Tag Archives: Disappointment

Hard or Soft? The Choice is Ours

When TRUST has been broken, how do we avoid becoming hard and bitter?

I came face to face with this question this week as I suffered a disappointment regarding a new friendship.

Full disclosure, my friend was equally disappointed in me.

Two sides, neither willing to yield.

My stubbornness? Born of a newfound desire to not abdicate what I deem precious to make others’ comfortable.  To value my soul enough to give it voice and not dismiss my feelings is THE point of my current journey.

Perhaps as I find the balance and rhythm of my new life, I will be more willing to yield, but for now, it is critical that I not.

Here’s why: Because I know that in yielding that first important thing  can come a slippery slope of acquiescence; the path to losing myself again.

I refuse to.

And in my friend’s unwillingness to give my refusal space, there came a parting of the ways.

Here’s the kicker:  I have written about my carefulness to engage in new friendships.  When you have quality, beautiful people already in your life and you’re not needy, you have the luxury of being more discriminating about those whom you choose to spend time.

This person had checked off all the boxes that were important to me:  Depth, kindness, spirituality, humor, self-awareness…and I let them in.

Then, the great impasse.  The argument with no resolve.  The parting of the ways.

One side of me says, “Why even bother?  Who NEEDS this?!”

The other side knows that in each encounter are lessons to be learned.

That in the decision to “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin'” comes the promise of disappointment,  hope, pain, joy – the entire kaleidoscope of feelings.

I’d rather live and feel…even if the feelings are sad for a season.

So back to the question, “How do you avoid becoming HARD?”

The freshness of the disappointment was wrapped in a sense of innocence lost.  Could I ever be so willing and open with someone new?  Had I lost my capacity to try again? Would I become hard – or stay soft?

The answer sank into my heart and was a soothing balm to my soul:

“You stay soft when you put your trust in God, not in people.”

If I put my trust in people, I will always be disappointed.  Because they are human!  They are as flawed as I am.  But to accept that the Universe is unfolding exactly as it ought; that some relationships are just for a season and that there are rich lessons to be gleaned from each one?  That comforts  me enough to put myself out there again.  And again.

Then I hear the words to Kesha’s song “Rainbow”: “What’s left of my heart’s still made of gold…”

But in the dark, I realized this life is short
And deep down, I’m still a child
Playful eyes, wide and wild
I can’t lose hope, what’s left of my heart’s still made of gold

You’ll find a rainbow, rainbow, baby
Trust me, I know life is scary
But just put those colors on, girl
Come and play along with me tonight
You gotta learn to let go, put the past behind you
Trust me, I know, the ghosts will try to find you
But just put those colors on, girl
Come and paint the world with me tonight.

You can hear it here:

The rainbow was God’s promise that he would never send another flood that would destroy the world.  Yes, there are floods…but they will not destroy you.

Keep living, my friends.  Take the hits – and stay soft.  What’s left of your heart’s still made of gold.

And now, my video take on the word TRUST and a new Word of the Week:

https://youtu.be/JrN1kMJoUns

Hmmmm….Sister/Brotherhood was a call to stop being lone rangers in life.  And now SUPPORT?

When we feel overwhelmed this week, let’s continue to reach out and get the support we need.  (Or, when we see a need, let’s jump in and be a support!)

Have a beautiful week –

Brenda

 

 

 

 

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Expectations, Marriage (and the New WOW)

Duane and I celebrated our 14th anniversary this past week and it was a perfect time to consider expectations…or the lack thereof.

See, when I met this dimpled, Italian man, I didn’t know WHAT to expect.

One thing was undeniable:  My world was rocked.  He gave me heart palpitations and goosebumps.  I found myself singing Carpenters songs with gusto and living for the next phone call or e-mail.

Actually, at first, I truly expected him to be a flash in the pan; just another of the many guys who’d take my number and never call.  Friends, who had not seen a man have this effect on me in years also tried to reign in my expectations; after all, they didn’t want their friend to get hurt.

When you’re 38 and haven’t been on a real date in years, YOU don’t want to get hurt again. You resist getting  your hopes up, only to have them dashed again.  Yet the feelings were so intoxicating…I couldn’t protect myself from them.

Swept up in emotion, I made a decision to risk being hurt…because the thought of NOT loving him was more painful.

