Expectations and frustration
These past two weeks, there’s been a topic I have been desperately trying to assess in a new blogpost : expectations and frustration. Something i had already talked about in my previous writings, but i thought it deserved a dedicated blogpost. Because they are part of everybody’s life, and they go together, as a pair. I actually had started writing on this even before i flew to Bali.
I wrote a lot, and lost myself in complex and loooong analysis, but i could not figured out how to express it properly, and what was exactly the outcome of all these thoughts.
I clearly had expectations about this topic, because it is an important one for me.
And guess what? it created frustration, because i really wanted to find a way to talk about it…
At some point, i told myself i maybe had to write about something else first, something that wasn’t so vivid.
But then, i remembered a e-mail conversation i had with a friend 3 months ago. He was experiencing a lot of frustration in his life and asked me « what does it take to happy? »
That was a very good question, and i read the answer i gave him back then, this morning, after breakfast. Here is one of the thing i told him :
« During that past year, I have realized that actually, the moments where i am the happier are the one when i don’t except anything from a situation and i allow myself to follow the flow. When you are someone that tends to be in control, it is really hard at first, but you learn, and it is getting easier and easier »
And all of a sudden, everything got clearer. It hit me. I remembered the truth i already knew. The one that had been blurred by my arrival and all the novelty i had to process here. I understood that I was questioning it in the wrong way in all the writings I had done these past two weeks. So, I grabbed my scooter, drove to a peaceful place called Bambu Indah, close from my new home, and i started writing this brand new blogpost, completely leaving behind my previous writings. It was time for a reset.
These past 3 weeks in Bali, i have been experiencing a lot of new and interesting situations, that challenged my ability to let go on expectations and frustration. As i said in my previous blogpost, when coming here, i expected to be a very busy bee, I thought i would finally be action oriented, sorting out my work projects, all these things i have in my head, in my heart, in my guts. Now that i am here, I can tell you that things are happening, but definitely not in the way i expected. And i fought against it at first.
Now, I realize that I had pretty frozen ideas about how things could happen for me in Bali. Mostly (i think) because, prior to my departure, many people questioned me about what i was going to do in Bali, how my days would be, what was the outcome i expected, what were exactly these projects and ideas i wanted to work on for my future. Each time it happened, i was trying at first to avoid answering, because truth is, i had no real idea about what could happen, even if i have plenty of ideas i wanted to explore further. But either they were insisting, or i was feeling obligated to find an answer, because unscounsciously i wish i knew more about the answer.
Truth is, i came here following a intuition, and i felt i would find the proper surrounding to go on, on whatever i had to go on, period. And for that, i know i was right, 200% right.
But that answer is not enough for most people, or i convinced myself it was not enough, so i forced myself to give more detailed answers, mostly because i genuinely care about them and i didn’t wanted them to worry. And also, I didn’t wanted to face the underlying question that my move here could just be a hiding place. Which was also my own underlying question, in the pre-departure moments of doubt. Hello there, saboteur!
I know now that doing this is a trap :
Some (most?) people, don’t really get the journey i am in. So they ask questions, because they are interested, or don’t get it and try to understand, or because they worry about me being lost. The process i am in can be scary. For me it is sometimes scary too, but mostly when i face the questions and i force myself to find an answer. It does not mean that the answers i give are a lie, but it is just one of the (many) possible outcome.
Trying to make my journey understandable to people asking questions brings me to shortcuts, and tends to narrow the possibilities to make it rational, to look like i have a plan. Because after a full sabbatical year, everybody wants me to have a plan, to go back to action, to work life. And i want it too, actually. But not in rush, not because of some fears or saboteurs.
In life, the more we try to rationalise our core intuitions, the more it is counterproductive.
We have to be careful about what we say : because before giving an answer, we think at how we have to answer to the person asking. We adjust our answer depending on the person, what we know about his or her beliefs, story, view of the world. We are cautious. But we should be even more cautious about what we think and what we say. Because what we think becomes what we say, and what we say is what we become. As a consequence, by defining/rationalizing our future when we think and talk, we convince ourselves that there is only one possible reality, consciously, or unconsciously. We shut down opportunities, the same opportunities we wish we grab.
Usually, people who really get my journey don’t ask that kind of question, because they are at the same point than me, or have been there. They know how hard and pressurizing it can be to answer these questions.
What i am experiencing here in Bali, is to let go on all these frozen expectations, to connect to my inner truth.
Not having expectations does not mean lowering our value as a human being. It does not mean to not have a purpose, a life goal. It means that we have to trust and follow our instinct and intuitions, in order to reach that goal. Grab what life offers us everyday, because everything happens for a reason, and having too many expectations about how things are supposed to happen prevent us to embrace opportunities that show up on our path and understand the synchronicity of all things.
We all have to find a way, on a daily basis, to clear the outside world’s noise, to clear the expectations, and reconnect to our values, strengths, skills, that make our added value in this world. And accept that things can take time. That life rarely happens the way we thought/hoped it would.
I now know more than ever that I’ll figure myself out when i’ll stop rushing/trying to figure myself out! It is funny because i read the exact same sentence on a medium post today.
The issue of being patient is coming back in all of my blogposts. Because for me, as for most people i think, it is one of the main challenge. I have never been really good with patience, and it has always played tricks on me, in every aspect of my life. Not embracing patience leads to frustration. That impatience is directly related to fear : fear of the unknown, of missing out, of financial security, of failure and also of success. Once we understand that, we have the tools to unlock the frozen patterns and limiting beliefs, to understand, embrace, and let go all these fears.
Here in Ubud, i am lucky to be surrounded by people who are good at this, even if we all face that challenge on a regular basis in our own way. But the more we are conscious about it, the more we find the positive ways to deal with it, clear the noise and recenter.
The final word of this post will come from a discussion i had yesterday with a very interesting person (that has witnessed and maybe suffered my frustration and impatience — sorry). His words pushed me to write, whatever the outcome, and inspired these final words (merci Ludovic!) :
I have to learn to say no more often when people ask questions, and to not feel bad when i don’t have the answers. Same for invitations.
Even if iI risk to disappoints people, even if they worry. I think for example that if my family read this blogpost, they might worry, because it can seem like I struggle. Well yes, and no, i am just on my way (ne vous inquiétez pas, je vais très bien!).
Everybody should do this actually. Respect themselves more. Be a bit more selfish. Some are better than others in saying no, and I really respect that actually. Saying no does not mean you will loose people’s respect or affection. It is often the contrary that happens actually, because you are able to set your own boundaries. It is not about refusing all question and invitation, it is about saying yes when it is good for you, and as a consequence good for the other peoples.
Even if it can sound contradictory, learning to say no more will allow you as a consequence to say yes more to what is good for you, for your own flow, intuitions, and it is the best way in moving forward. And at some realize that you have figured it all out !
i will end this post by a quote from Gandhi
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your word become actions, your actions become habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny”
So choose cautiously what you believe in and what you think, it has more consequences than what you think!