My _____________ will be so disappointed
(fill in the blank–family/friends/boss, etc.)
I have been.
The pain of disappointing those we care about is devastating and it can keep us chained in life, unable to move forward.
My heart was racing, pounding in my chest. I gasped for air with every breath I took.
I’m going to pass out! I thought. This is crazy, Steve. You’re a grown man, not a kid. Pull it together.
It didn’t matter. I felt like a little kid. I felt cornered and trapped by the fear of my own identity.
I had begun to face my sexuality and I had finally said the words.
I was terrified of what others (parents, siblings, church friends) would say or think about me. I was so afraid of rejection.
If you are paralyzed by fear–trapped in a prison of pain caused by the disappointment of others–there is hope!
You will free yourself, as I did, when you recognize the following truth.
You are not responsible to fulfill another person’s expectations.
“It’s My Life”
I love the lyrics to this song by Bon Jovi.
Recognizing that your life is your life, is the key to releasing yourself from the “Prison of Pain” created by disappointing the expectations of others. You must take your life back.
And here’s how to do it!
1. You Can Never Fully Fulfill Someone Else’s Expectations
You can never fully fulfill the expectations of others. The truth is that they can’t even fulfill their own expectations!
Think about this in relationship to your own experience. Think about the times that you have missed the mark of your own expectations. It is impossible to fulfill someone else’s expectations 100% of the time!
Each of us is inconsistent and hypocritical occasionally. And if you think you’re not, ask your spouse or partner (or best friend)!
2. Someone Else’s Disappointment Rises from Their Own Unmet Expectations
Your expectations are in your own head. Everyone else is the same.
Unmet expectations lead to disappointment, which leads to pain.
Therefore, freeing yourself from the Pain Prison of disappointment requires freeing yourself from the burden of unmet expectations.
To truly free yourself, you must release the burden of unmet expectations.
Now is the time to apply the knowledge you have gained.
Your homework for this week is to ask the question:
What expectations are creating pain for me?
Are you willing to release the expectation that you always have to get it right?
Will you let go of the expectation that you have to succeed (in a certain way)?
Will you free yourself of the expectation that a “good” son/daughter does ____________________?
What is the big expectation that you’re willing to let go of in order to craft a well-lived life?
If you can’t share publicly, then write it down somewhere. Journal it…and begin to free yourself from the prison of pain.
If you’re comfortable sharing, post it in the comments here so they can help others. Then let it go and begin to walk forward in freedom.
Check out this week’s related podcast.
Photo Credit: VectorPortal