Episode 116 – Fed up with continuous disappointment
Question of the Day:Dear Torie, I AM. SO. DONE. with frickin’ COVID. I don’t want to be one of those people who complains on social media so I thought I’d complain here so you can make something productive come out of it. In the big picture of things we are lucky. No one in our family has died or become seriously ill because of COVID. But the continuous disappointment is sucking the life out of me. I’ve got kids who missed school dances, graduation parties, seasons of sports, birthday celebrations, starting freshman year with other humans, making friends, family reunions, summer camps and vacations. As Omicron rages and schools start talking about postponing in person learning and events, I start losing it. How am I supposed to hold it all together for my kids when I just want to throw a frickin’ temper tantrum? Pissed in Pismo
Parent Educator Answer:It is so hard to cope with one disappointment after another, after another. As soon as we start to relax and make plans, something else comes in and takes it all away. We have a vision for our children’s lives that includes uninterrupted school, sports, friendships, celebrations and good mental health. Just about everyone we knew had this experience so it seemed safe to expect our kids to have it also. It seems like missing out on these milestones is causing disappointment, but the good news is it’s not. The good news is that it’s our EXPECTATIONS that are causing our suffering. If you KNEW ahead of time that your high school student would play sports three years instead of four, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. He could have volunteered, joined a club, taken a vacation or just enjoyed some down time. If you knew ahead of time that your daughter wouldn’t celebrate her 16th birthday, no big deal. You would just make other plans. The cause of our suffering is our expectations. This is good news because we have control over our expectations. If you want to release the anger, all you need is to adjust your expectations to live in continuous, creative response to whatever is present. Easy, peasy right? Wrong.
Life Coaching Answer: The illusion of controlWhat gets in our way from living in continuous, creative response to whatever is present? The illusion of control. Being a human on the planet makes us feel vulnerable. Things we perceive as bad can happen at any moment. We might be predestined to experience life a certain way, but we aren’t privy to this knowledge, so instead we walk around feeling uncertain and scared. Nobody likes walking around feeling scared and vulnerable so we come up with things that give us the illusion of control. Worrying is one way we try and control an uncertain future. Forming expectations and trying to predict the future is another way. When your expectations are causing you to suffer, it’s time to let them go. Letting go of attachment is one of the steps on a journey towards spiritual awakening. I’m defining a spiritual awakening as something that causes us to elevate our experience of the world to a higher perspective. Your mind expands, your awareness increases, and like the word implies, enlightenment feels lighter. Spiritual awakenings are triggered by two things:
- An external event like a pandemic, a medical diagnosis, mental health crisis, job/career transition, a move, a near death experience.
- An internal event or shift where you feel the need to make a change. Nothing may change externally, but you feel the need to grow and expand. It may result in ending a relationship, changing careers, a diet or exercise regimen, but it starts as an internal identity and perspective change.
- surrender to the crap with the sentence, “I have no idea what is happening and that’s ok.”
- Release all fear and use anger to fuel creative ways to right wrongs.