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How to Keep Going When You Want To Give Up on Life

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/_wa0ykaHZvo/

TRIGGER WARNING: This post references suicidal thoughts and may be triggering to some people.

Since my first post on Tiny Buddha entitled “Why I Didn’t Kill Myself and Why You Shouldn’t Either,” I’ve been doing amazingly well. I thought I had this suicide stuff in the bag. I thought it lived in the past. I thought it was no longer a part of me.

I thought I had found my way forward and that I would never feel that way again. I thought my suicidal ideation was a historical part of my existence.

I was wrong.

Tonight, I sat in the bath watching the water trickle down from the faucet and all I could think was how easy it would be to watch the blood trickle down my arms into the water instead.

I thought of how easy it would be to drift away into nothingness. I thought of how easy it would be to not have to get up every morning to face another day of emptiness. I thought of the peace I would have if I were no longer afraid all the time and how wonderful it would be to be free from the prison of my mind.

Sometimes, I long for this.

Sometimes, I long for death.

I do not long for death itself, being cold and distant and immovable.

But, I sometimes long for something other than what I am. I long for a feeling of safety and security. I long to feel loved and cherished, not used and abused.

I long to feel anything that is something more than the nothing I feel right now.

What Do You Want?

I know what you want. I want it too. You want someone to love you, someone to care, someone to tell you everything will be okay.

You want someone to tell you that even if you aren’t perfect, you’re enough just as you are.

You want your parents to put your needs ahead of their own, because that’s what loving parents do. You want those adults who abused you to think twice before they steal your innocence and your ability to feel.

What you want is for the past to never have existed, and what you want is impossible.

I know what you want.

You want someone to care, and it seems as if there is no amount of caring that will fill the empty hole in your heart, and no matter how hard you try to fill it up yourself it only goes halfway and then starts slipping back to empty.

Every day is a struggle to survive. Every day you wake up and wonder, “How much longer can I go on?”

The emptiness that fills your heart and your soul begins to take over your rationality.

At some point the things that kept you going have become meaningless. The life you have lived for so many years was just a struggle to survive.

Today you are at a point where nothing means anything. You aren’t even in pain. You feel nothing. You want to give up. You want to no longer exist. You want to stop being.

The endless negative thoughts swirl around in your brain compelling you to end everything. The hope for the future subsides to a dulling ache keeping you going every day.

You stare at the television knowing you are wasting your life, but are incapable to get off the couch and get outside.

Yet, you keep going. Why is this?

Why You Shouldn’t Give Up

I don’t know why I don’t give up sometimes. Most days I want to give up. But, the human spirit is powerful. The desire to live is a strongly held need that keeps you in this world.

There is only one reason I don’t give up.

There is only one reason I don’t spend all my money, write out my will, and deliberately plan my death.

There is only one belief that sits in the back of my mind that keeps me going day after day.

What is that belief you ask?

Hope.

There is always something that I hope for. I hope for change. I hope for strength. I hope for love. I hope for caring. I hope that things won’t always be as they have been.

Hope, my friends, is the only thing keeping me, and probably you, alive.

What does hope mean? To me hope means not giving up. It means constantly seeking a new way. It means looking deep inside to find what exactly it is that seems lacking.

What About Now?

I can’t promise you things will change tomorrow.

I can’t promise you that your self-serving parents will suddenly see the light and give you what you need.

I can’t promise you that you will stop choosing the wrong partner or that magically things will be better.

There are so many days when I believe that all is lost and that I want to give up and I don’t know why I feel this way. I feel stupid for not being happy for what I have.

I want to be enough.

I want to feel enough.

I want to thrive, not just survive.

So, for now I make it through the day. For now, I do the best I can do. I wake up every day and realize I need to change something and I realize that at some point it will change.

That, my friend is enough. Believing that something will change is sometimes enough.

Because, “This too shall pass.”

Because There Is Always Tomorrow

How do I know “this too shall pass”? I know because feelings and circumstances always change. Change is the nature of life.

The day after I wrote this and while I was going through the editing process I called my doctor to see if maybe it’s time to get back on some medication. I was feeling despondent and knew something needed to change. Of course, they couldn’t get me in for another month.

