Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week's message will bring you helpful perspective. This week we consider:
Our expectations meeting reality.
Our expectations meeting reality.
It is said that we suffer for our attachments. Have you ever considered how much you may be attached to your desired outcomes? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but human emotions arise when expectations are misaligned with reality. If reality arrives at a level higher than expectations, we are blessed with positive emotions; if reality arrives lower than our expectations, we experience negative emotions. Notice the common denominator: expectations.
Now, based on our design, it's almost impossible not to have expectations, but there are techniques available to help make reality and expectations meet; the obvious being to just lower expectations, which can be very counterproductive, especially when we lower what we expect from ourselves. For a more productive experience, consider this technique:
"Align your expectations with reality"
What do I mean? Well, if it's natural to have expectations, consider realigning your expectations to match reality when reality arrives. Let's say you are expecting someone to arrive at 4:00pm, but they don't arrive till 4:30pm, notice that it's only the misalignment of expectation with reality that is causing distress. This is where we might remind ourselves of the classic: "it is what it is."
This doesn't mean we don't set boundaries or have expectations, but no matter how reasonable the expectation, we are still fully responsible for our behavior when life doesn't give us what we expect.
To align your expectation to reality, using the example I just shared, would be to change your expectation from your friend arriving at 4:00 pm to the reality of their arrival at 4:30 pm.
Another example of this is to live AMOR FATI: a love of fate; not just aligning expectation to match reality and being okay with it, but actually loving what is.
We all have developed foundational philosophies of right and wrong, what we deem fair and unfair. We operate and function under some sense of control that if we behave correctly, life will reward us in the manner we most desire. And while that is true in many ways, such as: saved money making it possible to buy a home, or exercising and eating well resulting in better health and fitness, there are also the very unexpected outcomes that can come along and be so challenging and difficult it's impossible to make sense of why.
In these moments, where we cannot understand why something is happening to us, a sense of fairness seems thrown out the window, and all we are left with is "why me." Many have tried to answer why bad things happen to good people, but in the end, it is what it is, and it can be brutal, scary, and leave us with maybe nothing but breath in our lungs.
What are we to do during those times?
Consider narrowing your Universe and address only that which is in the current moment. In the days following the passing of my mother, one morning, my sister heard my mother in her mind say, "just get up and take a shower." The advice she had given her in previous dark days. There is power in focusing and taking action in the only place you have any power: Now!
Why live and conduct your life in a way that is invalidated every time you don't get the outcome you desire? This approach can be very defeating as life rarely gives us exactly what we want. Over-attachment to outcome leads to a life less optimally lived in the present, which results, many times, in a 'gray' future.
How about the life that is lived and conducted in a manner that is enjoyable and rewarding no matter the outcome?! Setting big goals and working toward big outcomes is maybe best achieved through more attention to the process and less dependency on the outcome.
Set your goals, set your objectives, give your life a point on which to focus and work hard. As Abe Lincoln was known to say, No man ever got lost on a straight road. If reality arrives, misaligned with your expectation, notice, learn, and then align your expectation with reality. Consider living the attitude of life happening for you rather than to you. Notice how the adversity is developing new skill-sets and improving your ability to respond to life - making you more response-able.
Consider embracing all-the-more the current experience, fueling a positive attitude, rather than imposing an expectation on reality that does not align - and no doubt you'll more positively influence the future while living a more enjoyable life today.
I hope this week's message finds you and yours safe, sound, learning, growing, and optimistic.
Make it a great week!