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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Growing Through the No’s

Updated: May 17

What started as a personal journal, sparked some inspiration for a new blog post. I figured my readers could get something out of it too, so here we are. Lately, I find myself daydreaming a lot, getting lost in my expectations for my future life & future self. Then returning to reality with a sourness in my mood & displeasure with where I am currently at. My expectations always seem so much greater & better than my current reality. But doesn’t it always seem like that? Isn’t that what dreams, aspirations, & expectations are made up of? All the things are seemingly sugary & nice, no spice. What I’ve come to understand during this part of my journey, filled with many changes, trials, tribulations, confusion, & disappointment, is the difference between my expectations versus my reality.

One thing I’ve always known about myself is that I am extremely impatient. Although I’ve grown to be better at having patience in various situations, I am still lacking in the area where I have patience with myself & the timing of things along my journey. I’m so hard on myself for so many things in life that I do not have complete control over. It’s just me being hard on myself because I set these super high expectations for myself & for my life & when my reality doesn’t align with the expectations I set I immediately feel like it’s all on me. But is it? Or is life just going the way it’s supposed to & I’m having a hard time going with the flow & growing through the “no’s”? Mmm, that last part though… Yeah, I’m going to go with that one.

I’m beginning to understand the true meaning of the word “no” in the context of things that I want for myself & my life. I’m learning that “no” doesn’t mean never. “No,” means not right now, not like this, not with him, her, or them, not in this place or space, not in this mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical state you’re in, no. If you notice, “no” is the root word in all of those. But why? What does that mean? For me, it means I have had to open my mind & heart to this idea of the word “no” no longer being correlated with a negative, dream-killing, never-going-to-happen correlation. Rather, I should interpret the word “no” with meaning better, more, deserving.

Truth is, as optimistic & light-filled as my spirit can be most of the time, I am the leader in the daily, dark war between my perception of my expectations versus my reality. Every day when my alarm sings whatever song I’m currently into & I dig deep to find the motivation to get out of bed & go about my daily humdrum routine, I fight my expectations versus my reality. When I get down on my knees to pray, I voice my concerns with God about my expectations versus my reality. When I commute to work with my music blasting to set the tone for my day, I fight with my expectations versus reality. When I’m at work & I peer up at my vision board pinned to the wall above my desk, reminding me of everything that I am not or have yet to achieve, I fight my expectations versus reality. Whenever I am alone whether it be during a solo skate session, post work, at my part-time job, or during an unscheduled or uneventful evening or weekend & I get lost in my thoughts, I fight with my expectations versus my reality. Every day I go to war with my thoughts, every single day. Being an overthinker, as I am, that line of thinking and train of thought can mess with you in the worst ways.

Luckily, I have individuals in my life that I consider to be my living, breathing conscience. What I mean by that, is that I have a conscience that I listen to, because many people have a conscience but they don’t use them. Mine just so happens to be loud as hell & I can’t ever ignore it. A case and point is that these specific individuals in my life reminded me of something that I was missing when I got so wrapped up in not living up to my expectations. They taught me that everything in life is what you make it. You can choose to allow your reality to steal your joy, leaving you miserable, ungrateful, resentful, pessimistic, & more willing to give in & give up. Or you can choose to seek the truth, find the purpose, & make the most of where you’re at & who you are at this moment in time.

I believe when you learn to look at your expectations versus reality in that manner, like me, you may come to see that your reality has the potential to be so much greater than you expected it to be. At times, I may let my depression & anxiety beat me down leaving me feeling tired, defeated, & vibrating at a lower frequency, but one thing I can’t ever rid of is that little ball of hope buried in the back of my mind. I have hope that I will have better days, be in better moods, be in enlightening environments, be surrounded by the right people, & thrive in my own time. I try to keep in my mind that everything is temporary so don’t get too comfortable or attached but be in the moment, make the most of it & use it as a stepping stool for growth & preparedness for something that I struggle with change!

The funny thing is, what inspired me to even journal today was watching this Netflix movie, “Resort to Love” & getting a perspective-changing understanding from it. I got expectations versus reality from that movie & realized that the difference between the two is more positive than it is negative. The plot of the story is about a down-on-luck singer who received a lot of “no’s” for the things she thought she wanted most in life. Turns out all the “no’s” led her exactly where she was meant to be and allowed her to blossom into who she needed to be. That movie made me realize that no” is like a “yes” on layaway. Until we get that “yes” we’ve been yearning for, we have to appreciate our current reality and find the purpose & meaning in it. I had to ask myself these questions & maybe you should ask yourself these questions as well to get to the reality of it all.

· Who am I right now? Define yourself.

· What am I doing in my life?

· Why am I here (why do you think)?

· Who/What am I doing these things for?

· What purpose am I serving by doing said things?

· Am I learning, changing, or growing in any ways?

· What’s the difference between my current expectations, aspirations, or dreams & my reality?

All these questions serve as a self-report for you to see you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be & growing through the many “no’s” life throws. Keep in mind, that today will not be the same as the last, & every day brings something afresh & new that wasn’t there before. Just as every day brings changes, be sure you are evolving with the changes & not going against the grain by living in the la-la land of your expectations rather than being present & enjoying your reality. Don’t stop dreaming, aspiring, plotting, & planning but do it all with the intention that even if your expectations don’t come to fruition, what did come to pass was meant to be. You’re right where you’re supposed to be, thriving in your reality, not your expectations. Those were words from my heart & I sincerely hope you all felt them as I did when I wrote them <3

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