8. Unmet Expectations

Lost in the woods with the sun shining through

IF YOU WERE LOST deep in the woods, after what was supposed to be a well-planned excursion that included fun, adventure, and a safe return home, you would find yourself alert to the very real danger ahead.

At first, you might try to backtrack, but upon noticing that you were only walking in circles, rinsing and repeating the same steps, what would you do?

Imagine yourself alone and lost.

Imagine yourself tired, hungry, thirsty, and afraid. Imagine yourself taking an inventory of your circumstances. How did you get here? [biblegateway passage="Ecclesiastes 7:29"]

Will you blame God for making you a free-spirited person who likes fun and adventure? Will you blame him for not keeping you safe at all times? [biblegateway passage="Proverbs 19:3"]

Will you blame your mom, dad, or other caregivers for not better teaching you how to prepare for your future?

Will you blame society for not making directional signs for your every step?

Will you blame your friends who told you how much fun they had while taking similar journeys?

Will you blame yourself for being so careless and irresponsible?

For we are each responsible for our own conduct.—Galatians 6:5

To be sure, there is plenty of blame to go around, but in the end, you are still lost. You may want to lie down and die; feeling helpless and hopeless, but in your heart, you know this is not how you want to go, nor are you ready to go.

This trip was not supposed to be your last and you still have things on your calendar to do. Your life shouldn’t be over.

If only you could have a “do-over”.

If only you could see the people you love or at least have conversations with them.

The experience of being lost is frightening, but one does not have to be physically lost to feel lost. You can feel lost at the moment of any upset or unmet expectation.

Inside you and me is the desire for utopia. We want everything to be perfect. We measure people, places, things, and circumstances against a faulty expectation that somehow, everything should be, or could be, perfect.

What we fail to see is that “perfect” is not always measured by a universal standard of what you or I deem to be “without flaw or failure”. For example, if someone you love dearly is trapped in the rinse and repeat downward spiral of an insidious addiction, you might think it “perfect” that he or she is stuck in jail where you think it safer than the lifestyle the addiction brought. Your loved one might see things differently. In other words, “perfect” is a relative term.

“Perfect”, at the core, is the state of being when you enjoy a full measure of love, respect, significance, and security.

When some measure is taken away, either in reality or in your perception of reality, the natural response is to get it back. Until we learn new coping skills, our first thought would be to nurture the negative feelings associated with our loss.

Those thoughts, tied to our unmet expectations, yield resentments. Resentments that you control.

While you have no control over what happened—what has happened occurred in reality, or your perception of reality—you do have control over your thoughts about what happened.

If you will be honest with yourself as you capture your very real thoughts and feelings on paper, exactly as the words appear in your heart and mind, you will be doing the necessary work to learn new coping skills.

Otherwise, you will do what you have always done and whether you believe me or not, you will give your personal power over to your negative thoughts and feelings.

You do not have to live your life with your thoughts and feelings leading your next step. You can learn how to not let negative energy get the best part of who you are. Read More...

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