So, where could I go? What else could I do? My answer to myself: “search Google,” of course. I started looking up bunch topics that I need to work on that were related to relationships, love, and happiness.

I came across a relationship coach who seemed to get exactly what it was that I needed at the moment. I watched a series of videos. Although I had heard all the things he spoke of before, for some reason everything resonated more deeply than usual.

I needed someone who would not just tell me that I am enough (intellectually I know this) but would give me the tools to help me believe that I am enough and keep me from falling back into the abyss of negative thinking that I tend to fall into.

When we are ready to hear, the message comes.

I booked a session with him and when we spoke everything became clear. I finally grasped the complex nature of how one can go through life without loving and accepting one’s self and how your fears can limit your existence.

You may not realize it, but you may actually fear being happy and you may keep thinking negative thoughts as a means to protect yourself. I realized that I had to stop my negative thinking and that no one can make me feel whole and loved and valued if I don’t truly love and value myself.

I realized I am still looking for someone to save me or for someone to validate me so I can feel whole, and guess what? It stops today.

I just decided. I decided that it was time to show up for myself fully and completely and stop delegating away my needs for others to fill like an empty vessel.

If you don’t give up hope and keep looking for help and reaching out to others, you will eventually find the people, tools, and resources that you need to heal.

I do it over and over and I’ll do it again. If I can do it, so can you.

About Carrie L. Burns

Carrie L. Burns is a blogger on a mission of self-discovery. As a sexual abuse survivor that struggled for years with depression anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of self-love, and relationship issues, she found her purpose through writing and sharing her story with others. Check out her other writing at www.acinglife.com.

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How We Can Break the Cycle of Pain

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/WvxcjTTjzRc/

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

Pain is and isn’t just like energy. According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed but is merely converted from one form to another.

For example, the light energy from the sun can be harnessed by plants, which, through photosynthesis, convert it to chemical energy. Plants use this energy to grow fruit, which we eat. We store this energy for when we need to exert ourselves, when we convert it to kinetic energy. The energy never disappears, but is instead just displaced.

Pain is in a sense the same, creating a parallel to the first law of thermodynamics which I call the cycle of pain.

The manager is belittled by his boss because the boss was frustrated with the latest quarterly results, which disappointed because the customers were unhappy with the product. Upset, the manager comes home and mouths off to his wife, who is carrying her own tribulations from work.

The wife and mother then loses her temper with her son, who is hurt by his mother’s outburst. In pain and having witnessed a bad example from his mother about what to do with frustration, the son then goes to school the next day and causes a fight in the classroom during the teacher’s lesson.

His plans in tatters with the class disrupted, the teacher then exacts collective punishment on the whole class, who then each go and act out the negativity in their own separate ways.

The form of the pain changes, but it doesn’t go away—it’s spread out and perpetrated on new victims in a seemingly endless cycle of pain.

Except it can go away. After all, pain differs from energy in some important ways.

First of all, pain can be created, added to, and multiplied or increased exponentially.

Above, the frustration that the teacher caused can turn into sadness, hurt, or anger among his thirty pupils, who then have a negative emotional-energetic push to transfer and potentially increase the pain.

More and more people are born and live longer each day, meaning there are more egos to feel and create pain. The internet and other mass communication technologies only expand each single person’s ability to transfer and create more and more pain in more and more people. Weapons of mass destruction have the same function. This is a depressing picture.

The story, however, isn’t all bad, and as conscious human beings we can actively work to stop the flow and creation of pain.

When the husband comes home to vent at his wife, the wife can always ask what the matter is, listen compassionately, and react with love and a desire to help ease the pain.

When the child acts out in school, the teacher can always take a deep breath, draw upon her compassion for whatever is driving an innocent child to be aggressive, pull the child aside, and try and find out what’s wrong.

We can all recognize that another person’s negativity is his or her pain, not ours.

This is very simple to comprehend but extremely difficult to achieve. It takes a lot of effort.

