Disappointment is Hope's Best Friend
Last blog post I shared about the emotional struggle I experienced because I was treated differently than I believed I should be.
Many people replied on my FB page that they were sorry I went through that and thanks for sharing. One person surprised me and said she wanted me to go "deeper". So here we are.
Full disclosure, although this blog is hosted on my business page, it's personal. Writing is how I process my life--many of these articles don't have neat tie ups on how to avoid or fix the difficult things in life (at least difficult as I perceive them). I simply try to write honestly and disclose as much as I can as I grow and learn. I am not an enlightened being--I wrestle with many of the things my clients do.
What I want to address today is disappointment--especially how it plays out in human relations.
Years and years ago, my primary love relationship had come to an end. I felt a little shell shocked but I thought I had a solution--if I never expected ANYTHING from a relationship, I would avoid feeling the horrible way I felt then. A good friend was sitting next to me, her arm around my shoulders, listening to my brilliant and logical solution. With great kindness in her voice, this is what she said.
"You should expect everything."
That was confusing. Because that's what I did and there I was. I expected everything and I got what I got--which was a heart rending, confusing breakup.
Still, after many years of turning it over in my head, I believe my friend was right--that expectation is part of connecting...we expect (hope) something will go a certain way. It's just that you can be disappointed--the greater the hope and expectation, the bigger and more searing the disappointment.
So, what to do with the disappointment? Disappointment is a kind of death--the death of whatever you hoped was true.
Because of that (and because we aren't robots), there is going to be some grieving. Grieving over the attachment to what "could have been".
Wouldn't it be nice if we could tie this off right here and say "from now on I will only make purely rational decisions from a place of total detachment".
Please let me know how that works for you. I get excited by new ice cream flavors so I'm not quite there yet.
I think there is a middle ground to work from--somewhere between optimism and pure reason.
This is what I've learned to do. I have expectations, but I also pay attention to my senses--the things I observe and experience outside my head (some people call this reality).
When the story of what I believe should be falls on it's face, I have to ask myself what signs did I receive along the way that I ignored or discounted. What choice did I make in ignoring this information? Could my expectations have dialed back a little instead of flying apart all at once? Could I have set myself up for peace and acceptance instead of engaging in a cycle of rage and resentment?
Easier said than done, right? Let's all make a solemn pact right now to not berate each other for blindly following expectation when confronted on multiple fronts by reality. Let's also make another pact that when we see real world evidence, that we will courageously look at it instead of shunting it off into a corner because it doesn't fit what we "hope" is true (inconvenient truths anyone?).
My desire is to close the gap between expectation and reality in shorter and shorter increments. I'm not ready to give up on expectations--I'll just take them with a chaser of reality and love the good in what I find.
I don't know if that's deeper or not. I DO know I will be disappointed in the future. I will also fail to be rational and cool about it. What I hope is that I will close the gap on my suffering and not "live" in a state of disappointment. In this way I open space to not only see the truth I didn't hope for, but for the unexpected blessing of the moment.
Sometimes reality exceeds expectations.