What to do when expectation falls short.
Picture the scene, you've spent the best part of a year thinking ahead to your long awaited summer holiday. You've been working out, planning what you'll do when you're there, loaded up your Kindle, had all the waxing, pedicures and everything else done and you're just so ready and up for it. You arrive at the hotel and feel like your heart sink. Seriously? Is this it? It's nothing like the photos.
Whether it's holidays, social gatherings, special occasions or work projects, we all have those moments where our expectation falls short and reality feels like a cold, wet fish slapped across your face. You've probably caught yourself in those moments saying something like, "This isn't how it was supposed to be" and felt like everything's spiralling out of control.
We just had one of those moments today, on Father's Day. It was supposed to be a day out at a jazz concert but the weather, the energy and the desire wasn't there for it. No-one seemed to want it but equally no-one could figure out what they did want instead.
The arguments started. Little bickers and squabbles about what to do and where to go. Underneath it was a common desire to do something special but for whatever reason consensus seemed to be driving our bus with resistance sitting right next to it in the front seat.
Layer on the expectation of a perfect day and everything seemed to spiral. Today wasn't supposed to be like this, it was meant to be awesome (think Little House on the Prairie style and in reality it was like an episode of Modern Families).
So how did we meet this?
Well it took us a while to get our house in order.
We resisted it for a while ... I did my old thing of feeling responsible for it all and felt the pang of guilt and shame. The kids moaned and my hubby sulked.
And then, when we were done with all of that we actually shifted it.
How? We got out in nature, blew off some steam and then came home and ate a yummy meal together and watched a movie.
Reflecting over this I could see one thing that caused our angst: expectation.
Try this when expectations fall short?
1. Let go of the expectation. If we can cultivate abundant expectancy without holding onto fixed expectations of how things need to look, we don't set ourselves up for disappointment. We stay flexible to dance in the moment.
2. Remember that happiness lives in moments. When I look back to our day, happiness came when we were tackling and tickling each other on our walk and later, inspired by the movie we watched, we tried to salsa dance to a u-tube video (you can imagine how that turned out!)
3. Let go of the disappointments when they show up and store in your memory the moments that make you smile and lift your heart. The quicker you surrender and let go to what is, the sooner something new comes in to take it's place.