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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Aware Expectations

I was just a kid, excited about going on a trip. Because the logistics of going on a trip were beyond me and depended on many factors about which I knew nothing, the anticipated fun event didn't happen. Or course, I was crestfallen. 

Fortunately, I had very wise parents who took my childish disappointment very seriously. They apologized for giving me the idea that this exciting thing was going to happen. But they also made me realize that I had built up the expectation on my own, with very little encouragement from them. They hadn't committed the family was going to go on this trip, they had stated they were going to explore making a decision about it after they researched the details. The trip was going to happen eventually, but not when and how I had expected it.

They attributed me building up my expectations to how much I like to make up stories; making me see that I had created my own disappointment because I had a talent and a passion for storytelling. They helped me to realize that I couldn't blame them for being the cause of my distasteful disappointment. If fact, I came to understand that because I liked to make up stories and explanations for many things, that I couldn't blame anyone else for that talent in me. The nature of talent is that it is irresistible. Paradoxically enough - talent can be
 almost an obsessive curse.

But still, here I was, causing my own emotions, feeling bad and how was I going to deal with it? Surely this expectation that I'd built so carefully into a blissful state of excitement wasn't a negative thing?

Even if an adult promised me who had the ability to make these things happen, was it really in my best interests to expect it and possibly make myself feel bad if it didn't happen? I realized that, so many events and factors were out of my own knowledge and influence, things could go wrong for grownups too that were unexpected. It was possible for disappointment to happen to me at any time because of what I had packed with meaning by doing this expecting.

My family offered me a much more interesting question about expectations: How was I going to use my irresistible ability to tell stories to make me feel good instead of bad?