Thursday, May 29, 2014

No Expectations


I was driving on Latta one day, early in our life in North Carolina.  I was listening to talk radio as I often did in the days before my kids got old enough to notice what was being talked about.  The psychologist said, and I have remembered forever,

Expectations are the death of serenity.

I had NO idea what she meant.  How could you live without expectations, I wondered???

In the intervening years I’ve thought about this and thought about it and thought about it.  Sometime in the last 10 years I finally began to see the truth of the matter—that expectations kept me from being able to appreciate what was, and set me up to experience frustration because of things I had no control over.

One time I was involved in an activity with a group of women, some of whom I knew well and some of whom I didn’t know very well.  One of the women that I didn’t know well wasn’t able to stay for all of our activity.  Because I really didn’t know her I wasn’t that invested in her participation and felt neutral about her leaving.  I watched one of the women I did know be very upset with this other woman, just because she had the expectation that she would be able to participate fully.  It was interesting to me to observe that the same situation (one woman’s lack of full participation) really bugged someone else and yet didn’t bother me at all—all because of our expectations.

There are several situations in my life that teach me this principle on a regular basis.  In one situation I am usually able to function without expectations.  As long as I do, the relationships involved are fine and I am happy.  As soon as I let even the smallest expectation creep in, I’m almost blindsided by my irritation and frustration.  In another relationship I’ve had a much harder time letting go of long standing expectations, and this situation is usually a stressful one for me.  In the moments where I do manage to let go of my expectations I am able to enjoy the relationship without all of the negative feelings.

These days I’m trying to move forward without expectations, and I’m praying to be able to let go of the expectations I already have.  Because heaven knows, I could use some serenity.

No comments:

Post a Comment