The Premeditation Game
I love word games. How many words can you make from the letters found in the word “EXPECTATIONS”? I’ll get you started with a few: pectin, cape, exact, noise. Here is one I bet you didn’t guess, “RESENTMENT”. Is the saying true that, “expectations are premeditated resentment”? I hadn’t heard this phrase before today so I decided it was time for a little research and then what I love to do best, tell you a story.
ME: First of all, I have to admit I am a bit confused about something. Isn’t it normal to have expectations?
The blond: “It’s a given—you are born with expectations. If I expect to be disappointed, I am usually disappointed. I like to go into a situation knowing what I am going to get out of it. Not that I am a control freak or anything.”
ME: Well, this is depressing. Where is the spontaneity or the fun? Negative thoughts lead to negative actions; a self-fulfilling prophecy. I either consciously or subconsciously influence you (and myself) to behave in a way that confirms my prediction. Another human tendency—-wanting to be right!
The blonder: “What? “
ME: OK, I will let go of my negative expectations but why can’t I hold on to the positive expectations? I will influence you in a positive way, right?
Yoga girl: “It’s complicated. You can’t control another person (as much as I have tried this is true) but it has been proven that if teachers make a student feel competent, they will perform better. Focus on what you can contribute rather than what you will receive. Encourage the behavior you want to see and let go of the outcome.
ME: Let go of what? This is a whole other subject but I am starting to see that holding any expectation is a set up. OK, I will not hold on to any negative or positive expectations. Is this what enlightened grownups are supposed to do?
Salvation Army man: “Why not just be thankful, pretty lady?”
ME: Now we’re getting somewhere. Rather than setting expectations, I need to find my gratitude. Everything I need is here and now. (Oh geez, I sound like a Hallmark card!) Can I really replace expectations with gratitude?
New Mom: “I am not sure but I did put a cute sign on my front door that says, “Leave your shoes and bad attitude outside.”
ME: I believe I have confirmed that holding expectations lead to a multitude of negative feelings including resentment. Rather than wishing for a behavior or outcome, I will simply enjoy the moment. I’ll find something to appreciate rather than judge. I’ll ease into the present moment, taking what I like and leaving the...
Dancing with my Demon
What a &#$^%#$&* week this has been — lesson after lesson reinforcing that I have to accept what is out of my control. I hate it. I hate the way I feel.
Sadly, I am watching someone close to me self-destruct. Despite multiple opportunities, much love and attention, this person is on a wild trajectory. While I know his journey has nothing to do with me, there are days when I would gladly trade places just to give him a sense of peace and direction; some stillness in his crazy world.
Turning the focus inward, my biggest personal demon is the need for control.
Believing I am in control reduces the chances of being stupid or disappointed, right?
DUH, sadly it is just a big fat set up!!! Control has many downsides. Overly preparing for every scenario precludes spontaneity and natural learning not to mention FUN and deep feeling. My control and probably yours too, is driven by fear. I fear looking stupid. I fear feeling disappointed. I fear getting hurt. I fear being lied to. I FEAR.
Dancing with my Demon
One of my strategies for fighting the need for be in control is mitigated by taking dancing lessons which require partnering. With dance, the body retains form but the soul must relax enough to feel the music. The more I tune into my partner, the better I dance. Listening, feeling and then trusting my partner to lead the dance is intoxicatingly seductive. A good carrot at the end of the stick!
Another thing I fear is Alzheimer’s disease. Losing my memory and the ability to care for myself frightens me more than any other disease. A really amazing opportunity fell into my lap which I couldn’t help but appreciate it’s larger cosmic significance. A local volunteer group called to see if I was willing to work with early stage Alzheimer’s patients. For an hour a week, I will read aloud and facilitate a discussion group. People struggling to stay present, to remember their name and simple details of their life will be MY teachers, demonstrating not only the importance of living in the moment but the ability to receive help.
Control fools you into believing that you can shape the reactions and actions of others.
NOT! Control is an “ultimate distraction” because it keeps me from looking at my own behavior. Fear makes you think you know better; you know more! Jach Pursel of Lazarus.com writes, “In the consensus reality, there are those who live control. They have no idea (and don’t care to know) of its devastation. They don’t care to know the damage that it can do, the successes it can sabotage, the hopes it can dash, the dreams it can destroy. They don’t want to have anything to do with looking at how it fuels and fosters so much of the denial and the resistance they have. They don’t want to...