Think about your most recent disappointment. What about it devastated you the most? Was it the fact that you didn’t get what you expected? Was it enough, was it too much? How many times have you expected something and the end result left much to be desired?
Often times we miss the true root of our unhappiness. We think we are unhappy because we didn’t reach a goal. We fail to realize that our unhappiness isn’t because our plan fell through, but it’s because we refuse to let go of our attachment to that plan. Our disappointment begins to color and influence everything we do. Our perspective shifts to a place of lack rather than a place of abundance. We engage in an internal war with ourselves which festers bitterness and resentment. Those emotions do nothing for our well-being and growth. We often sell ourselves on an idea before it happens. We get stressed, angry, and depressed because it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We blame others for why we weren’t able to achieve what we knew was rightfully ours. We create unhealthy attachments to things that were never meant for us in the first place. Instead of dealing with it, we focus on the “should haves”, “could haves”, “would haves” in our lives.
Our unhappiness isn’t because our plan failed, it’s because we refuse to let go of our attachment to that plan.
This past week’s Restored Challenge was all about letting go of expectations. I wanted to imagine how different my week would be when I refused to get upset over a plan gone wrong. It made me think of my first attempt to purchase a home. I made a poor decision and trusted a contractor whose mishandling of my situation left me with no house, and no savings. To this day, it has been the largest disappointment in my life. By the time my deal fell through, I had already bought furniture, and told everyone about my plans to move. It left me reeling.
I had to learn to trust God through the experience, and not trust the outcome. If I hadn’t attached myself to THAT house, on THAT street, it would have been much easier to walk away. I didn’t want to accept what was happening because I felt entitled. There was no way I should have to suffer for my mistake. But, what makes me any different than anyone else? What is different about me that makes me immune from bad things happening? Who’s to say that the events leading up to my bad deal weren’t for a higher purpose? Yes, it is an extremely hard pill to swallow. I really did not want to let it go. But in order to do just that, I had to detach myself from that house, and the money that I lost. I had to trust that whether I had $0 or $10,000 in my account, if it was meant to be, then I would have my own home.
Please don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with believing in something and having faith that it will come to pass. Yet, I see faith and expectation as slightly different.
Faith is believing that something will come true, even when there is no evidence, or there is evidence that may suggest otherwise. Having faith means you have to trust the process. Because you don’t have assurances of how, when and where something will come, you’re left to believe and have confidence no matter what comes your way. It’s sometimes hard to envision what’s coming next, so you make yourself vulnerable and open to the idea that whatever is coming, will be for your good.
For me, expectation requires forming a thought, a vision, or an illusion of what you know will be. When you expect something, you begin to anticipate how it will feel and how it will look. Living in expectation means you’re halfway to your destination, even if just in thought. The problem happens when we’ve already formed an idea of what will be but it doesn’t happen. If it doesn’t line up with our vision, we are disappointed.
Letting go of expectations doesn’t mean you let go of your dreams and goals.Letting go of expectations doesn’t mean you let go of your dreams and goals. It’s good to have an idea of where you want to go. But often when we set a goal, we already have a picture in our minds of how that goal will look. How many of us would be willing to look past that image and accept whatever comes? What if it’s a Hyundai instead of a Honda? What if it’s a job with lower pay? Would you be willing to accept the differences? Things are not going to always come in the form you expect. Are you mature enough to look past that and accept what comes your way? Doing so, may make the difference between a happy life and a miserable life.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Anthony DeMello about happiness:
“To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness can't be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can we acquire what we already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add anything to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy; life is delightful. It is only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.”-Anthony DeMello
- August 03, 2015
- Tiffany A