I know this will shock you.
Sometimes people disappoint me.
I know, I know, obvious. But if it’s so obvious, why is it so hard to deal with?
One of my biggest Achilles heels is an abundance of high expectations. Not just with myself, but with those around me. And sometimes, when others don’t meet my expectations, I’m crushed. I was depending on them being there for me in a specific way, or responding according to the script I had in my head. I was counting on them wanting to be as close to me as I’d hoped. I’d assumed they would be really supportive of me in any number of ways.
And over and over, my hopes are dashed.
I am tired of letting these little parts of life derail me.
The other week, a few people let me down. Not in big ways, but small ways that simply added up. It was a hard week anyway, and I felt afraid. I felt unloved. I got a knot in my stomach thinking about it. Being let down in small ways felt like a big fat rejection.
In my head, I knew that most likely, being let down had very little to do with me. I knew that odds were I probably had overblown expectations. And that what felt like a rejection probably wasn’t.
But it sure didn’t feel that way.
So I took the gap between my head knowledge and where my heart was, and I tried to lay down a prayer to find a way over the empty space.
I prayed for the people who had let me down. They have their own struggles and hardships and stresses. I lifted those up.
Then I said, out loud, “I release you.”
I released them from needing to please me. I released myself from needing to please them. I released both of us from my script of the way our relationship would work. I released them to take care of the things in their life that (rightly!) took precedence over my needs. I released myself from caring so much what they thought of me. I even released myself from needing to care if, in fact, they were rejecting me.
Because even the worst-case scenario, a rejection, isn’t the end of the world.
Later, I found myself fretting over their opinions of me, over why and how exactly they’d let me down. And again, I said, “I release you.” I closed the door on those thoughts. I keep closing it, over and over, because right now, it’s the sanest thing I can do.
It has helped. (Also helping: more hormonal balance, some blue skies, and the rigorous prayers of those around me). I feel empowered and freed.
I am working on not caring so much what others think of me. This, so far, seems like one of the more open-hearted tools I’ve found.
But I’m open to suggestions. How do you let go of your expectations of others? What works for you?