Sunday, November 8, 2009


With regards to the question, should I stay or should I go…. human nature is to always want what we do not have. As difficult as it may be and as cliché as it may sound, you need to remember that no life is perfect.

Disappointment is an emotion we feel when we do not get the outcome we want or expect. When reality fails to conform to what we think it 'should be', disappointment (often combined with resentment or frustration) rises up within us, sometimes with an intensity that knocks us down hard. As human beings wired to become attached to certain outcomes, we are destined to experience it right throughout the course of our lives. I am reassured that even the most 'enlightened' among us are not immune to emotions such as disappointment. Rather they have just learnt how not to let those emotions take hold.

As I work through disappointment, I am called to deepen my faith - in the belief that everything is exactly as it should be (even though that is not always how I want it to be), in myself and in my own resourcefulness. It also calls me to listen more closely to my own intuition and to trust that within every disappointment lies the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit. I just have to find it. You just have to find it.

But I have great faith that his character, in his resilience and in his ability to deal with other disappointments that may line his path through life will be strengthened because of it. Just as it serves we ‘grown ups' not to get our way all the time, so too it is good for our children to learn how to pick themselves up after a fall and press on despite a setback.

I think the harshest disappointments are those that occur due to the actions of specific people in our lives. People we expect a lot from, people we trust to act kindly, people we assume will be honest. But expecting those around us to always respond with wisdom, generosity, good judgement, thoughtfulness, or humility is setting ourselves up for disappointment. Just as our ego sometimes gets the better of us, so too others fall prey to theirs. Our disappointment can be eased when we realize that no matter how hard our efforts, how high our expectations or how desperate our hopes, we can never force the world to submit to our idea of how it should be nor force people to behave a certain way.

Likewise, we can never expect life to always unfold a certain way - for our good deeds to be recognized, for our generosity to be returned, for our honesty to be rewarded, or our courage to be recognized.

All you can ever do, in the face of the disappointments that life brings your way is to step forward into each day, into each new challenge (however unexpected, unfair or daunting) with trust in yourself, faith in your future and arms open wide to each and every experience that life brings your way. Life can only ever be lived in the moment. We are missing the boat when we spend our days stuck in regret and resentment about what happened yesterday or in fear and anxiety about what might happen tomorrow.

Right now, in this moment, trust that you are exactly where you need to be and that precious lessons on wisdom, courage, faith and self-trust are waiting on you to be uncovered. And for those who you are disappointed in, know that they have their own lessons to learn and that ultimately, what goes around will come around.

I encourage you to breathe deeply into this moment. Really deeply. Go on, do it. Right to the bottom of your stomach, and as you breathe out, let go your anxiety about the future and any disappointments of the past. Rather just give today the best you have - for all that it is, and for all that it isn't.

Life can only be lived forward. What happened (or didn't happen) yesterday, and what might (or might not!) happen tomorrow pale into significance compared to how you choose to live your life today. Disappointments, setbacks, mistakes, unfulfilled expectations, dashed hopes... they are all part of the rich tapestry that is your life, and my life. Don't wish them away. You would not enjoy all the wonderful things in your life half as much without them.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Hi Kathy just checked post after a while. Are you okay? Wanted to say you look great in the pictures from NY. You have really done well with you diet!!!! Email me if you need an ear. Take care.