The older I get the more I work to manage my expectations and be appreciative and grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. Nonetheless, there are times when I just get disappointed. It may last just a moment or linger for a while as it has with a recent incident with my older son. My wife and me have gotten so much better at NOT allowing the little things to cause rifts or hurt feelings though her favorite words are,” You hurt my feelings.”
What causes disappointment? Usually, it begins with expecting something or something from someone. If you buy a lotto ticket, you may be disappointed you didn’t win. If you’re expecting something in the mail, you may be disappointed it didn’t arrive today. Those examples are the small stuff. But, it’s people that can disappoint us the most – IF we allow ourselves that selfish indulgence.
I get disappointed with our government and sometimes will go on a rant about politics on my radio show, to my family, or in a blog as I recently did with My Boys Would Be Better Off If I Abandoned Them. I then went on ranting further on the same subject in Segment One of this week’s Radio Show.
I remember how distinctly disappointed I’d get on a regular basis in my former career in showbiz when I didn’t get returned phone calls from buyers and/or people I wanted/needed something from. Of course, in my single days, I’d get disappointed if SHE didn’t call back. My parents never disappointed me, as an adult. They were there for me all the time. A-ha! Might that be the source of this emotional titanic for me? Might have to ask the therapist!
The more I expect nothing, the more I am happy. When I then get something, it’s a gift rather than fulfilling an expectation. Isn’t that a better way to live? Sure wish I could do that more often!
I wanted my son to lend his musical expertise to one of my I’m NOT That Dad vlogs. The first time I asked him he expressed that he couldn’t see playing music with, “THAT song.” We had a minor fight. We then worked out what I thought were the ground rules for future requests.
I then went to him under those terms and he again refused to do it. This time, I was really disappointed. I was smart enough not to instigate a fight, but as my wife so often says, “My feelings were hurt.” My son knew it. He also probably knew he should’ve said “Yeah, of course I’ll do it, dad.”
The request followed my going with him to buy a custom drum set for his college journey that is set to begin at The Berklee College of Music in the fall. While there, I did some video with the owner of the drum company and my son. I thought asking him to score this vlog was the perfect way he could help me out and was exactly up his alley.
He expressed one excuse after another for not doing it. I was disappointed. I was hurt. I still am carrying a grudge, though I’m working to let it go. Holding a grudge does me no good. I discussed it with my wife and, to my surprise, she fully agreed with me (not a common occurrence).
Now, it’s up to me – not my son – to handle my disappointment. And, the lesson here for you and me is to own our own issues and not blame the other. Not blame the world at large for your misfortune, not blame the government, not blame your family, but let it go. I’m fond of saying that the only good thing about getting older is getting better at handling the emotions of life and relationships. This is the perfect example. Maybe I’ll get it someday?