Put yourself right in the moment of a very tense or stressful situation. Your boss has had a stressful week and is screaming at you, blaming you for the entire team’s failure or something that had nothing to do with you. Your mother always favored your older brother and is interrogating you, asking why you didn’t get married and have the perfect job like he did. Pick a real example from your own life.

How did you react—with total serenity and compassion? Did you lovingly embrace this as a spiritual challenge and opportunity for growth? In all likelihood, far from it!

You probably shouted back, clamped down, cried, or otherwise reacted to negativity with negativity, and this in turn negatively affected someone else. Why? Because this is hard—really hard. And yet, it’s the struggle we, as human beings, face every day.

However, when we sit around and think about being our best, about trying to make a difference in the world, we think about legendary figures placed in the fulcrum of historic events. We think about Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Theresa. Saving the rain forest, ending poverty, or finding a cure for some horrible disease come to mind.

In fact, very few people will ever even have the chance to be in the right place at the right time to make such a difference. Even if we had the skills and desire, we might not have the resources, the connections, or even be born is the right era to affect such a change.

By definition, not everyone can accomplish extraordinary things. The rain forest needs saving, poverty needs ending, and diseases need curing, but why not start with what you can influence right now—the world’s little daily hurts that, through the cycle of pain, create big problems?

But this is our bias, made dramatically worse in recent years by social media: to overlook or even look down upon the ordinary. And yet, it is the ordinary, everyday flow of life that is so difficult to navigate in a way that does no harm to ourselves or others. Indeed, daily life presents our most obvious opportunity to change the world around us—to end the cycle of pain.

Imagine a world where parents didn’t smack or shout at their children out of anger, where spouses didn’t take their work frustrations home and get passive aggressive with each other, where strangers didn’t project their pent up feelings onto each other.

Imagine all of the infinite little tragedies that could be avoided. Imagine the child who, in a moment of despair, sees a helping hand instead of a fist. Think of what a different place the world would be if one million or one billion people had this same thought all at once.

I, too, once had a head full of grandiosity, all the while overlooking the difference I could make each and every day.

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York, I was raised like most of the other kids in my peer group—to be hyper-competitive and keep up with the Joneses. I wanted to be a famous academic, a CEO, or the president. I thought about ending wars, saving the environment, and changing the economy.

I was also short on patience. I punched back. I showed off. I overlooked people. It was only after I was brought so low by pain, when I saw no way forward, that I dropped my illusions and really thought about how to move forward in the world. When I felt there was no hope, I stopped contemplating the horizon and instead looked right in front of me.

For maybe the first time, I really saw the people who came into my life and got to know so well who had wronged me, betrayed me. Rather than cursing them or begrudging them, I thought about how they got the way they were—their being bullied or even molested as children or abandoned as adults (true stories!).

I thought about myself, put upon by my siblings and ignored by my parents. And I realized what a difference it would have made if even some minor character in any of these stories would have taken the initiative to break that cycle of pain.

Everything that happens in life is the result of an unknowable series of chance events that happened over centuries. You are here right now because some peasant in the fields a thousand years ago smiled at one of his fellow laborers or some seamstress took the risk of getting on ship bound for America or someone crossing the street didn’t get hit by a car.

Likewise, the gang member might not be in jail if that teacher had taken a chance on him. The cheerleader might not be bulimic if someone had taken the time to notice her eating habits or cared enough to say anything.

Even when we aren’t causing it, so many of us shut our eyes and turn our heads to other people’s pain because we’ve been hurt ourselves and don’t want to face more pain if we can avoid it.

To come to and maintain the level of consciousness necessary to actively counter the cycle of pain requires a spiritual vigilance that is profound and yet so simple. To break and not perpetuate the cycle of pain, to purify and not pollute our emotional environment is so mundane but can be so impactful. To me, this is what it means to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Once I recovered from the deep, crushing, suicidal depression that I suffered, I left my high-flying job. I moved countries. I extricated myself from destructive relationships. Coming from a life in which I interacted with senior politicians and CEOs, I instead dabbled in coaching and tutoring and other endeavors I saw as making a small difference. I slowed down and, instead of chasing grand visions, became much more conscious of what I was doing each moment.

