Friday, April 6, 2012

The art of expecting less

When I was younger, I couldn't wait to grow up.  In time, I learned with age came increased responsibility, escalating bills and varied drama, but the best part of it was the wisdom I acquired along the way.  That certainly goes without saying; our life episodes are meant to build our character profile and determine future decisions we will make.  I'll be the first to admit, I was an idiot during my early 20s.  What I thought I knew, I didn't and it would still take me another ten years thereafter to comprehend what was real, valid or full of shit.  These days, I take advantage of speaking with those with wisdom beyond my years.  The simplest sentence they utter can easily solve a multitude of crazy in my world.

In light of surprise disappointments I faced in 2011, I knew that when 2012 arrived, I needed to make a major change in my outlook.  I took the years of experience I had accumulated thus far, reviewed their outcomes and came up with the best advice I had ever given myself.  And today, I would like to share it with my readers...

Expect Less.

That's it:  two words and I promise you they will change your life.

Now as 2012 began and I tackled the simple resolution, I learned very quickly that there is a science to this game.  I call it a game because like everything else in life, it involves instructions, rules and the players in your life.  You can basically apply it to everyone you come in contact with, but as rules exist, so do challenges.  In the case of committed relationships, let's be honest, we all create a predetermined list of requirements for the "perfect" partner.  Whatever the case, the first step in expecting less is this:  

Erase Your Chalkboard.

Don't make lists.  Don't carry any expectations whatsoever because every relationship, every situation, every degree of intimacy has its own story.  Just let go and let it happen.  Trust in what feels right and once your heart starts to doubt anything then you know which way to turn.  The truth is quite simple and obvious and you just have to go with it.

The workplace is another good example because chances are, we will spend most of our waking hours with our co-workers.  You can't chose your work colleagues as you would a significant other or a friend, just as you can't chose your family - so there's a lot of similarities there.  Sibling conflicts exist regardless, as will disagreements among those you work with because by nature - you won't always see eye to eye.  You may get irritated because one person doesn't pull his/her weight as much as others do, or because someone talks behind your back.  It's gonna happen, but if you expect less from them - those incidents will mean nothing and it'll go over your head.  Then the goal they aim to reach in making your life miserable (let's hope that's not the case but for the sake of argument) will never be achieved and in the end - you may end up earning their respect which most likely was unplanned.  In conclusion, the outcome will hopefully result in solid teamwork and a possible friendship.  Each example is its own.

Ironically enough, I gave my children a similar code of advice when I taught them the term:  One Way.  This translates to:  worry only about yourself and where you're going.  Do not concern yourself with others and what they are doing wrong or right - just focus on you.  You're the only one responsible for your actions and most likely that someone else isn't thinking about what's best for you.  Little did I know when I coined this term a couple of years back, it would become sound advice for me.  Yes of course, I instill the virtue of kindness and compassion in my children, but I am more or less referring to situations that do not concern them.  I believe that teaching them to avoid drama at an early age will secure their self-confidence and maintain feelings of peace and happiness throughout their lives.

Let's face it, life is stressful enough and I'm STILL growing up.  It's been a little over three months of following this motto and I have to say that my load feels much lighter and feelings of disappointment rarely enter my mind.  I feel more relaxed and have more time to focus on what I expect of me.  And the thought of using my energy selfishly doesn't sound wrong at all.  In fact, it sounds justifiably right.

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