There is an ancient saying that “expectation is the vehicle for disappointment.”
Dr. Jerry has a movie tradition during the holiday season. There are several movies that are on his must watch list, one of those movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
The main character in this movie has in his mind the epitome of the perfect Christmas, but literally nothing goes as planned or as he has “day dreamed” about. (The image to the left is in the scene where their Christmas meal turns into a disaster)
It’s true that the surest way to lose the feeling of inner peace and contentment is the have our expectations go unmet. We all go through life with a set of assumptions and expectations about how our day or our life should go. I don’t know about you but despite my best intentions to make my day go like I planned it to go in the morning, it NEVER does. There are always things that pull me off track.
One of my friends, Stephen Palmer recently wrote, “The only way to create total freedom is to relinquish our attachment to any expectations entirely. Completely give up any preconceived notions of the way life is supposed to be. Utterly surrender to the reality of what is in any given moment.”
When things don’t go our way and we become frustrated we are not aware of the possibility that there is a higher purpose that can be found from the actual outcome than what we had planned. In effect, we shut the door on opportunity and possibility.
One of the biggest areas that this shows up for people is when they give a gift, share an opportunity or extend themselves to help another person. Have you ever shared something of value to you and you didn’t get the expected acknowledgement? Often we have a hidden agenda when we give – the feeling of appreciation and praise from others. When that expectation isn’t realized we harbor anger and resentment.
Overcoming this natural tendency is one of the toughest things we have to master in life but it holds a valuable key to our inner peace and happiness.
This week, I’m going to practice being grateful for what shows up in my life, I’m going to be more mindful of the possibilities that exist in the situations that don’t go as I planned and I’m going to give the best of myself without expectation of a return. I invite all of you to join me on this experiment this week.