Magic Monday: Permission.

Expectations are a funny thing.

Oft times I have found that I live my life according to them.  Expectations that I set for myself, and expectations that I imagine others have for me as well.

Too often, my unhappiness is determined by these assumed expectations that I perceive others must have for me and my inability to meet them, or more so, my total lack of cheerful desire to want to do what it takes to meet them.

Personal and business life alike.

I had a most rewarding conversation with a dear photography mentor of mine last week that brought these expectations into a much clearer perspective.  I suddenly began to see my discouragement more so as the “guilt” that it really was.  Guilt that I wasn’t meeting a public expectation that in reality I had no desire to achieve anyway.

What an incredible amount of freedom to finally let go of those intangible expectations, and to instead concern myself with doing what I enjoy and what makes me happy.  Why should I spend time worrying about achieving things that are only meant to meet a perceived and probably imagined expectation anyway?

It reminds me of the quote:

“Don’t spend your life climbing the ladder of success, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall”.

Giving up wedding day photography a few years ago was one of these moments for me.  I finally confronted myself with the fact that I didn’t enjoy it.  I didn’t like it.  And I was only involved with it because I thought people expected me to do it.  What a wonderful sense of freedom to admit that it didn’t make me happy and instead, try to pursue a path that did.

There are some changes that I’ll be making for the future of my business.  Why?  Because I want to pursue things that I enjoy, and not just pursue those things that I feel expected to do.  I don’t want to spend my time and life trying to climb this challenging latter of success, only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.

I want to be pursuing a path of happiness.

Not a path TO happiness, but a path OF happiness.

If we’re not happy on the journey, we likely won’t be happy at the destination.

Here’s to letting go of imagined expectations.  And just like I happened to need the permission from someone else, to suddenly consider my own enjoyment, I hope this can be a sense of permission to anyone else out there who needs the same permission.

Loved this post by Kristin, reminiscent of the same sentiment.

Life is short.  Which wall is your ladder trying to climb?  The one you think you need?  The one you think others expect?  Or the one that makes you happy and is better for you in the long run?

What helps you filter out those distracting expectations?

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Someday she hopes to bike across Prince Edward Island and summit the Grand Teton.  For now, she bikes through fields of grain in lovely Cache Valley while pulling a bike trailer of precious hilarious cargo and hikes the stairs several times a day full of laundry and a bouncing baby boy.  Life is good.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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8 Responses

  1. For me the challenge is not so much realizing what I want or do not want in my life, it’s the crushing indecision that arises when I try to make a big choice. I’m not sure when I became so indecisive, but I think it’s getting worse as I get older. Thanks for the wake-up call.

  2. Oh yes, the guilt of expectations. Having children made me much better at evaluating the things that are truly important to me, and better at standing up for and protecting time for those things. My motto is: You can do anything, but you can’t do EVERYTHING!

  3. I have to continuously re-evaluate where am I am and where I want to be going. There is so much to see and do but not all of it is for me. Sometimes I just have to say “Oh that’s cool”.

  4. i love you. 🙂 🙂 And ooooooOOOoo: “If we’re not happy on the journey, we likely won’t be happy at the destination.” loooove that. Hugs.

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