Duane exceeded my expectations. He was in it for the long haul (see my recent video on INTENTION) and no matter what I asked of him, he jumped through every hoop (and there were MANY of them) to seal the deal and put a ring on it.

The next chapter, however, is where the rubber met the road: Marriage.

Because of the whirlwind of our courtship, I never stopped to consider my expectations when it came to marriage.

I mean, wouldn’t it just be more of the same?  Romantic, long talks on the patio; flowers “just because” and handyman tasks miraculously handled by my own, personal Magnum PI…

Yep, cue the rude awakening.

Not to say there haven’t been some very sweet and romantic times…but, as my friends ALSO tried to tell me, it’s mostly about negotiating a pleasant balance between laundry, bills, professional obligations, social calendars, broken dishes (I’m a bit clutzy) AND reruns of Hogans Heroes (Duane’s favorite show.)

Some of our biggest fights have been because I imposed upon him my EXPECTATIONS of what he (i.e., the perfect husband) should be.  Meanwhile, I sometimes forget that I am in NO way the model of the traditional wife.

I do not cook.  And I’d rather pay other people to do tasks that bore me, including detail cleaning, mending and ironing.

Oh, plus I stink at all of the above.

Yet Duane has never complained about how I fall short in these areas (at least, to my face!) Perhaps his restraint in this regard has shown up in OTHER ways.  Exhibit #1:  Notice his hair color in this photo on our wedding day:

And after fourteen years of swallowing judgment:

85% gray.  (But he still looks happy, right?)

Getting back to expectations, no one wants to be required to live up to an unattainable standard and then be judged and found lacking.

It’s not a recipe for a happy marriage.

However, standards of mutual respect, honoring individual preferences, healthy amounts of compromise and good doses of unselfishness SHOULD be expected.

Lowering our expectations in these areas reduces our marriage to “less than.” It ensures that we don’t fulfill our potential as a couple. It says, “I give up” on believing the best for us.

Thus, we fight.  And this was NOT something I expected in marriage.  

I had lived with roommates for all of my adult life and can only remember one real argument!  Certainly we, as a loving, married couple, could rationally discuss matters and achieve mutual understanding?

HA!  When hormones and tempers are flared, we Viola’s can get LOUD.  This may not be the norm for 95% of couples out there, but it’s the case here on Ridge Road in Sarasota.

Admittedly, the intense arguments of our early married years are now much fewer and far between.  Why?  Because we understand each others’ expectations much more than we used to.  Now I KNOW what drives him crazy, and I try to avoid it at all costs.

He knows the same about me.

Sometimes there are unknown alligators in the water that crop up and make for less than smooth sailing.

But there’s one thing we both expect:  We’re staying in the boat.  Neither of us is jumping ship. Oh, there are times when we both WANT to, but we wait until that wave passes…which it always does…and set sail again for another year of equal parts marital angst and bliss.

If I had any gem of wisdom to offer to those of you embarking on this journey called marriage, it would be this: COMMUNICATE your expectations.

You can’t get mad at someone for something you never said mattered to you.

Meanwhile, we’re heading into a new week.  So here’s what our new word is!:

I’m going to emphasize NOT complicating things this week by over-thinking.

How will YOU simplify?

xoxoxoxox

Love,
Brenda

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Hey! Who Are You Calling a Liar?

A compulsive liar doesn’t get a pass today.  My point is that no one is perfect, and perfection shouldn’t be the criteria for integrity.

I’ve lied.  So have you!  (If you say you’ve never lied, ahem, you’re lying.)

The trick is, do you STAY there?

I’m a horrible liar. It feels like Pinocchio’s nose is growing on me as I speak and my words flounder like a fish out of water.

When people are counting on me, it breaks my heart to let them down.  But I have.

And so have you.

That doesn’t mean you lack integrity.  It means you’re human.

It’s what you DO with your lapses in judgement that makes you a woman or a man of integrity.  True, sometimes you can’t “make it right” but you CAN choose to never make that mistake again.

Don’t judge me on who I was in 1998, because that lady doesn’t exist anymore. 

In fact, don’t judge me (or anyone) at all.  There are enough planks in our own eyes to keep us busy for a while.

Coming clean isn’t fun, but it’s like taking a hot shower when you’ve been playing in the mud.

