Maybe it would have been easier…

One thing I’ve learned over the past year, over and over, is that expectations lead to disappointment.  That is a statement worth listening to and embracing.

Expectations lead to disappointment.

I don’t say it to be negative.  I state it to remind myself to be realistic.  I am a ‘glass half full’ person.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the glass is close to overflowing most of the time.  Usually, that is a good way to think about things, except when things end up so much differently.  You know, it is easy to build up in your mind how something will go and to watch it turn out nothing like you have planned.  Don’t you ask yourself in these moments of disappointment “Why did you do this to yourself again?”   (OK–I am realizing as I write that there are lots of people who plan for the worst, and they would say that they are wiser than I because if things don’t turn out as they envisioned, there will only be pleasant surprise.  I don’t buy it, but I’ll let you go there if you must)

I am not going to expound at this point on what expectations have led to this post.  Perhaps things will play out better than I could have envisioned.  But for today, I am having to re-evaluate my expectations.  I am asking myself “Why” did I expect things to follow a particular path.  And I want to point out to myself, as much as anyone, what a better way to proceed would be, would have been.

  1. There is a situation
  2. The situation has several possible outcomes
  3. The only questions that should really come next are “Do I have a choice in how things go from this point?  Can I realistically affect the outcome?”
    No?  Then I have only to relinquish my thoughts of control and keep living life. (Life DOES still need to be lived!)
    Yes?  Then I must choose what will be the best result for each person involved and keep living life.
  4.  When the answer is yes I have a choice, it isn’t necessarily an easy next step.  It takes time to think things through properly.
As I write these things, I realize that in this particular instance, I had a choice at one point, and I acted in the way I thought appropriate.  At this point, it is no longer under my control.  My next step should be to relinquish any thoughts that I have even partial control and just keep living my life.
This is where people with feelings and emotions (ALL of us) get hung up…we forget to think and respond, and instead we feel and react.

T H I N K  +  R E S P O N D = PEACE

F E E L + R E A C T = DESPAIR

The peaceful approach might not mean I like it, but it is less emotion-filled than the despair approach.  I’ll work on keeping all I can in that glass!

2 Responses

  1. Krista Anderson
    Krista Anderson September 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm | | Reply

    Ms. Steen–excellent advice! I sometimes feel like I think too much about the ideal outcome of a situation, and forget to respond or even act! I get so caught up in the possibilities and the what-ifs, I forget to ground myself in the reality of the situation, which then, in turn, causes me to feel and react rashly when I realize all I’ve done is think about it. It’s all about balancing out the thinking, feeling, and responding…rarely an easy task for us idealists. 😉

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