For my last post of 2017, I'd like to share some advice from my former counselor. When I was in the middle of infertility and treatments, it was gently, yet firmly, suggested to me by both my husband and my best friend to start seeing someone. They both thought I needed additional support. And if the two people I love and trust more than anything nicely suggested the same thing to me, I thought I better listen.
After my first counselor was a TERRIBLE fit (actually I would say she was a terrible counselor, but hey, maybe her style works for someone out there), I got lucky with the second counselor I tried. Very, very lucky. She was a much older woman with children and grandchildren who had never experienced infertility herself or knew anyone who had dealt with it, but she still totally got it. I learned so much from her in the year and a half I saw her. Honestly, I might still be seeing her if she hadn't retired. She was incredible. I told her, "I came for help with infertility but I stayed for the boundary education." Seriously, where was this woman my whole life? I definitely needed her help.
So. Anyway. One of the most important things she told me was to lower my expectations.
I thought I was supposed to have high expectations for the people around me. I mean, if you have high expectations, people will rise to meet them, right? Nope, not necessarily.
While I was raw from infertility, I constantly got my feelings hurt. I was consistently disappointed and sad at what I perceived to be a lack of support from friends and family. When she advised me to lower my expectations, I was really surprised. I had never heard that before.
Then again... It was just another concept that infertility had turned on its head.
Have high expectations! Never give up! Everything happens for a reason!
What a bunch of bullshit we've been fed our whole lives.
So I want to share that ever since I have lowered my expectations, I have been much happier. People don't disappoint me as much because I don't have unrealistic expectations for them. I'm easier on others and I'm easier on myself. I'm not wasting as much time and energy getting my feelings hurt. Instead, I have been using my energy to grieve and move forward. It's true that there's been an almost 100% turnover of people in my life, but that's okay. That's how life goes and how relationships evolve, especially when you're walking a different path than the majority.
I don't know if that advice is helpful or not, but I wanted to share in case it is. If you found yourself angry, sad, and/or disappointed with people a lot during 2017, try taking a different approach. Try lowering your expectations. At the very least, it will free up a lot more of your energy.