As many of you already know, I have been patiently waiting for my house in Columbia, SC to sell so my children and I can get our own place on the island. At least, I thought I was being patient.
I think it’s important to know that my house is adorable — any buyer would be lucky to own it, thus I was certain it would sell in a matter of weeks. I clung to this dysfunctional optimism despite many negative reassurances from anyone and everyone that the idea of my house selling quickly was laughable. Okay, they didn’t come right out and laugh, but their knowing grins were just as irritating.
My house remained on the market month after month and my frustration grew, mostly because I couldn’t reconcile my expectations with the reality. My house was supposed to sell quickly. I was supposed to get close to the asking price. None of that was happening and the kids and I are still living with my parents.
In my “Letting Go” lecture last week I heard myself saying that “An expectation is a premeditated resentment.” Soon after, I realized that my expectations about when and how my house should sell were creating just such resentments. Each month that my house remained on the market my resentments grew.
The notion that expectations are future resentments is applicable to so many aspects of life. How often do we harbor resentments because people don’t do or behave just as we expect? How often do we allow resentments or frustrations from vacations or events that didn’t go exactly as we planned to steal all possible enjoyment? Expectations are often elusive attempts at control. Not until we let go of our need for control can we allow the universe to do its magic which results in a wonderful byproduct, serenity.
Letting go is part of the realization that we can’t control others, and to some extent, outcomes. Letting go is the belief that things are exactly how they should be regardless of whether or not it’s what we wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that last sentence sounds a little too simple and that letting go is not a passive endeavor but rather an active choice – one that can be very difficult to make. However, what a great choice…cling to your rigid expectations and live in caustic resentment or give up your expectations and see where life takes you with fascination and curiosity?
With this reminder, I visited my home in Columbia and had my own little letting go ceremony. I reflected on many joyous memories the house has afforded me through the years — Gabrielle grinning from ear to ear with outstretched arms for me to lift her from her crib; Delany laughing hysterically when I sang the lollipop song; Raucous parties with dear friends, and many more. I was filled with gratitude which transformed my expectations and resulting resentment into a desire for the house to make it into the hands of just the right family, no matter how long that took.
And guess what happened…the universe did its magic two weeks later. My house is under contract! Ah, the joy of letting go.