Episode 79 Mourning Expectations

July 3, 2023

Good morning from Martha’s Vineyard. What’s on my mind this morning is this conversation I had with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago. By way of background, she’s someone who I speak with maybe once a month or so and we have intimate, far-reaching conversations. In this one conversation – she’s in a new relationship maybe six months in – we were talking about everything from different sleeping patterns, to some of his physical ailments, to the thought of possibly moving in together and him giving up his apartment.

I followed up with her with one of my usual WhatsApp messages and shared some of my experiences and some of my concerns. Then I didn’t hear back from her. Like I said, we don’t speak too frequently yet somehow I knew that I had perhaps touched a nerve, and I was a little bit concerned that I had crossed a line. But I let it go. I trusted that she knew that whatever I said was definitely coming from my heart.  Anyway, a couple weeks ago I pinged her and she immediately called me and we had one of our great conversations. Then we got to what I thought was the elephant in the room. Maybe she didn’t feel it, but in my mind it was there. She said, you know the last time we spoke, I think I was mourning what I was expecting in this relationship. And I said to her say more, and she said, well, I had this story in my head about what I thought my next relationship would look like and he’s not that.

It really struck me for a couple of reasons. First, I saw what beautiful self-awareness she showed in saying that to me. Somewhere in there she realized that she was completely focused on him. What he wasn’t. What he wasn’t doing. What he could be doing. She was anticipating things and when she brought it full circle, she was able to see that it was actually the story that she had been telling herself. The narrative in her head about what the relationship would look like that wasn’t being met. In realizing she was mourning this story that she was carrying in her head about what the relationship should or would look like, she came full circle and was able to see how perhaps she needed to adjust her expectations and shift her focus on what was working. In fact, over the course of our conversation, I was able to mirror back to her everything she had just said to me. I said, wow, you’re going to Portugal, you’re going out west to conduct your courses, and you’re going on a road trip and to Europe with him. It sounds like you’ve got everything you’ve been looking for. She said, you know, you’re right. What’s most important to me is that when I’m in a love relationship, that I’m able to maintain, my freedom to pursue my own interests. That I don’t get lost in the relationship, and I said, and I am sure he’ll do the same.

It was like one of those things where you don’t need to be all up in his business about what he isn’t or what he’s doing, or what he’s going to do in you’re away.It’s important that you focus on what you’re doing, what’s important to you. But this isn’t all about my friend’s relationship with this guy, it’s about the language that she used. It’s about mourning a missed expectation, or mourning a story or narrative that wasn’t playing out the way it had been running through our head. I think that’s applicable to so many things, even small things in our daily life. When things aren’t as we expect them to be, we are often completely focused on what’s not right.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing like a relationship. It can be small things. We always have expectations that aren’t met and narratives in our head that don’t work out the way we expected. It’s really helpful to catch yourself and say, okay, let’s move on. So I guess what’s important here is that things fall short of our expectations every day, all the time in big matters and small, and it all comes down to how we respond to it, right? It’s all about your response and we know this, we all know this. It really comes down to catching yourself.

It’s a self-awareness piece. Just like in my friend’s story, of course, that was a much bigger life matter because it was a relationship. But it really does come down to catching ourselves and being aware of how we’re responding. So where in your life are you being reactive right now? What’s getting you riled up? Where are you feeling charged? and how can you catch yourself? and where might you readjust your expectation or simply let it go? I’ll leave you with that thought today. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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