This was a difficult transition to make, and it is a challenge each day to remember the cycle of pain and my role in it, and, more importantly, not to perpetuate it. Nevertheless, I find life so much more rewarding now. Though my path is littered with mistakes and small failings, most days I am able to see the incremental positive differences that I make.

I don’t know what all of this will amount to, but what I do know is that I feel so much more rewarded and empowered.

About Joshua Kauffman

Joshua Kauffman is a recovering over-achiever and workaholic. Leaving behind a high-powered life in business, he has become a world traveler, aspiring coach, and entrepreneur of pretty things. Amateur author of a recent memoir Footprints Through The Desert, he is trying to find ways to share his awakening experience, particularly to those lost in the rat race like he was.

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Quit Trying to Be Perfect (You Already Are)

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/SinY6V6vSZs/

“Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect. It makes you feel inadequate.” ~Maria Shriver

Like many of us, I spent a big part of growing up feeling like I wasn’t enough. I was quite a studious kid, and this coupled with being terrible at sports and also quite chubby meant I was a bit of a target. Indeed, when your first and last names both rhyme with “fat” it’s pretty easy for bullies with even limited wordsmith skills to come up with insults.

And it’s easy to say what words can’t hurt and that it says more about them than it did me. Yet, what it did mean for a long time was that I felt a lack of acceptance from my peers. And this does hurt. I don’t for a second think I’m alone with this either.

No matter who you are there’s times growing up when you want nothing more than acceptance.

Because here’s the thing: This need for acceptance, it’s a natural human tendency.

As we grow we try to fit into the world as best we can. We yearn to be grounded in who we are, so we fall into the trap of defining ourselves by what others say about us. As a result, over time, we become conditioned to believe that the world outside us is somehow responsible for our happiness and well-being. We look at our jobs, our partners, what we believe other people think of us—and we decide that we are lacking.

This was certainly true for me for a good number of years until I became a teenager, when I lost weight and started to feel stronger and happier about myself. Finally those feelings of not being enough were gone. Or so I thought.

Because what I realize now is that they too had grown up. And what was once naïve insecurity had twisted and mutated into an adult need for perfection and control. As I’ve come to terms with this recently it’s opened up a whole range of emotions and new insights for me.

It’s dawned on me how much I’ve been hiding and pretending these past few years, and I’m ready now to move past that.

This was highlighted recently for me when I found a poem I wrote when I was younger titled: If I was David Bowie I wouldn’t have had my teeth done.

And I really meant it too. Because the thing is, I’ve always liked things a little edgy, a little earthy and real. I grew up listening to Nirvana and Guns n Roses and The Stones. I spent my twenties obsessed with the Beats and Bukowski. So, the idea of being overly polished and shiny-teethed wasn’t something that ever really appealed to me.

Yet, next month I finish off a two-year course of Invisalign, which has made my teeth all straight and nice, and ends in a treatment to make them all white too!

You see, something changed a few years ago and it’s only now that I’m really seeing it fully. Somewhere along my journey I reverted back to acting from fear rather than love. I stopped enjoying my imperfections and had begun striving for an outward ideal of perfection.

What I thought was me having it all figured out was actually just me getting a whole lot better at tricking myself.

You see, despite having lots of interests and passions in my life—and being pretty motivated and focused for most of the time—there always came a point when I stopped enjoying what I was doing. The lightness and joy of creativity got overtaken by struggle and perfectionism.

As I went forward with a vision, I began comparing myself to others; looking for acceptance externally, to the point where I ended up second-guessing myself and eventually giving in and moving on.

This is something I’ve only recently realized. The pattern seems to go that whenever I’m operating from fear I revert to hiding behind a shield of faux-perfection. I feel I’m not enough, so I act out, trying to go the other way—to counter the feelings; to try and kid myself, as much as the world, that I’m flawless.

And I think this is where a lot of us can struggle. We feel we have to be more than who we are.

We want to fit in. So we bend to what we think others want us to be like. But I see now that trying to seek acceptance from outside of myself is a path to nowhere good.

