What I’m inspired to talk about today is disappointment and dealing with disappointment, because there’s a lot of disappointing news out there. There are heartbreaking things, and then there’s other people’s responses to the disappointing news, which is also disappointing.
Then, there’s the disappointments when we let down ourselves. And I know that it’s one of the reasons why some of you did not enroll in the bunny slope- it’s not because you didn’t trust me. Not because you thought, Oh, is this going to be a good training? I think you’re pretty convinced that I can lead you places you want to go.
But, more because you didn’t trust yourself. Because you’ve let yourself down. You’ve disappointed yourself. You have unfinished projects, you have unfinished classes, you have unfinished books and you feel like I don’t deserve another one of these until I’ve finished up what’s on my plate.
And I just want to say put down the whip, for one thing- especially when it comes to workshops and trainings. I want you to imagine that you have a guardian angel who’s in charge of your education and she tells you when to turn it off. Like, those books that you’ve put down halfway through, it’s cause you were done. You were done with the experience, especially with most self-help books and most nonfiction books.
The really good stuff is in the first third of the book, and then it kind of peters out. Not all books are like that, of course. Some of them are wonderful all the way through, or have valuable stuff all the way through, but a lot of them start out strong and then that’s it- that’s sort of all they have.
Same goes with live trainings and workshops. I try to tune into as many of my colleagues’ and friends’ teachings as I can, partly because I’m a lifelong learner and I’m always interested in what they’re up to. But also, I want the extra vision. I want to be able to peer in there and be like, what are they doing? How are they doing it? And sometimes, wow, I’m disappointed. Their content is really slender and kind of weak, so you weren’t wrong to tune out. You’re just like, Oh, okay. Apparently I only needed 20 minutes of that. I paid the full tuition and I got what I needed in that first 20 minutes or that first class, or it was for three classes and I can check it off.
Isn’t that a nicer perspective than, Oh, I’m a failure because I didn’t check every box. I didn’t complete every thing.
I mean, this isn’t school, I’m not your mom and there’s no gold stars. So, if something isn’t holding your attention, that’s an invitation, right? Is it not holding your attention because it’s not really a good fit for you right now? Is it not holding your attention because you’re chickening out because it’s challenging you, and you’re not comfortable with that?
All disappointment is an invitation. That’s where I’m headed with this. And, it’s important to notice how you respond to disappointment.
Nothing bad is happening.
Write that down: nothing bad is happening. And this is a phrase that I use constantly in my life. It’s to assess what’s going on because sometimes it feels like something really bad is happening, but remembering the phrase, nothing bad is happening, does a few things for me.
One, it reminds me that I have a personal spiritual belief that we live in a benevolent universe- the nature of the universe bends towards kindness, towards love. Love is the energetic foundation of all things. So, if I believe that everything is love, then nothing bad is happening.
So, I stay grounded in that reality. It may not be what I want. It may not be what I prefer. It may not be how I would do it. But, it’s not necessarily bad.
And then the next question is, okay, well, if nothing bad is happening, what is happening?
Is something unfortunate happening, is something heartbreaking happening, something challenging, something terrifying, something destructive, something energizing or is something intimidating happening? What’s the actual word? The more precise you can get in your language, the better you’re going to be at assessing what’s happening.
The third question is, where is this calling me forward? How am I being invited to grow? Am I being called forward to be a more compassionate person? Am I being called forward to be a gentler, more forgiving person? Am I being called forward to be an enlightened witness?
Because, when it comes to someone else’s pain and trauma, that’s kind of all you can do. That’s all most of us can do. Some people are trained to do more, but for most of us just standing there and saying, I see you. That’s what makes the difference for people, right?
So, nothing bad is happening. If nothing bad is happening, what is happening and where’s the invitation for me. How am I being called forward to grow my being, called forward to be a better communicator, a stronger leader.