Tag Archives: The Four Agreements

Trading Expectations for Acceptance

Where do we get our expectations from?

If you were a child of the 60’s and 70’s like me, we had plenty of unrealistic pop culture icons.

Like the Brady Bunch. All those groovy kids in a big house with parents that never fought – and a housekeeper to boot!

I wanted to be That Girl, living in the big city like Marlo Thomas and with a boyfriend handsome as Donald Hollinger. Oh, and with hair that flipped up at the bottom and never looked out of place.

Even outside of TV (and Instagram), we see how people present themselves on the surface, and it all looks so PERFECT.

Or we find out how much someone much younger and less experienced earns and disappointment (or jealousy) kicks in.

Comparison truly is the thief of joy.

Our expectations can be dashed at ever turn. No one ever goes into a marriage thinking it will ever end. Few people take on jobs or make a career move that they think won’t pay off. You plan a vacation and don’t expect to get the flu!

We soon learn that there’s no crystal ball and there are no guarantees.

Which could be quite scary unless you believed that everything is always working out for you (and me.)

Lately I’ve been thinking about how many times my expectations have led to unnecessary disappointments. 

Is everyone required to march to the beat of MY drum?

When I impose MY idea of how people should be on them, I miss out on enjoying how THEY dance to their own rhythm of life.

My inner critic is LOUD, and the only thing that shuts it up is huge doses of empathy.

Putting myself in the other guy’s shoes for a minute silences the voice of judgment.

The good news is, we can always find our way back to love. The Four Agreements helps me with this:

  • Be impeccable with your word (Speak kindly and in truth to yourself and others)
  • Don’t take things personally (Oy!  The hardest for me.)
  • Don’t make assumptions (Another biggie.)
  • Always do your best.

Our biggest mistake when dealing with people not following OUR script? Trying to change them.  

Honey, you’ll wear yourself OUT.

I’ve decided to wave the white flag and trade my expectations for acceptance.

When I accept people, just as they are, the energy between us is completely different. It no longer drains or disappoints me to be with them. And oh how good it feels to spend time with someone who accepts me (more than expects from me.)

My friend Renee is a “no expectations” sister. She always lets me stay at her house when I’m traveling for work to Philadelphia. It may have been months since I’ve seen her, but she’ll take one look at me when I arrive and say, “Go straight to bed.”

She might have been looking forward to sister time and a long talk – but I don’t have to perform for her. I don’t have to dance around my exhaustion to make her feel our time together is worthwhile. For her, it’s enough that we are in the same house at the same time. And there will always be coffee time in the morning.

And coffee time means her husband Steve, who is a brother to me, will be at that table.

Those smiles! Pure love and acceptance.

Double doses of love and acceptance.

Renee is the one who introduced me to Angel Cards (the genesis of our Word of the Week tradition). We start every morning together picking a word for the day. There is a sweetness to the ritual that is amplified by Renee’s palpable hope that, for me, the day ahead will be the best day ever.

I can’t let Renee down, because she loves so purely and completely.

Everyone needs a Renee. And I am trying to be more like her.

More on that and a plea for help with the new Word of the Week! (The universe knows I need to work on this area, pronto!)

https://youtu.be/t10yJPuHbxw

How do YOU find balance in your life? Would love to hear your thoughts…

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Thoughts About Thoughts (and the New WOW)

Not all thoughts deserve to be vocalized.

There are some ideas that burn in your brain and demand to be voiced.  In my experience, I’ve found that those are usually the ones better left unsaid.

A passionate pounding attached to a thought is an indicator that I need to sit on it for a while, until it is less energized by the heat of the moment.

Sometimes, those thoughts eventually diminish in power and disappear all together.

Others STEW to a simmer, and you can’t shake them like sticky tape.

One of the best ways to dislodge nagging thoughts is to expose them.  

Sometimes, I talk to myself and that helps.

Other times, I expose those murky thoughts to a trusted friend and in simply speaking them out, their power is reduced to a manageable status.

Then there are times when the thoughts just won’t exit, and a conversation must be had with someone about whom you are HAVING those thoughts.

Yuck.

I love encouraging people, talking up the good, speaking life into situations, coaching to dislodge negativity.

But I HATE sticky conversations that could result in:

  • Anger
  • Rejection
  • Defensiveness
  • And raiding the refrigerator to assuage the angst of the confrontation.

Since this past week’s word has been COMMUNICATION, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve had to have some tough conversations.

I went through my process, first talking to myself.  Then talking to not one, not two, but three trusted friends.  During this time, I backed off from the person about whom I was having the thoughts to “clear my mind.”  But the backing off in itself was also communicating.

Actions really do speak louder than words, and silence can be deafening.

What could have been “nipped in bud” three days sooner with a candid (but loving) conversation, was made needlessly bigger by my ghosting of the person.

Yep, the four-letter monster of FEAR crept in, I allowed it to shut me down, and in doing so,  my thoughts became further jumbled.  When they finally came out (not in graceful, flowing words), it was like verbal diarrhea.

The good news is that COMMUNICATION (in this instance) was two-way.  And the recipient was full of love, not fear.

That meant I was responded to with patience, kindness, thinking no evil and taking no account of a suffered wrong.  Thank God for a person who lives by the four agreements!  (They don’t take things personally.)

It’s not your perfect communication that is effective in life, though sometimes it’s a catalyst for great good.  No, sometimes it is your jumbled up blapping, met with love, that reveals what is most important in life.

Which always turns out to be…LOVE.

My closing thoughts on COMMUNICATION and a quite appropriate new WOW to take us through the next two weeks:

Hang in there!  We’re ALL waiting for something.  May we have extra doses of patience to wait with JOY and not angst.

Much love (and as my friend Denny always used to say):  Love much.

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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