What’s interesting to me is how often we EXPECT that people are lying to us!  We’re actually surprised when what they do matches up with what they say.

This happened to me recently.  A friend who knows me VERY well, looked at me skeptically and said, “So really…do you pick those words in advance and prepare what you’re going to say before you start recording?”

PhotoCredit: Le Choix

Nope.  Not a chance.  When I know I have a particularly busy schedule or am traveling, I may RECORD a little earlier than normal, but I NEVER ever ever ever pick the word and pretend to pray and pick and speak extemporaneously.

It’s part of my spiritual practice to choose the WOW and invite it to challenge me (and you, if you are inclined).  Faking it would mark me a liar. It would break my spirit. Having had more than my share of experience with spiritual fakers, it’s the LAST lapse of integrity I would ever hope to have.

So, be comforted, my friends. These presentations each week are not rehearsed, practiced, and certainly NOT perfect.  But they ARE shared with integrity, which leads me to this week’s WOW:

It’s powerful to choose not to “wing it” in life.  Those who seem to effortlessly say and do the right thing aren’t specially-born that way.

They’ve made a practice of speaking and living with purpose.

The more you do something, the more easily it flows out of you.

I coach my communications clients to always consider the end game of a media interview. What is their hoped-for outcome?  What message is necessary to convey?  Considering AND practicing these in advance is part of wise preparation.  The message needs to be SO “in you” that a glitch or speed bump won’t knock you off of your game.

This is good advice for all of life.

No, a script doesn’t arrive each morning via courier with all of the plot twists outlined for the day.

But entering our day with PURPOSE can keep us on course regardless of what surprises await us.

What PURPOSE are you bringing in to the new week?

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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Pity Parties (and the New WOW)

Someone once said that having a pity party was like crying on the devil’s shoulder.

ICK.

That’s a visual image that always stopped me in my tracks.  However, pithy sayings aren’t enough when a full-blown expression of WOE IS ME wells up and wants to win my day.

How inconvenient that our Word of the Week was DELIGHT!  I received further insight into why that word in the Greek means “pliable.”

If you’re not flexible, you can’t find delight in ANYTHING.  

In both my professional and personal lives, I like to write out scripts.  For my wedding reception, I had every speech and song plugged into a spreadsheet timed to the minute. (Control freak much?) Never a fan of “winging it” I write out presentations word for word and practice them until they sound extemporaneous.

My mantra (said first by Ben Franklin): If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

But what about my best laid plans blow up all around me????  (Or you?)

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I had splurged for what I thought was going to be an amazing Christmas gift for my four most favorite people in the world.  Before hitting the purchase button, I checked with both parties to make sure the event date worked for them.  I had such a vision of an evening filled with friendship and laughter!  Nothing delights me more than a well-chosen present! Yippee!

Without going into the complete details, life had other plans.

For one of the couples it involved triple-bypass surgery. (!)  For the other, a nasty, ill-timed virus rendering her bedridden for a week.

Now I KNOW that everyone’s health is way more important than my planned outing.  I really know this.  I knew this so well that in the days leading up to said failed event, I didn’t even acknowledge that I was disappointed.

Until, out of the blue, I burst into tears. Full blown pity party ensued.

It was quite a juicy sob. And then, I felt remarkably better!

Just knowing how you SHOULD feel doesn’t mean you feel that way.  And, as my friend Roseann is famous for saying:  Your feelings aren’t right or wrong; they’re just the way you feel.

Suppressing my disappointment – and failing to acknowledge it – only made me irritable and cranky in all the other areas of my life.  When I finally admitted to myself that I was disappointed, I could LET GO and even be glad that those tickets were going to be enjoyed by other people.  My inability to shake MY idea of how things were going to happen kept me unable to just let life FLOW.

We’ve all got boiling water in our lives.  It’s how we RESPOND to it that makes or breaks us.

The lessen hear for me wasn’t to have the perfect response, but to allow myself to be HONEST about what I was feeling, ’cause until that happened I wasn’t getting ANY release.

Nothing changed.  But how I FELT about it changed.

Here are my closing thoughts on DELIGHT (and softness) – and the New WOW:

And thankfully, my sisters and brothers are all on the mend!

Here’s to holding close those who hold that special place in our heart this week.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

 

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