Monday, May 25, 2015

Unmet Expectations

"Blessed is he who expects nothing, 
for he shall never be disappointed."
Alexander Pope

We set our goals and expectations high, out of reach, only to be let down on occasion: we grow to be disappointed, allowing bitterness to embalm our souls.  

I have been told recently that disappointment can lead to depression; by expecting too much we can only ever be disappointed and this over time, through repeated disappointments, can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and sadness. Disappointment forces us to face reality. 

It is, I feel,  difficult not to have any expectations at all; we expect of others the same humanity we extend to them - time, love, compassion, generosity, sympathy and tolerance. To expect nothing would remove us from the very essence of what it is to be human - it would be a very lonely place, devoid of interaction, denuded of soul, bereft of hopes and dreams
Over time my expectations of what life has to offer have changed.  Despite these low expectations I am still, from time to time, as I perceive, disappointed, alone, isolated, overwhelmed and struggling.  I am impotent and afraid, believing that I deserve better, but forever falling short of this goal.

It is often those we hold closest to our hearts that disappoint the most, unable to give as much as we desire and need because time and energy are depleted: life is, after all, busy, constant and unforgiving.  It saddens me to think that people don't have more room in their lives but I don’t know how to change it. 

"Reach out," 
I hear my soul say, but it’s not that easy.  
"Speak up." 
But my voice is quiet.  
"Speak quietly 
and gently 
and often…" 

Someone will hear your call, your plight will be answered; expectations will still go unmet, no matter how low they are, but at least they don't go unrealised.

How we deal with disappointment determines how we live, how we prevent false beliefs from taking hold, how we stop the fall into a dark abyss. If we are lucky, disappointment allows us to look at ourselves and others, resolving what is important to us and what isn't; growing to value all that we have. This soul searching and reflection allows us to grow further, gaining wisdom and insight, finding "compensation in every disappointment", returning once more to a place of gratitude.

But in that moment, when an expectation goes unmet, it's OK to feel that disappointment.

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