We all do it…all the time. We anticipate, we project, we imagine, we fantasize; we EXPECT specific results to everything that happens in life. This is a perfectly human thing to do, but we need to be aware that expectations more often than not lead to disappointment.
The birth plan you created with your partner before your baby was born is a perfect example. For nine months you did nothing but imagine what it would be like when you went into labor, you envisioned, in great detail, the type of labor and delivery you wanted. And, I’m guessing that things did not go exactly as you planned. If it was your first baby, I’d bet my house and my first-born child that it didn’t go exactly as you expected!
The more adamant you were about the experience you wanted, the more disappointed you most likely were with anything that did not go as planned. But your beautiful baby is here now so it is important to work through, and then let go of, any sorrow or regret you feel around that experience.
You brought life into this world, so no matter what you may think “went wrong,” in my book you are a superhero!
Your expectations around the birth of your baby were just the beginning. With parenthood comes a lifetime of scenarios around which we weave intricate stories in our minds about how things will be or should be. But our children often have different plans. And so the reality of the situation often falls short of our expectations.
The truth is life is unpredictable, it’s messy and it rarely goes the way we planned.
This is why one of the most important things parenthood requires of us is flexibility.
We want the best for our children; we want them to succeed, to be happy. But sometimes our “wanting” gets in the way of our ability to see our children for who they truly are with all of their strengths, but also their beautiful weaknesses.
So how do we love the whole child without burdening them with expectations that they may not be able to meet? This is the challenge. We won’t always succeed, but staying aware of this conflict can go a long way toward allowing our children to lead their lives with our guidance but without the burden of our expectations.
True joy is to be found in acceptance of what is, thorns and all. Anything else only leads to suffering.