Image: Charis Talbot
“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.”
I have had a lot on my mind lately, not the usual chaos, either, but intense retrospection and introspection. I don’t know why I feel the need to look back on my life, a life that has been analyzed and re-analyzed an innumerous amount of times. I have learned the freedom of forgiveness this year, and that was a truly profound moment for me. The weight that was lifted from no longer carrying that burden was, and still is, indescribable. It was a life changing moment.
People often think that the subject (person or situation) of our hatred, anger, pain, sadness etc. is in any way, shape or form affected by our disdain, or emotional wounds; in most cases, they aren’t, we carry that weight- we, and we alone. Forgiveness is the only way to freedom.
So, lost in this deep, deep thought I have had a few “a-ha moments”. You know those moments that make you feel fucking alive? Like every proverbial light bulb in your head has been turned on, illuminating your world to a hidden world inside? The moments that make you feel like all the madness, all the insanity, and nights with no sleep because your mind wouldn’t shut off the questions, was all worth it.
It has all been worth it.
Regardless if I acknowledge the worth in these lessons I know that I cannot repeat them. I am going to share two of the big ones with you in hopes that maybe someone else could learn from them, or perhaps gain the courage to finally break free of something that is holding them back.
Sometimes people only see their strength to fight themselves when they see it first hand, I hope to be that testimony they are looking for.
First lesson: Expectations. Man, is this a big one to learn, and it’s complex. You see we not only have expectations of others but there are expectations put on us by others; so we are either living to please another or expecting another to live to please us.
Both trains of thought are deluded, and surely will lead to a path of complete, and total self-destruction. Nothing good has ever come from me trying to live up to another’s expectations, conversely nothing good has ever come from my expectations of people, situations, or life in general, either.
We need to stop having expectations for ourselves and for others; nobody owes us anything. We only owe it to ourselves to be true to who we were born to be, to live free, and die having lived a full life.
So, yes, we should have ethics, morals, standards, self-worth but we cannot expect others to have those things, too. That is the reality, it’s sad and it’s a hard pill to swallow but to expect these things from others is going to lead us to heartache and I am sure if you look back on your life you will see it, at least one example.
In my case, there are multiple examples. I guess I was just a stubborn learner.
I treat others with respect, and while I would like mutual respect to be given back, expecting it is the problem. I speak from experience of expecting respect, not being given said respect, and unleashing my beast on a person who could give a flying fuck about me; so I not only made a fool of myself, but wasted my energy. My conclusion then was, if I don’t expect it, I am not overly shocked when it doesn’t happen, so no reaction. To be honest, I am more shocked when people respect me than I am when they don’t.
Lesson in all this, expectations are bad, and should not be confused with standards, ethics, or morals.
Second lesson: Comparisons. This is probably my hardest lesson, and it’s an ongoing battle every day to keep this train of thought at bay. It has been indoctrinated in the core of our society; we are constantly compared to our peers as children, the natural progression is then to compare ourselves as adults.
Two people could be given the exact same life, literally, and they would view it differently, experience it differently and learn different lessons because we are all different. It really is as simple as that, we make it complicated.
We are individuals, first and foremost; even those with a herd mentality, unable to think for themselves, and scared to stand alone are individuals, they just happened to get lost.
I find myself comparing stupid things, like comparing my altar to another’s, or my beauty to another’s (how superficial), or even my writing abilities to another. I often discredit myself, my talent and my power.
At first I thought it was self-esteem issues, and it is, but it’s also because I don’t want to become consumed by ego. I try to remain humble with a splash of modesty; I never thought I would describe any aspect of myself as modest but I do now because I have let ego takeover a time or two, which is why I fear it so much. I can’t stress enough that ego really is a poison, and it blinds us. I am in no position to be blind, I need to see, and I need to see the bigger picture, ego doesn’t allow that.
We should be proud of who we are, what we have accomplished, and how far we have come. It’s okay to be a bit envious of another, but don’t allow that envy to spill over to true jealousy where you channel your focus on the wrong target. Instead, use the object of your envy as your motivation to do better, be better, and become the best version of YOURSELF that you can be. Don’t try to be them, just be yourself, and watch the abundance pour into your life.
Truth is, we will never fill another’s shoes because that isn’t our job; our job is to fill our own shoes, find our own rhythm and walk flawlessly through this flawed world, while making the stumbles part of our dance.