I believe now that this is one of the main issues that can hold us all back if we aren’t aware of it. Comparing ourselves to other people makes us fearful of being who we really are. But when we aren’t us, who are we? Who are we looking for when we try and be anything other than who we really are?

When we put this barrier of desired perfection between us and the world, it stops deep connections being formed.

It stops us from being as authentic and open and grounded as we could be. Yet when we accept ourselves whole-heartedly, with all our foibles and vulnerabilities, we give ourselves and others permission to grow and create without limitations.

Because we’re not here to try for perfection. Doing so it implies there is a goal to reach, an ideal to master. But what if we knew that who we are is already perfect? What if we were all able to step back and see that striving for acceptance is only taking us further away from ourselves?

In this surrender we are allowed the freedom to connect to a deeper, more pure perfection that is always there.

It is beyond the intellect, the personality, and the mind. It’s an inner sense of knowing, which only comes once you’ve realized that who you really are exists before all your thoughts, beliefs, stories, and insecurities.

And that person is always completely perfect.

Because I know I’m intelligent, I know I’m empathetic, caring, a good listener, and I have really great imagination. I’m fantastic at lighting fires under others, helping them see how special they are and how things that might seem impossible are actually really achievable.

But… I’m also clumsy, self-conscious, introverted, sarcastic, messy, and grumpy sometimes. I can procrastinate for days, I skip meditating some mornings to watch the cookery channel, I can be argumentative and downright silly when I want to be. I read a lot of pretty deep books but I watch quite a lot of lowbrow TV too, and I really enjoy it. But that’s okay. I don’t have to be a constructed ideal of ‘perfect.’ None of us do.

Because the thing is, when we compare ourselves to others and seek external validation we exist in a perpetual state of need.

But once you see yourself from an infinite perspective and don’t need to win people’s acceptance, you can be kinder and gentler toward yourself.

There is only ever going to be one you. Ever. There is only one you that has ever existed in this entire universe. Right now you are absolutely perfect at being you. No one can think like you, create like you, love like you.

That thing you do that you keep hidden? That’s perfectly you. That weird sneeze that you do that makes you feel a little silly? Embrace that like crazy. That’s perfectly you. No one does that but you.

When you seek acceptance, when you try for perfection, when you aim for external validation, all you’re really doing is playing it safe. You’re fitting into someone else’s ideal. Or worse and more likely, you’re fitting into a societal average of what perfection is, watered down, anodyne, overly safe.

So what would it take for you to throw off the need for acceptance and perfection and just be you—playful, silly, messy, lovable, perfect?

Don’t you owe it to yourself to eschew external validation and only look for your validation within?

Your experience of life is always created inside of you. Yet because of the way our minds work we often make ‘things’ out of our thoughts. Suddenly something someone said to us becomes a real ‘thing’ we feel we have to deal with and obsess over. But it was only ever a thing because you made it a thing. And just like that you can let it go too.

You have ultimate power over what you create in the world.

But the caveat is you can only wield this power if you are living in the real world. In a place where you have impact and where you can take action. Spending too long looking for made up perfection outside of yourself will stop you from being all you can be.

I also know that just because I’ve had this insight doesn’t mean I’m any more sorted either. I’ll still get caught up in the outside-in misunderstanding on a regular basis. Just like we all will. I’ll still get envious and impatient and blame external things for my ‘lack.’ I’ll still seek acceptance from others.

Yet I also know I’ll be able drop out of this habitual, insecure thinking a whole lot quicker and connect back with my innate creativity and resilience. I hope reading this will help you do the same.

Because it’s all part of the game, all part of the dance. And I don’t regret any of it, least of all getting my teeth done. In fact, I love them. What I once described as a “row of wonky tic tacs” now looks pretty good.

But really what I like about them most is I feel like I’m smiling a lot more now. And maybe it’s the teeth, but maybe also its because I’m enjoying myself again, maybe it’s because I feel I am allowing ‘me’ to show and I’m becoming more connected to who I really am, imperfections and all.

So stop trying for perfection and relax in the knowledge that when you stop trying you’ll quickly connect back to who you really are. Someone who is already perfect at being you. And that will never change.

