"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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They Broke Your Expectations

No matter who you attribute the quote to, the idea that Expectation is the root of all heartache speaks truth to a level that most of us would rather not see or ever have to deal with, yet it is a daily occurrence, one that can fell the mightiest of men and women who, under the weight of innocent hope, will crumble when expectations (real or perceived) are not met.

It’s true in life and love: They didn’t break your heart; they broke your expectations.

They broke your expectations, that expectant hope that something or someone you held dear and that once burned so brightly you believed you could map you future to the stars with their light and energy. Then your world went dark, and the weight of loss and loneliness fell back upon your shoulders causing you to crash back down to earth.

The pain of loss is hard enough but add to that the innocent hope of expectation that when broken is shattered beyond repair, rarely to be picked up or put back together. For many people, this can be the wound, the scar or break that they allow to define their life.

Please don’t let that happen to you.

A few years ago I found a quote that said, “You may be cracked, but you are not broken.” I love the idea of a sliver of hope and light seeping through the crack to provide enough nourishment to help you regain your footing to renew your life, but this idea still holds the reminder that you are a product of a fracture that is not quite healed but is getting better and stronger daily.

Expectations–we all have them, and we place them on others who we deem worthy of our time and attention. With all that maneuvering, is it any wonder that others grow tired of the weight of the responsibilities that we have placed on them to meet our wants, needs and desires?

No doubt, in the beginning, the commitment of expectations was an easy yoke to bear because the newness felt light and breezy, but over time, it became a constricting and heavy weight for the one who yearns for the freedom of a life without perceived expectations from you or anyone else.

I am not saying that they had the right to cast off the weight that they had assumed at one time, but today we see more and more people who come to a point in life where they refuse to carry the weight of obligation that they once accepted. And when they break free of the harness, they bolt, leaving a mess of life behind them for others to clean up.

As hard as it is to believe, there are two sides to every story.

If your expectations have been broken and you are standing on the stage cleaning up the mess that was going to be your life, please accept my sympathies. You should never have been left to deal alone with the shattered world that you were given. It’s not fair, and it’s not right, and no one cares as deeply as you. That being said, you now have a choice for how you are going to live the rest of your life.

And while it will not be easy seeing your past walk by you in the grocery store or at the movies or your favorite restaurant, always remember that it is your past, and only you can take the steps necessary to walk into your future with your head held high. No one said it would be easy, so hold on to the voice from childhood that reminds you that “You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne)

Remember, they didn’t break your heart. They broke your expectations, and expectations can be re-imagined.

You are smart and capable, and I have no doubt that you can re-engineer your expectations in another direction for a bright, healthy, safe and secure future. Will it be like it was before? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it is better or worse–it will just be different.

The hard work is now on you to choose what you are going to do with the rest of your time, your life and your future to make the best of all you have and enjoy it.

Sad but true, there is no knight in shining armor to save you, and there is no damsel in distress for you to save. There are broken hearts and minds inside of broken people who need to wipe clear the window of opportunity to see life for what it now offers.

Do not allow the past to cloud your future, no matter how painful it was. For many, your honest expectations were broken, no doubt, but now you have to step up and out of what you thought your life would be and create a new life for yourself whether you do it alone or if, in time, you find another kind soul to hold your hand on the journey.

The fact is there are two sides to every story. So, let me speak to the other one who felt put upon by the yoke of expectations.

You didn’t break their heart. You broke their expectations.

Both are hurtful, by the way, and over time you will come to understand that half of all the angst was on you just as much as it was them; you both bear the responsibility, and now your only option is how you will move forward without adding any more pain to the ending.

According to the dictionary, the word “Expectations” is a noun that means, a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

Remember, progress is made by moving forward into your future; not by looking back into your past. And although it is comforting in a strange sort of way to reminisce about the hurts you’ve overcome, it really does you no good to re-live your pain for the sake of your pain. To be successful, you need to set a path forward to grow into the rest of your life. Anything less is an affront to your future self.

Joan Didion said, “To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

So let me close with the idea of self-respect. You know you have a purpose in life, and to fail to achieve what you know you can do would be a sadness greater than any expectation you put on someone else or even yourself.

To be willingly adrift in your own pain of dashed expectations and not recognize the new lease on life that you have been given, would be the greatest act of personal disrespect that you could do to yourself. You are on this earth for many reasons, and I am pretty sure being disrespected by yourself is not one of them.

As hard as it is to grasp, please hear me. Nobody broke you. They broke your expectations, and while that has hurt you, it is not your final chapter; it is simply your next chapter, and now it is up to you to finish writing.

If you have a friend who needs encouragement please forward this email and suggest they sign up! I am reading this week’s podcast in the link below – it is a 10-minute listen. You can listen now or download for later. Download all my podcasts from iTunes, Stitcher, Podkicker or Soundcloud. Thanks for reading.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. - Carl Sandburg