Limiting beliefs can limit our outcomes

The mindset of pessimism and limiting beliefs can run deep. I was struck recently by a headline in the UK’s “Telegraph” that “We’ll never have it so good again“, with a report about the declining opportunities facing today’s middle class young. From the self-development perspective, it was the mindset and outlook on life of having disappointed expectations and also that the outcome was bound to be worse that grabbed my thinking. Whilst appreciating that young people are having a particularly difficult time in the current Great Recession and acknowledging that this is far from acceptable in public policy terms, it … Read more

Where desire, need and wanting can cost us unless we let go

If you watch a small child who hasn’t got what he or she wanted, it’s very likely their face will pucker up, there will be a pause, a deep gasp for air and then out will come a traumatised scream. It’s not the scream of one physically hurt. It’s more likely the rage of disappointed expectations. We got to experience and express it early on, and were well-practised at it, until we learned more subtle and skillful ways to get our own way. Disappointed expectations can often be expressed as rage. The pain that underlies it, the depth of the … Read more

When other people don’t show up as you want

One might think that a child gets used to disappointments, that as he or she does not get what they wanted they learn some way of moderating their expectations and learn not to feel such angst when it doesn’t happen.Yet, perhaps many a young person will say that nothing compares to being disappointed in love. Have you been so utterly in love with someone and thought him or her a total angel only to have all those expectations of joy to be crushed when you got dumped or it didn’t turn out some other way what you had expected? Some … Read more

Need expectation and jealousy as the three love destroyers

In his book “Friendship with God”, Neale Donald Walsch gives three love-killers as need, expectation and jealousy. It’s a powerful ego trio and good material for our ego watch today, given the approach of Christmas. It can be sometimes very difficult to disentangle need, expectation and jealousy from love but they can cut across the clear, simple, unconditional caring for another and poison it entirely. Need can include wanting from another as if one’s happiness and even survival depends on it. “I must have this in order to feel OK”. So it brings in things like deficit need, an unsatisfied … Read more

Reflections on receiving unconditionally

The other side of giving at Christmas is receiving. Some say that in order to receive well, you need to develop the art of giving. Others put it the other way round. If giving unconditionally, without ego, is a powerful practice, what about the ability to receive? Receiving is riddled with stuff too. A child might be thinking, “What am I going to get?” and might have all sorts of concerns about whether he or she gets this or that toy or bit of technology or whatever. There’s lots of mixed messages around giving and therefore receiving. We can translate … Read more

Doing things for others unconditionally, for the love of it

I’ve been writing this week about praising others, appreciation, and about giving and receiving. More than once I referred to doing this unconditionally. What is the importance of unconditionality in giving and receiving? People can place an expectation on giving and receiving, a condition. For example, if I praise you, I might expect that you like me in return or be nicer to me in future. So I might expect to get something back in return, either overtly or covertly. “If I do this for you, I expect something back.” This can make relationships very transactional. And quite deadly. I … Read more

Not being attached to what you want

At work, desire is rampant. You want to please your boss, to get a promotion, to get a rise, to impress colleagues, to be well-regarded, to win that contract, to make more money, etc. Desire is something of a paradox to seekers of inner peace as we also have needs to satisfy in order to live. And at work, there we are busy earning money in order to do that. So it sounds reasonable. I guess one way of looking at this whole matter is to separate out everyday functioning to support ourselves and others. As Zen monks were told, … Read more

Are you attached to your own expectations?

I wonder what news you’ll be waking up to today. I wonder what will have been happening in another part of the globe as you slept? And, if you’re going to work, what will the situation be like when you get there. Is what’s happening concerning you? You might have wondered what happened to your weekend, as whatever positive vibes that might have been around have probably evaporated. Whatever plans you might have had at the end of last week might well be out of the window as things might have considerably changed. Coming back to surprises isn’t something many … Read more

Not having what I want now

A by-product of recessionary times might prove to be a shift in cultural attitudes towards the “now” thinking current over the last few decades. Such is the scale of the hardship now being visited on sections of the community that we’re having to postpone our projects, to wait till circumstances are right for us. This can require qualities often seen as unfashionable but useful, like patience and persistence, trust and durability, sticking with it even when things don’t seem to be going your way. “Now” thinking would be that I have what I want “now”. Immediacy is what matters. I … Read more

When people don’t show up

Someone whom I was looking forward to meeting today just called and cancelled. What I thought would be a good afternoon just went up in smoke. Disappointed expectations. What happens for you when people don’t do what you wanted or expected? Do you feel let down, angry, disappointed – or cynical? Think about all those times when people didn’t do what you hoped or expected or show up in the way you thought they would. A girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you. A work-colleague let you down badly over some support you were expecting. A friend persistently fails to show up … Read more