I recently came back from a family outing. This was the first time my family had gotten together in an intimate setting in many years. As I prepared myself for the long journey, I contemplated my state of mind, heart and soul. It quickly occurred to me that some serious preparation was in order. My heart was feeling all sorts of things, my mind was confused, and my soul did not have any clear direction as to how to support me before, during, and after the “outing.” “Well,” I said to myself, “it is time to have one of those inner conversations. First, to find out what is going on and second, to decide where to direct my energy”. “Okay.” I replied, “good idea.” Since I previously practiced this sort of inner dialogue I was able to easily get to the bottom of what was going on. Once I allowed myself to feel all of the different emotions I was able to let go of them and decide where I wanted to direct my energy and attention. What does my little story have to do with attachments, expectations and disappointments?
All too often we approach sticky situations with a substantial amount of attachment and expectations. For instance, we might expect our family members to behave in a certain way. We cook a great meal or cut the grass in hopes of some kindness and consideration when the next interaction surprisingly brings misery and unhappiness. Or professionally, for example, we work hard on a business deal and are ready to close it and anticipating it going exactly the way we plan when suddenly the deal falls through. In both instances, we end up feeling disappointed and perhaps even defeated. What happened?
We may have too many expectations and attachments to the things in which we are involved or working toward. Whether in our personal or professional life, we may fall into the attachment trap without even being aware of it. When we are too attached to the outcome there is no room for flexibility, including the option for an even better outcome. When we have too many expectations we set ourselves up for disappointment. Noone else can meet our expectations. Only we can meet our expectations and most of us set ourselves up right off the bat by having expectations that are too high. This is self-sabotaging in terms of effective energy use.
What to do? Begin by having a conversation with yourself about your attachments and expectations. Find out if you have any unconscious or hidden emotions in a situation. Whatever is going on, allow yourself to feel all of it in an environment that is separate from the situation. You can have an inner dialogue, write in your journal or perhaps talk to a professional coach. In any case, I have found that when my clients have cleared their hearts and minds that often a higher outcome than what they originally envisioned becomes apparent.
Pick a project or event in the next two weeks. Examine your emotions and thoughts around the event. In a safe environment, allow yourself to empty your emotions and thoughts in whatever way works for you and move into a state of detachment. At the same time set a clear intention and focus for your energy. In other words, you can still have a high level of involvement in the physical process, but low attachment in the outcome. Keep track of your inner process while you are working on the event or project. After the event is over evaluate the process. What worked for you and what didn’t? What did you learn?
I would love to hear from you. Please comment on my blog.
Barbara Schwarck, PCC, CPCC
Coach – Trainer -Author
President, Clear Intentions