Expectations are a nightmare!
Expectations, they can kill us and those we love.
I seem to have had a difficult year this year, and as I approach my 58thbirthday, some reflection is in order.
I have always enjoyed the cut and thrust of busyness, going from one job to another, achieving a good result, pleasing people with my ability to write or present or teach.
But lately I seem to be dragged down by others expectation of me. Not, I might add that it’s their fault at all. Its internal to me. Suddenly I feel weighed down by their expectation of what I can do and my own expectation of what I should or could do.
It’s a deadly mix that screws around with our heads, well certainly mine.
Why is it that something I have always loved seems heavy and complicated and difficult when once I thrilled with the challenge and enjoyed the ride?
Maybe it’s because I suddenly have been taking myself far too seriously!
I am not the saviour of the world, I am not the answer to everyone’s questions on life, the universe or God. I am not going to solve the indigenous situation or the refugee situation or even the homeless crisis on my own. And equally I am not going to change the world by my scientific endeavours!
I am simply a human being, an older one at that, just trying to do the best I can.
I do mediation using the Headspace app, and with the wonderful voice of Andy Puddicombe. In it he guides you to sit quietly, in silence, and prompts you along the way as you develop your skills. Because sitting in silence initially is quite difficult. But at the beginning he suggests that it is very important to know why you are doing the meditation in the first place. Today that question really spoke to me!
A lesson for all of life.
I think knowing why we are doing things is very important. I would like to say I do things because I love doing them, I want to help others, and it makes me a better person. My expectation of what others think, or what they think of me has been less important as to how I see myself. I seem to have lost my way a bit on this.
Yet I realise now that being true to ourselves is a large part of the answer to my own struggles. We are to find our true selves, the things that make us who we are, because if we are only doing things to satisfy others then a part of us is lost. If we do things to receive something in return we are often bound to be disappointed.
My faith in God, in a divine presence in all of creation, is still so strong, stronger now than it has ever been, but it involves so much less about traditional Christianity. But then I think Christianity has also lost its way.
Jesus calls us to love, forgive, and help, with no expectation of a return engagement.
But he also says that we are all children of God, regardless of how much we achieve, or how little. That the divine spark resides in everyone’s heart, and doesn’t disappear if somehow we stuff up.
Remembering that I think helps me, maybe it might help you.
If not, remembering we are all simply human beings, just trying to do the best we can, may .
And finally, have a laugh along the way. Lots of them. I think that helps us all.