Some years ago I suddenly became possessed by the yearning, this really, really strong yearning for freedom. I wanted to do things I felt like doing and not those other people expected me to do. I wanted to get rid of the feeling of responsibility and to forget about other peoples’ expectations about me.
I was trying to persuade myself that if people have some sort of expectations about me it is their own fault if they do not match with reality. Which I think is a valid point. I was trying to persuade myself that their dissapointment in me has nothing to do with me directly, with how I am or how I am not but with the wrong picture of me they had built up in their minds. I still think I had some good points here but the thing was I felt awfully guilty each time I acted contrary to what I knew were other peoples’ expectations about me. And dissapointing them in one way or another felt awful.
So I have realized that this journey of mine towards freedom is basically a journey of detachment, a process of learning how to let go. I should think that all of our problems, miseries, and unhappiness are caused by fixation—latching onto things and not being able to release them.
So, I was totally fixated on other peoples’ expectations about me. But then slowly, really, really slowly and with hard work I managed to let go of it, little by little. I was no longer trying to always be a perfect daughter, a perfect girlfriend, a perfect student, a perfect this or that. Well, the thing is there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is just an idea in our minds (and the sooner we feel this, the better for us), so trying to achieve something that does not even exist is pretty…pretty how shall I call it: crazy, pathetic, exhausting…whatever. So now I am no longer afraid to dissapoint and no longer afraid to do things that might be considered as “wrong”. It is all about concepts and about shifting a perspective. If I am more myself, who I really am and not who other people want me to be, people will gradually change their picture of me in their minds and their dissapointments will not come that often. It is a hard life to always strive to perfection which was what I was doing. Other peoples’ expectations inevitably keep increasing exponentially with your achievements. And sooner or later the whole thing becomes stifling and so terribly exhausting. It is liberating and refreshing to let go, to give yourself a permission to screw things up and to fail and to have the courage to dissapoint.
So, I am certain now that letting go of any fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom. So, I let go of perfection and of other peoples’ high expectations about me and it feels good and liberating and I am so much happier. And I know that if I am happy people around me will be happy as well and that is exactly what I have wanted all along: to make other people happy and to be happy myself.