Monday, November 13, 2017

Those darn expectations!

Letting go is such an essential theme as we move past age 50. Letting go of outdated ideas of who we are (many of us lacked confidence and self-esteem at a younger age, so it's time for an updated version as we age). Letting go of old belief systems that don't work any longer (or perhaps never did). Sometimes we even need to let go of old relationships that no longer work—say, a friendship in which there's really nothing in common any longer and which seems more of an onerous "to do" than a pleasure. Letting go of old resentments. Even letting go of "stuff" and de-cluttering our homes and lives!

One more essential letting-go piece that I still struggle with is letting go of expectations and letting go of attachment to outcomes. Both expectations and attachment to outcomes always set me up for a fall. I'm far better off going into a situation with an open heart and mind. But, oh, that's tough for me.

Do you have trouble with this, too? In her book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, Dr. Karen M. Wyatt says: "One of the benefits of releasing expectations is the experience of a calm and even mind: equanimity. ... This quality allows you to tolerate stressful situations without getting lost in emotion and projecting yourself into the future or getting trapped in the misery of the past."

Yes! That makes so much sense to me. Now if I can just learn to live that way more often than I live with expectations and attachment to outcomes.

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