About Matt Hattersley

Matt Hattersley helps people make the changes needed to create their ideal lifestyle. Doing so, they experience new insights into what is possible and create more of what they want. Connect with Matt and get a free copy of his book: Out of Your Head & Into The World.

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How will Change Come about for You?

Original post from: https://bethandlee.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/how-will-change-come-about-for-you/

Change is inevitable. It is a part of being a human being.  Change happens in every day.  Even if we have a routine of every day, the routine changes because of our thoughts and our moods of a given day. The best you can do about change is embrace it. Instead of trying to keep […]

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How Expectations Can Drive People Away and How to Let Go of Control

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/2km0Jvc1Z2w/

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ~Bruce Lee

About five years ago, I had a falling out with a close friend. I was irritated because she didn’t do the things I thought she should and she didn’t give as much as I did. I felt I had been very generous with her, and I expected her to do the same. I felt she owed me.

My anger became unmanageable and started seeping into pretty much every interaction we had. She began cancelling dinner plans and camping trips. She wouldn’t call me back after days of me leaving a message. It happened out of nowhere, and of course everything was her fault.

Except that it didn’t. And it wasn’t.

Not too long ago, I was a bit of a control freak. I didn’t know it, of course, and I would have described myself as open-minded and easy going. In reality, I was tormented by my own expectations.

Since I was a child, I had an image in my head about who I was supposed to be. What my family was supposed to look like. What house I was supposed to live in. What career success was supposed to mean. That’s a lot of supposing! I had always assumed these expectations were my future.

I am an artist by trade, and in my art studio, I have many tools. Paintbrushes, sanders, stencil cutters, and paper punches fill shelves up to the ceiling. However, I tell people that the most important tools I use are flexibility of mind and a practice of not having expectations as to the outcome. This allows new and amazing techniques to be discovered and yields paintings that continuously surprise and delight me. I find these tools are useful outside of the art studio as well.

As time went on and distance grew between me and my friends, I began to feel enraged by her apparent apathy toward me and everything that I “had done for her.”

I thought to myself, “I would never treat anyone that way. How dare she do that to me?” and “After all I’ve given her, she should want to give back!” Every thought I had praised me for all the good deeds I had done and blamed her for ruining our friendship. I was the victim and she was the wrong doer.

One day, I sat down to enlighten her about how she had negatively impacted our relationship. Her reaction was horrifying to me. She said she was going to take a step back from our friendship.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I mean, I was telling her how she could singlehandedly improve things. What was wrong with her that she didn’t understand that? We stopped speaking and I didn’t see her for a long time.

Then something life changing happened—sobriety. In the first year after I quit drinking, I learned a lot about myself and my need to control just about everything in order to meet my expectations.

I learned how my expectations of others (unexpressed, by the way, because “I shouldn’t have to say it!”) and the anger that followed when people didn’t act the way I thought they should, actually drove people away.

The entire time our friendship was breaking down, I thought that if she would just do the things I wanted her to do, not only would our friendship be fixed, but everyone involved would be better off. I knew better than she did. My way of living was better than hers. She, of course, ran away from me like I was on fire.

My need to control others was unfounded, unrealistic, and unattainable. It was a hard thing to admit that my way wasn’t better than her way and, in fact, people weren’t abandoning me. I was driving them to leave. I saw that other relationships in my life were also going down this path. I had to change.

One day after surfing, I went to sit on a bench overlooking the water. One of the “old guys” we surfed with, who lived across the street, came and talked with me as the sun was setting over the ocean and I was lamenting about the stresses in my life. He said one of the most important things anyone has ever said to me: “I don’t do stress. Stress is optional.”

WTF? How on earth does one not get stressed? Teach me, Oh Wise One. I thought deeply about this and about my issues with expectations and control. I needed control in order to meet my own expectations. When those expectations were not met, anxiety, anger and depression followed. Where does stress fit in?

The stress comes from trying to control actions that I think can bring my expectations to fruition. Have you ever seen the YouTube video of the zoo keeper trying to take a photo of all the baby pandas together? He expected a cute shot. All he got is a video of him trying to put baby pandas in a line, as one by one they continuously wandered off.

