The Power of Disappointment

We’re taught that it is important to please people, especially those who sit in a position of power over us.  We strive to please our parents, teachers, and bosses.  Religions teach us to please our god or gods.  Fulfilling the expectations of those whose approval and blessing we desire is one of the most important responsibilities we are given throughout our lives.  Most of us put a great deal of effort into pleasing others.

Often, we put so much effort into pleasing others than there are entire industries built around teaching us to take our own expectations and desires for ourselves seriously enough to seek to please our own selves, as we’ve forgotten to do so.

Which is why, though we don’t actively think about it, the act of purposefully choosing to disappoint others is a powerful act, a profound statement.  When we choose to deliberately fail to please someone, to purposefully disappoint, or to at least allow that failure and disappointment, it’s a message.

It’s a reclaiming of our own power of decision.  It’s action which places our own needs and expectations above those of someone else.

In a spiritual sense, the force or being we work to please effectively occupies the center of our own existence and belief system.  It’s a telling exercise to look at how much of the efforts undertaken to please those most important in our existence also please ourselves.  Even more telling is who and what we are willing to disappoint, and what repercussions we expect for doing so.

And if we extend the same examination to the culture in which we live, both on a grand scale and in small contexts such as our families, neighborhoods, or workplaces, I would be surprised if most of us don’t realize that we’re expending a lot of energy pleasing people when deep down we don’t want to.  People whose expectations don’t align with ours.  People who have been given a place of priority in our lives that we feel they don’t deserve.

Situations in which we feel compelled to make a statement against those demands.  Situations where we might be doing ourselves a favor and contributing to the greater good by choosing to disappoint.

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