Release the Outcome

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by Jami Keller

So often we place expectations on others and on ourselves, and when those expectations are not met we feel disappointed, discouraged, and even irritated. And, I have learned the hard way that it’s always best to release expectations.

You are responsible for your side of the street. You cannot expect others to be what you want them to be, without taking away their autonomy.

Forcing my agenda on other people in my life had only come back to bite me in the butt. Let me tell you a story that really brought this lesson home for me, in a very scary and personal way.

I had chosen to go against my wife Marla’s advice while we were in a raft, heading towards a very large wave in the distance. She was feeling anxious, and suggested we skirt the wave to the far right, and I decided we would simply “skim the edge” of the wave to increase the thrill (Marla would say that it was already way too thrilling). And that’s what we did.

As we crested the peak of the “wave” we discovered it was actually an immense rock covered with water, and on the other side was a huge hole! These so-called ‘holes’ are made up of foamy, aerated water that provides less buoyancy, and they can feel like an actual hole in the river surface – most often creating fearful results for those caught in its grasp.

As we became engulfed in the hole’s massive pull, I was tossed into the raging, swollen river and didn’t emerge for another 30 yards (which seemed eternal as I wondered if my wife, mother-in-law, and my father-in-law had made it out of the suction power of the swirling waters).

I popped out of the water, searching frantically for signs of life. All I saw was the raft bobbing on top of the hole, seemingly stuck there forever. I panicked. Had I lost my loved ones to the depths of the miry river? In my panic, I was turned by the force of the water to face downstream and, much to my great relief, I spotted my family (safe and dragging their exhausted bodies onto the river’s bank).

What a lesson I learned that day. I can’t say I never ignored Marla’s sage advice again, but I certainly began to give it more stock than I ever had before. So, I now choose to remember the phrase, “Would I rather be right or in relationship?”

Sometimes you have to release your agenda to maintain relationships. This does not mean you shift your own moral or ethical stance. Just don’t make others fall into your little box so that you can be happy.

Can you think of a time when you chose to be right rather than keep your relationship healthy?