When people say they’re disappointed in you, it’s because you’re not acting according to their expectations of you.
In most cases, these people’s opinions simply don’t matter. Live your life the way you choose to live it. I was trapped by my parent’s expectations and dogma for 30 years before I came to my rescue.
I knew as a teenager that what I wanted was different than what they wanted, but any time I stepped out of line, they put me in my place with that “disappointed in you” routine. I was disappointed in me too, but for opposing reasons. I hated not having the courage to be different—to be me. And I lived that way through college and into the first 10 years of my marriage.
It hurt to be me, and until the pain caused by betraying myself outweighed the pain and disappointment I would cause my parents by living true to myself, I remained trapped.
When I finally had the strength to break free from their expectations, I found myself and I found my happiness. Their disappointment in me hit an all-time low and remains there, but for the first time in my life, I’ve been able to look in the mirror and not feel shame and disappointment for living someone else’s life.
And for me, that freedom has been worth all the disappointment in the world.
One of the best parts about where I live is the drive home. My house is at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and they tower above me as I head home. I’ve always lived near the mountains, and they hold a lot of memories for me.
Today as I drove home, I remembered my Grandpa. He was both stern and gentle. He didn’t tolerate time wasting or goofing around when it was time to work. There are a lot of folks like that in farm country.
Despite his stern nature, he allowed us all to make mistakes—sometimes really expensive ones: broken tractors and machinery, bent pipes, and crashed motorbikes to name a few. He brushed these off like they were nothing and taught us how to fix them all. He was patient, and viewed mistakes as a natural part of life.
Around him I felt safe, and I knew that no matter what happened, he’d have my back.
Although my grandpa has passed away, his influence lives on. As I raise my own children, I’m often put in situations where I turn angry or even want to micro-manage their actions and projects. As I reflect on how my Grandpa would handle these moments, I realize that the best action is to step back and let my kids make their own mistakes. Along with those mistakes, they will find that just like my Grandpa, I too will be there to support them, no matter what.