let it be?

“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations.”   – Elliott Larson

If you want to experience this first-hand, visit our local WalMart.  They’re undergoing major renovations.  This is a good thing.  Many shoppers are having trouble finding things because many things aren’t where they’re supposed to be.  This is not a good thing.

We humans tend to like things they way we suppose them to be.  We prefer our expectations be met (at the very least).  And when our expectations aren’t met – well, we often get mad.
Expectations can be a lot like gravity.   They can bring us down with a huge crash.
This week I had an experience that challenged my expectations.   At first I was angry.  Then I was just disappointed.  Now I’m over it.
I always hate it when my expectations aren’t met.   Lately though, I’m finding it easier to deal with.   At least I don’t spend as much time and energy caught up in the gig.
Here’s how that happened.    It’s another ‘young teacher story’.   It happened at Camp Waccamaw a couple of years ago.   I was tying my best to corral the kids when one of my (then five-year-old) great nieces smiled at me and said, “Aunt Lisa, you have entirely unrealistic expectations of us.”
After I stopped laughing, I told her what I was hoping to accomplish.  That was all it took.   Hope.
So now when I catch myself riding running head first into the frustration that comes from my own unmet expectations, I wonder how I’d feel differently if it was an unmet hope instead.
The biggest difference between and unmet hope and an unmet expectation is the anger thing.   Don’t get me wrong – I’m OK with anger.  I’m just not OK with it when it’s the result of something I made up.
Unmet hopes still leave me disappointed.   I just don’t have to waste my precious energy working through unfruitful anger.
I hope and then I let it be.
That’s just me.
How about you?  How do you deal with unmet expectations?

5 thoughts on “let it be?

  1. I fling myself around, stamp my feet, and howl about injustice. Then I come out of my room and act very cool

  2. Well, I read years ago that anger is unresolved grief. Too heavy for me to really understand. Still working on that one. But I really do believe that we never actually get angry with someone else, we only get angry at ourselves, then project that onto someone else. DAMN, I hate to admit that. It’s so much easier to believe it’s always somebody else’s fault. Makes life so much easier. But I think it’s probably true. Not many things more difficult than being responsible for our own stuff…good or bad.

  3. Carol, i’ve sure been there, too – ha!

    Tom, plenty of mega-insights for one post. thanks!

  4. I had to think about this for a while, because I couldn’t remember having any big expectations unmet recently. Then I realized why—-I think I have stopped having BIG expectations! Maybe it’s the age thing (being on the downhill side of middle-age), or maybe all my study of Buddhism & my efforts to live in the moment, are coming to fruition. I think I am less disappointed over specific events or people, because I seem to no longer build up the expectations. Maybe it’s an unconscious self-defense tactic, but I can’t seem to muster up enough energy to passionately anticipate anything. It seems easier to just flow along, delighting in wonderful moments, and just letting the other stuff go. If I occasionally do get angry about something I’ve expected, it always helps to talk to a sympathetic ear— to get some feedback on whether my anger is justified (then, feeling like I have an “ally”, I can let it go); or to be offered another view of the situation, which can really help me to let it go. (Even if it leaves me feeling a little sheepish—“Oh, I never thought it that way….Hmmm”).

  5. Mary Louise, sound like you’re living Noble Truths more than from self- defense to me. i’m just sayin’… 🙂 THANKS for sharing your wisdom.

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