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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Growing Through the No’s

What started out as a personal journal, sparked some inspiration for a new blog post. Me writing for myself inspired me to share something that I learned through processing my thoughts. 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 and future self. Then returning to reality with a sourness in my mood and displeasure with where I am currently at. My expectations always seeming so much greater and better than my current reality. But doesn’t it always seem like that? Isn’t that what dreams, aspirations, and expectations are made up of? All the things seemingly sugary and nice, no spice. What I’ve come to understand during this part of my journey, filled with many changes, trials, tribulations, confusion, and disappointment, is the difference between my expectations and 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 and the timing of things along my journey. I’m so hard on myself. I’m hard on myself when I mess up or fail at something. Hard on myself when my memory slips and I forget something or forget to do something. Hard on myself when things don’t go as planned. Hard on myself for not thriving in my dream career at this point in my life. Hard on myself for not being a homeowner & thriving on my own by now. Hard on myself for still not having a successful relationship with any kind of significant other. Hard on myself for so many things in life that I do not have complete control over. Really, it’s just me being hard on myself because I set these super high expectations for myself and for my life and when my reality doesn’t align with the expectations I set I immediately feel like it’s all on me. But is it really? Or is life just going the way it’s supposed to and I’m having a hard time going with the flow and growing through the “no’s”? Mmm that last part though…yea 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 and for 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 and 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 and 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 (and have on repeat endlessly) and I dig deep to find the motivation to get out of bed and go about my daily hum drum routine, I fight my expectations versus my reality. Every day when I get down on my knees to pray, I voice my concerns with God about my expectations versus my reality. Every day when I commute to work with my music blasting to set the tone for my day, I fight with my expectations versus reality. Every day when I’m at work and 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. Every time 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 and 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 really mess with you in the worst ways—and it has for me.

Luckily, I have individuals in my life that I consider to be my living, breathing, out of body, conscience. What I mean by that, is that I have a conscience that I actually listen to, I say it like that because many people have a conscience but they don’t use them. Mines just so happens to be loud as hell and I can’t ever ignore it. 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 in 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, and more willing to give in and give up. Or you can choose to seek the truth, find the purpose, and make the most of where you’re at and who you are in this moment in time. Simple enough, right?

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 and anxiety beat me down leaving me feeling tired, defeated, and vibrating at a lower frequency, but one thing I can’t ever rid 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, and thriving 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 and use it as a stepping stool for growth & preparedness for something that I struggle with, change!

Funny thing is, what really inspired me to even journal today was me watching this Netflix movie, “Resort to Love” and getting a perspective changing understanding from it. I got expectations versus reality from that movie and 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 and meaning in it. I had to ask myself these questions and 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 and my reality?

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

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