Have you ever worked really hard to accomplish a goal and when you did accomplish it you felt a big let down? This kind of disillusionment is very common. Ambitious and dynamic people can have a string of successes, each on as empty as the one before. When this happens it can lead to deep despair and even suicide (not good!) or to an intense search for meaning (which is a good thing!).
One way to understand this problem is to examine this challenge is to look at Intentions vs. Expectations.
Living by intention is the flip side of living up to expectations. Living by intention strengthens and enlivens, while living up to expectations perpetuates cycles of hope, fear, stress and bewilderment.
This emotional turmoil and lack of mental clarity causes us to constantly choose the wrong goals as the solutions to our problems.
A client recently complained of stress and feeling that there was nothing he cared about. I asked him what he would do if he was financially free. He immediately said, “Play golf all over the world.” When I asked him why he wasn’t pursuing this dream he said, “Too many expectations.” I asked, “Whose expectations of what?” He said, ” My own.” But it became clear that what he thought of as “his own” expectations was really fear of what others would think of him.
When he realized that what he thought of as his internal standards were really fears of being judged by others, he began to release them. He was then able to begin planning a life that included golf trips instead of yearning for a ‘forbidden fruit’ unattainable because of required expectations.Expectations that block us in this way always come from outside us, from others, even though we think of them as our own. They do not come from our true center. They are false to us and they reinforce the dreaded sense that we are not good enough as we are. Trying to accomplish a goal to fix yourself or make yourself worthy is a hellish activity that creates stress, struggle, fear, and disappointment.
If this is a trap you also need to get out of set an intention (a daily intention, preferably when you first awaken) to notice something you feel grateful for. Appreciate your health, your good qualities, or remember specific things you do that benefit yourself and others. This is a healing practice. Do it often, just for a moment, throughout your day.
If you take a few minutes first thing in the morning when you wake up to set this intention and to visualize and sense yourself practicing it through the day, you’ll quickly find that living by intention nourishes your soul.
I often have helped clients in the midst of an experience of anxiety or despair identify and focus on something for which they feel grateful. To their astonishment, the seemingly intractable negative emotions dramatically and effortlessly disappear, replaced by an ease and lightness.
Imagine yourself free of the hope for success and the fear of failure to find your true interests and intentions. A true intention is an inspiration that comes from your True Self — a natural impulse to share life with all that lives. True intentions heighten your enthusiasm for the sheer joy of living, and free you from the fear of not measuring up to some standard of success and failure(aka, what others think).
In the atmosphere of joy your true interests and goals become apparent to you. Accomplishing your true goals is the way you celebrate life with everyone.
You can think of the practice of nurturing intention as a simple mental shift, like the shift from worry to prayer. When you catch yourself living under the burden of an expectation, shift to a life-affirming intention that comes from your heart. Instead of saying to yourself, “I have to . . .” say, “I want to . . .” in order to affirm your genuine desire — your true intention. Doing this, you will quite naturally begin to recognize the difference between your genuine desires to live fully and your false desires to fulfill expectations. In this way, expectations will stop blocking you, and you will find ways to incorporate into your life interests that enthuse you.
May each day of your life flow from the True Intention of your Spirit!
This CD/Mp3 can help. Please take a look: Clarifying Confusion
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