I woke this morning with a sadness in my chest, a sadness for wanting things to be different than they are. “Why can’t it be the way I want?” I ask the universe. Realizing self-pity only goes so far, I tried to look at what the bright side of not getting what I want was. I also realized my mind didn’t want to look at the bright side, it wanted to wallow in self-pity, but what good does that do me?
However, when I change my perspective from not getting what I want to the underlying attachment to what I want, it changes the whole picture. We suffer because we are attached to things being a certain way; maybe it’s people, places, experiences, career, family, relationships, our abilities, the list is endless. And having expectations leads to disappointment: Why can’t he/she be this way? or Why can’t they do this for me without asking? or Why does it have to rain? or Why doesn’t this happen the way I want – life is so unfair!
When we can see our desire for situations or people to be a certain way, we can see the suffering it causes. What if we were to be totally open to people how they are, to situations how they are, to life as it is? So much easier said than done! Disappointment is an arrow to help us see where we can grow. As we feel disappointed, sad, frustrated, or angry about something not happening the way we want, we can ask ourselves some pointed questions:
•What was I expecting? Why?
•Did I communicate clearly what I wanted from this person?
•Why am I attached to it being this way?
•Do I believe having it this way will bring me happiness?
•Am I being kind to myself in this process?
These are important questions to ask, because the answers can help break the cycle of attachment.
Disappointment can show us where we need to communicate more clearly with those around us. If I state what I need or want (expectations) with friends, family, co-workers, or students, often times it’s actually what happens! What I can do is let go of how they will respond to my expectations – it is now up to them to listen and choose what they will do. I have found that by being clear with what I am needing, for the most part, people will respond with integrity and effort.
“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” ~ Eliza Tabor
So what can we do when we feel disappointed? Look inside, ask the above questions, and breathe. Let go into how life is, to how people are, speak your truth if needed (read previous post about this), and be kind to yourself in it. Set your goals, set your expectations, without the attachment that life be a certain way (believing that the outcome will bring you happiness), because happiness ultimately doesn’t come from things or people meeting your expectations, but from seeing and being open to life as it is.
Categories: Conflict & Forgiveness