Thursday, December 20, 2007

Great expectations

This week has been an emotional week for me. It could be that I'm PMing, although I suspect that just magnifies things. I think the real culprit here is expectations. I've been on a spiritual path for over 15 years now, and while I have grown and changed significantly throughout that time, one thing that has not changed is the high expectations I have for myself, and as a result for others. If anything, it has just gotten worse. Instead of focusing on how far I've come, on how much more love and joy and peace I have in my life, I often focus on the old patterns that still come up for me, on how my buttons are still pushable, on the ways in which I am still flawed.

I had an experience this week where someone pushed my buttons and I ended up bawling my eyes out. I knew that the situation had nothing to do with me really, that they were just looking for someone to lash out at and I was there, but it still hurt like the dickens and brought up all sorts of self-worth (and self-doubt) issues. The good news is that instead of sinking into a depression over it, like I might have done in the past, I worked myself out of it, turned it around and got myself back into a happy, peaceful place. I'm patting myself on the back for it now mostly because all I could think about yesterday was how I'd let my buttons get pushed in the first place. Today I am choosing to give myself a break, to recognize how the way I responded still changed an old pattern and how much better my day ended up because of it. Kudos to me.

The other thing I'm recognizing today as I consider that situation is how it was the expectations I'd set for the other person that ended up making me feel so blue. Instead of just letting them be them, I had hoped for, wished for, prayed for something different. When the same ol', same ol' came up instead, I let myself be hurt by it. There are other people in my life that when they make the same mistakes over and over again, all I can do is laugh (in a "what can you do?" kind of way). Partially because if you don't laugh, you cry. And partially because I recognize that this is part of who they are, and until they recognize for themselves that the pattern isn't working, it isn't going to change.

So now my challenge to myself (and to anyone else who cares to join me) is to find a way to apply that perception shift across the board. Our loved ones have their flaws, but we love them anyway. Let's not set expectations for them that they cannot meet. Instead, let's try to see their true spirit through those flaws, and love them for that. And love ourselves in the process too. Namaste.

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