, or I’m hoping for a certain outcome, I can get pretty specific.
So specific in fact, that there’s very little room for anything BETTER to come my way.
What I mean is, when I decide for myself that I want something, I leave nothing left for the Universe to surprise me with.
My limited expectations leave nothing left to unlimited possibility.
I’ll use this simple example:
Let’s say I’ve painted a beautiful piece of artwork, and I’ve decided I want to sell it. For me, having someone appreciate my artwork enough to want to purchase it is already super exciting, so I timidly ask for $200. In my mind, $200 for a painting is amazing, and beyond what I think someone would be willing to pay.
And then, as the money is being exchanged, they say,
“I like it so much, I’ll give you $1000.”
Hmmm, maybe this isn’t the best example….?
Well… think of your dream job, or your dream home, or your dream relationship, or your dream anything… no matter how fantastic it is in your mind, it’s a limited picture. What if it could be… more?
What if your wildest dreams are beyond what your human mind could fathom??
In this case, not getting what you expected, works out for the better, because you ended up getting MORE than what you wanted.
More importantly, we need to talk about the pain we feel when we don’t get what we want.
Let’s say you have this amazing image/expectation in your mind, and it comes crashing down. You’ve set your expectations high, and you don’t get what you’ve been hoping for.
Likely, you feel disappointed, hurt, unworthy, let down, not good enough, etc.
What if…… NOT getting what you want is the BEST thing that could’ve happened to you?
What if the devastation of not getting what you want has created an opening to something you couldn’t have anticipated, had you gotten what you *thought* was best for you?
This week, I’ve been playing with this concept:
If something looks like a road block, it’s also a redirection.
Definitely something unexpected, and…. possibly, the BEST thing that could’ve ever happened.
Think of the 90 degree turns in your life; the sharp corners where your direction was completely altered.
You were headed on one path, and everything changed.
You lost your job, a relationship ended, you had a health scare, a loved one passed away… all of these are painful experiences, and any one of them would tear you apart.
Over time, you have changed, because your path has changed.
You can be angry, and dwell on the ‘not getting’….
Or you can trade your expectation for appreciation.
Who are the important people in your life that are only there because you didn’t get what you’d originally intended?
What sorts of things are you doing in your life, that only came from your expectations not being met?
What can you appreciate because you didn’t get what you wanted?
That friend I spoke of at the beginning of this story, with the sage advice on how to avoid disappointment…
it was an ex-boyfriend.
Had that relationship worked out, absolutely none of the wonderful things in my present life would have come true.
I’m so thankful that I didn’t get what I thought I wanted.
What are you so thankful you DIDN’T get?