Has life ever thrown you a curve ball? Something happens that you would never have expected. I guess that's the whole point of calling the "unexpected" a curve ball... huh? It may very well be that it is not the curve ball itself that surprises us, but it is the disappointment from our expectations not being fulfilled.
"Go with the Flow" InterruptusI'm very good at reminding others to go with the flow and to live in the now. But, I will just as quickly admit doing so is easier said than done. Everyone at one time or another (and most of us repeatedly throughout our life time) will allow their expectations to interfere with the joy a natural flow offers.
Planned events always have a certain amount of expectation. For example, let's say that you invited fifty people to your backyard barbecue. You had optimistically expected thirty or more people to attend. However, only a handful of guests arrive. You feel disappointed, your expectations of hosting a big gathering are dashed. But, after you recover from your initial disappointment what is your knee-jerk reaction? Do you fret about the people who didn't come or complain about the leftovers that you'll be eating for the next two weeks? Or, would you shrug it off, relax, and enjoy the company of the guests who did come? You could look at this as a grand opportunity to be less concerned with entertaining and appreciate spending some quality time with a few select individuals.
Where Do Our Expectations Come From?In general, our expectations come from our past experiences. Since only a few people attended your last barbecue, the next time you plan a barbecue, your expectation will be different, perhaps figuring on a fewer number of guests. But, unexpectedly, your second barbecue ends up being better attended because it was scheduled on a weekend, more people had the date open on their calendars, and the weather was pleasingly cooperative. This time you run out of food and drink. But, I'm sure someone volunteered to run to the market to remedy that insignificant problem.
What Good Is Having Expectations?I believe it is really helpful to remain optimistic with our expectations. I have had some difficulty convincing a buddy of mine that my philosophy is better than his. He has a different approach in regard to his personal expectations. He tells me "I expect the worst, that way I won't end up disappointed with the outcome." He feels thinking in the negative works best for him. Hmmm, I guess I'd rather feel disappointment from time to time than to become a pessimist (psst.. I know he feels disappointment sometimes, never mind what he says).
Why Not Drop All Expectations?There is another option. Rather than being optimistic or pessimistic in regard to your expectations why not drop all expectations? I've tried, with limited success, to withhold expectations concerning upcoming events or circumstance. Walking into a situation without any expectation would likely be a better approach to take. Good luck with that! Being without expectations or preconceived notions would likely be more difficult than living a life without judgments or opinions. Our dreams, desires, and needs get in the way. We naturally have expectations. We want to be in control of our lives. We want to be offered that perfect job. We want our family to support us. We want to be desirable to our partners. We want to be treated fairly. We want, we want, we want, and we want... of course we do.
Why We Don't Always Get What We WantSometimes there is a greater plan in play. We don't always get what we want, but we always get what is right for us. The curve ball coming our way requires us to duck or dodge, altering our game plan. The rules have changed, our expectations altered once again. We get to see things differently. Sometimes the alternate path offered is a difficult one. Keep your eyes open, there are gems to be found along the challenging and rocky pathways. Remember, your party with fewer guests allowed you to have more intimate conversations, and likely deepened your relationships with those individuals.
Life is good when you let it flow naturally. Expect to get sucked into the river of life without a paddle occasionally, and maybe even get tossed out of the canoe. Learn to swim and go with the flow.
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