Great Expectations = Deep Frustrations!

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Okay – I just confirmed the meaning of the word empower. It means giving power to someone. Does that mean someone else will oh so graciously provide us with the ‘power’ to lead our lives the way we want to?

The root of the matter is that we should never try to ‘control’ other people’s lives in any way. And to do that we need to keep a strict check on our expectations of others by exercising a lot of control over ourselves first.

The three instances discussed below expose us to varying degrees of empowerment.

Instance 1: King Yayati’s great expectations from his sons:

The epic Mahabharata starts off with the story of this great young king called Yayati. He is cursed with old age by a sage for a mistake that he committed. Yayati humbly begs for forgiveness from the sage. But the curse cannot be taken back. The sage, however, says he can exchange his old age with any one of his sons for as long as he wants.

Yayati being a good father assumes all his sons will willingly exchange their youth for his old age. He calls them one by one and is angry, shocked and disappointed when they all refuse to do so.

He curses and punishes them and allots kingdoms which are constantly at war with neighboring kingdoms to them. Only his younger most son exchanges his youth for his old age, and he blesses him with a major portion of the kingdom at a later stage.

The details may not be very accurate. The essence of the story is more important here.

Why do we have such high expectations from our children all the time?

As parents, our prime duty is to nurture them with a sound education and value system and take care of them to the best of our ability.

As parents, and first as human beings, we too will make plenty of mistakes all through our lives.

Just because we are seniors, does not mean that we are entitled to complete and unquestioning obedience from our children at all times.

We should bear the brunt of our mistakes instead of making our children scapegoats for our mistakes.

Differences of opinions arise because there are differences in perspectives.

We cannot classify and compartmentalize everything as ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

Only when we let go of our strong subconscious tendency to control situations and turn them in our favor all the time – will we be able to embark on the journey of empowering our loved ones.

Empowering our loved ones means giving them total control of leading their lives their way.

Empowering our loved ones means accepting total responsibility for our lives first.

Perhaps our children don’t or are unable to fulfill the high expectations that we have of them.

That does not mean we should indulge in blame games, verbal duels, criticism, emotional blackmail, guilt trips and punishment to vent out our frustration.

Great expectations = Deep frustrations!

Both these subconscious elements should always be in our total control.

Instance 2: An old eagle’s zero expectations from the world:

A beautiful video drives home the point that I want to make here.

An old eagle is unable to fly long distances at great heights due to old age. It is unable to perch on branches too because its talons have become blunt. So it goes off to a distant mountain peak and painfully pulls out each one of its old talons. An excruciatingly painful process indeed.

It goes into a kind of semi-hibernating mode – and stays hungry and thirsty for a long while. It waits for new talons to grow on its legs. And after a long, long while – it is able to fly again at great heights for long distances after the new talons have grown on its legs.

The details may not be very accurate. The essence of the story is more important here.

This bird, an ordinary eagle – does not expect anything from its fellow eagles or children or the world.

Perhaps this eagle does not even know how many children it has.

The question of empowering the children does not even arise here because the eagle takes up total responsibility for its own life and quality of life.

The concept of empowering other people will arise only if we subconsciously assume that we have the power to control the lives of other people.

Pause a while to think for a while – if we don’t empower people and allow them to lead their lives their way – they will do by usurping, demanding and questioning our authority over their lives.

Instance 3: An old lady’s concept of empowerment:

An 80-year-old lady sells her house and decides to move into an old age home. She shares an excellent rapport with all her children, but she does not expect them to take care of her. She feels she alone is responsible for her life. She has liquidated all her assets and operates a single bank account.

All she has to do is to sign a couple of cheques every month to take care of all her expenses. She is realistic and knows that she will never be able to master skills like internet banking or operate a mobile phone at her age. So she opts for banking operations that she is most comfortable with. She gives herself a lot of time to adapt to the old age home scenario and is happy that she has been able to lead a stress-free life on her own so far.

No, that does not definitely mean we cut ourselves off from our children completely and retire to old age homes.

Neither do I imply that all of us should stay away from our children.

It just means that we need to empower our children to take decisions based on their choices.

We need to empower them with freedom.

They are entitled to lead their lives their way anyway.

Their freedom was never ours in the first place.

Just because we spent two decades taking care of them, does not mean they are obliged to take care of us and cater to all our whims and fancies all through our lives.

We need to manage our expectations of them.

It does not matter whether our children are living with us or are living away from us.

We will always love our children till eternity.

And our children will also love us till eternity.

Our children will never and can never shun us or stop loving us.

Remember we are discussing something that involves a lifetime of love here.

Our children simply express their love for us in a very different way.

That we are not able to decipher their language of love is our problem – not theirs.

Tune into those quiet subdued conversations that we had with our children –when they quite rightly asked us to regain control of our lives by engaging ourselves in some meaningful productive activity.

Just because we are frustrated with the ‘empty nest syndrome’ does not mean we have the right to park all our frustrations into their busy lives and mess it up totally.

For in order to empower our children, we need to regain control over our lives first.

And this begins with taking total responsibility for our lives by managing our time, the quality of our lives, our energy and our expectations of others.

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By |2017-09-01T18:02:52+00:00December 19th, 2016|Career, Personality Development, Skill Development|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Deep Kumar September 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Great lifestyle tips!!!

    First of all Thanks for this 3 Superbly story.No need to say that all the lines of this article are very important but i want to give you specially thanks for this lines…”Empowering our loved ones means giving them total control of leading their lives their way.Empowering our loved ones means accepting total responsibility for our lives first.”

    Not only between parents and children’s,it’s applicable for all relationship that great expectation is deep frustration.If we expect more from someone but can’t get anything as expected then we get hurt.If we don’t expect anything from anyone then there is no chance to be disappointed.Everyone has the right to lead their own life.There is no good on pressure.Obviously the parents are understand this important fact then our lifestyle will be more quiet & smart.

    Dear Admin,
    I feeling very happy to say that i become a fan of your blog.No need to say that your Every single article is very important & helpful for me & obviously i think It will contribute a lot to build a digital & smart India.

    Go through, all the best.

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