I know that’s kind of a cut and dry example, and life isn’t always cut and dry. However, the primary reason that I would get so pissed when my expectations were not met is rather simple: “My way is superior to everyone else’s way. How can people be so stupid and disrespectful?”

I don’t want to be an angry person. I don’t want to be unhappy with the people in my life. At some point, I realized that all of the control I was attempting to put on others was really me trying to make others meet my own expectations. That doesn’t work. Like ever. And it creates a huge amount of stress and frustration akin to trying keep baby pandas in line.

The real questions are: Who do I think I am? Why do I think I can control anything? What does it really matter if people are late, or my flight is cancelled, or my hat got lost when it flew off the top of the car.

Do these things affect my life? Sure, they can. Is it worth having an explosive hissy fit and making myself and everyone around me miserable? Uh, that would be a no. (Embarrassingly, the loss of that damn hat came close to ruining our evening.)

Advice from an Artist—Three Ways to Let Go:
1. Have zero expectations about how anything is going to turn out in the end.

It’s easier said than done, but if I went into the art studio expecting a certain painting to be created, I would be disappointed all the time. It’s so much easier to have an open mind and go with the flow.

This is also true when it comes to other people. By accepting the fact that people are not predictable, I am not attached to outcomes about how they “should” be.

 2. Stop trying to control everything.

My passion is creating, but I can’t always get in the studio to paint. And guess what? I don’t pitch a fit. I simply do what needs to be done to continue on.

For whatever reason, this is easy for me to apply to my business, and harder to apply to situations that involve people. I have to peel my fingers from the white-knuckle grip they have on how people should be and be okay with the possibility of “my way” not being an option. Perhaps somebody else has an awesome way I’ve never even thought of.

3. Be flexible and don’t be attached to outcomes.

I choose to open my mind to all the possibilities. In the studio, experimentation and the ability to adjust comes very easily. In life, not so much. Last minute changes in dinner plans aren’t going to kill me. When someone is “inconveniencing” me by wanting to meet at 8:00 instead of 6:30 I don’t get pissed anymore. I go for a hike because now I have time to.

Does that sound too simple? I don’t think it is.

My old friend and I have begun to repair our friendship. She moved away and I miss her dearly. We have talked about the past, but not in great detail. I try to show her that my thinking has changed and I don’t want anything from her but her friendship. It’s a hard thing to repair when you live far away but it’s mending little by little.

I no longer expect her or anyone to think like me. When I start feeling superior, I have to remember that I’m no better and no worse than any other person on the planet. I hope she forgives her wayward friend. At the time, I really thought that I was doing her a favor by showing her a better way to live. It was hard to realize that my ego was running the show.

When I’m working on a painting and I make a mark that I didn’t intend to, I don’t look at it as a “mistake.” I look at it as an opportunity to go down a road I may not have seen had it not been for that out of place mark. This is how I strive to live my life now. When a monkey wrench is thrown in, I put it in my back pocket figuring that a wrench may come in handy at some point.

And if it doesn’t, that’s okay. Just as with my art, I choose to live open-minded to all experiences. Also, just like my paintings, life isn’t only made up of straight lines. There are twists, turns, and interruptions. The question I must ask myself is, do I want to put up a fight whenever something unexpected happens, or go with the flow and gracefully see where this new road leads.?

We can’t control other people and situations. But we can choose to set expectations aside and not put so much emphasis on how things are going to end up. After all, it truly is about the journey. And the destination? Well, sometimes the most beautiful views are the ones that we stumble upon unexpectedly, while on the way to where we’re “supposed” to be.

About Marigny Goodyear

Marigny Goodyear is an artist, living and working in Talent, Oregon with her husband, Goody and daughter, Nora.   She plays in Crescent City, California where the ocean keeps her strong and inspired and often visits her hometown of New Orleans (also nicknamed The Crescent City), where the rhythm of her heartbeat is renewed. Visit her at marignygoodyearart.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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The post How Expectations Can Drive People Away and How to Let Go of Control appeared first on Tiny Buddha.