Have you ever thought that someone was going to do something, and the mere thought of it pissed you off? Like you know that they are going to let you down or do something that is really uncool but there is nothing you can do to stop it? Then your head starts the story about how they always do this or never do that...you work yourself into a lather and then much to your surprise, the other person doesn’t do at all what you thought they’d do...and then you find yourself in a place where you are all riled up but seriously and truly over nothing because the thing you were so upset about never happened?
I call this resentment expectation letdown. You are all set to be really upset about something and have this great expectation that you are really going to have some good reasons to be so upset and then it doesn’t happen and you feel oddly letdown. You didn’t want the thing to happen but then when it doesn’t, you feel like you got cheated or something?
It is weird but it happens. Not often to me anymore. But, sadly, it sometimes still does.
What I have found out about this is that there is still a part of me (admittedly a much smaller part than ever before) that likes feeling badly. That I get some sort of perverse thrill out of being upset, letdown, angry or resentful. Like if I miss an opportunity to suffer, there is this part of me that feels kind of cheated.
Fucked up, I know.
The good news is that I haven’t felt this way in a long time but I heard a friend describing just this scenario the other day and I could so relate. I related to every single step on the path to experiencing the let down. It is totally stupid yet I have done it a lot in my life.
I feel a lot less resentful these days. I also choose to suffer way less than I used to. I have done a lot of work to weed out the parts of me that enjoy feeling shitty. I still love sad songs and movies. But I prefer things with happy endings especially when real life doesn’t promise them.
I am continually amazed how much my mind will fill in gaps. Just make shit up out of thin air and then make it true. A friend of mine’s kid said when he was little “Facts aren’t always true.” Boy did he see the future on that one! I would modify it to say “the facts that my head creates are rarely true.” Which is why I experience the letdown. My head so needs to believe everything I think. That when what I think comes into stark contrast with reality, there is nothing to do but be let down.
Today, I feel that less and less. I spend a lot more walking in the light today rather than hiding in the shadows. I am grateful for the sunshine and the warmth and the more fluid relationship I have with my thoughts. I can literally stop an entire sticky and spellbinding thought cascade with the simple, thought clearing idea that I would rather be happy than right and my head is a place where all sorts of interesting but wrong ideas come from. I do not believe everything I think today and that has given me a great amount of peace. Today, I am wrong a lot and that is ok. In fact, I am often quite happy to be wrong.
I would love to tell you that resentment expectation letdown is a thing of the past, but we all know it isn’t. However, I can continue to do the work to make it not a thing of this day right here. I can be happy that I am here, enjoying this precious human life.