Sunday, November 09, 2014


Bird - Balanced
Chinese Cemetery - Victoria BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2012

Why the blazes am I heading down this path on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning? Well, I am heading down this path because it came to me and because I believe I can offer some peaceful thoughts on the subject.

It seems to me that expectations are kind of tied up with opinions. We have our own, which may or may not have been influenced by our parents, our history, our spouse, media and so on. We also have the expectations and opinions that come to us quite directly in the now, like missiles.

I've been thinking about the height, depth and breadth of my self-expectations and how often I place them onto others. I am ridiculous for doing this. How many times do I talk about all of us walking our own paths in our own ways? Hypocrisy! Hypocrisy! 

Oh well. I am pleased to discover this about myself. As I continue to unpack it, I realize that my high self-expectations were seeded in my childhood. My understanding of one of my parents was that it was imperative to succeed - that there was no room for accident nor failure. Accident and failure resulted in anger, discipline and those, oh so awful, looks of disappointment. How could I not carry those expectations forward into my adulthood when they were as deep in my being as grain is to oak. The wonderful thing is that when we grow up, if we take the time to look at this stuff, with or without the help of psychology professionals, we get to untie the net and make it into something that fits us now or cast it off entirely. 

We have the opportunity to re-frame expectations as goals - if we wish. We have the capacity to try, to fail, to learn and grow. We have the capacity to acknowledge the same need in those who surround us. I would guess that everyone has felt like a failure in front of someone and, I know from personal experience, it is a wonderful feeling when someone stands by you through your errors and says, "Hey, it's okay. You can do it again. I'm here and I love you whether you succeed this time or whether you need to try again." 

You see, it is the path and not the destination. It is the relationships and the journey that make up the food of our lives. Whenever we reach the end of the road, do we want to be thinking, "Darn it, I wish I had done more - I wish I had at least tried"? Have fun on the journey. Don't worry too much if something breaks or fails. Just learn from it and move on. We are all perfect in our paths as long as we proceed at whatever speed and in whatever way works for us.

I made muffins this morning. 11 out of 12 worked. Is that a failure? Nah, I ate the bottom half of the broken one and I'll leave the top for J when she gets home. Now I know the muffins are tasty before I bring them to the party. Success! 

I dedicate this post to my partner who helps me learn about myself and guides me through my seriously debilitating self-expectations and my desire to be perfect. Instead, I am learning to try, to make time to do the things I love, regardless of how those things are received and others concepts of success. I am on my way.

-Gillian Cornwall, c. November 9, 2014

Many Boots, Many Treads
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2014

1 comment:

Hotel_Goddess said...

It is true, we allow others' opinions to mold expectations. The world would be a better place if we were just us; - wonderful, awesome us!