When I went to Five Sisters Ranch for an elective 2-week therapy retreat, there was a group session one day and in that session the director was pointing out each of our biggest obstacles. She couldn’t figure me out at first but the she suddenly burst out with this – I have unrealistic expectations. Wow – she pinned me good! I had never considered that before; I just thought that everyone else should love and care as much as I do. Come to find out, I was wrong.
I used to think that people should love me as much as I love them, that they should care as much as I do, that they should treat me with respect as I do them. I used to build up what moments and occasions should be only to be highly disappointed when it didn’t meet my expectations. I recently heard a term for this: anticipointment! I build up so much expectation of what should be, anticipating something great, only to be let down and disappointed.
The truth is though, it wasn’t the moment or the people involved that let me down – I let myself down by having unrealistic expectations. It’s a hard concept to accept but I have to admit that I see it in myself. Maybe it’s part of the perfectionist in me – I expect everything to be perfect. But nothing is perfect. I need to learn to accept what is instead of what it should have been. This has been key in my recent path to start healing.
Acceptance. Could it be that acceptance is one of the most difficult things to do? I think so – hell, I know so. But once you can, as I finally have with many things, the world opens up a little, things look a little brighter, the weight lifts some. You start to enjoy moments for what they are and people for who they are. I am working on this and it feels good. I won’t lie – it’s not easy. I am just trying to be more aware of when I have expectations that are too high or unrealistic and then to take a step back.
Awareness and acceptance – what a powerful duo. 🙂