|  Blog Post   |  Checking Expectations to Trust Disappointment

Checking Expectations to Trust Disappointment

In reality my life, especially the last few years, has had its fair share of disappointments. You know those gut wrenching ones, the disappointments where you’ve worked really hard for something, wanted it so badly, invested in it in more ways than financially and totally and completely manifested and saw it happening for you?

And then you find out it isn’t going to happen?

The phone calls where we received the news a few years ago that none of our embryos took has been life defining, and one would think the ultimate disappointment that braces you for all future disappointments.

But I am learning, this simply is not how life works.

Each disappointment changes us, and much like the stories of our lives, we must choose how it changes us. To help with the part we do have control over, this choice, we also must be honest with ourselves in what our expectations were.

I expected infertility treatments to work for us; not only because I believe in hope (although this definition has greatly changed since then) and thinking positively but also because, if I am honest, I thought it was owed to me. Owed because I had already had hard and struggle in my life, it was about time something great happened.

What I know for sure now, is that we are owed nothing and this way of thinking only hurts us by keeping us in scarcity.

But, I completely fell into this thinking again with this most recent disappointment.

I invested time and money in training for a TEDx talk, specifically I really wanted to speak at TEDxBoulder. My talk is brilliant. I practiced, I visualized and manifested it all; even down to what I would wear and having it completely memorized already.

I knew it was a long shot as I am not from Boulder, my topic is challenging for many and my speaking experience is not yet impressive to some.

But I risked it anyway; and here I am completely admitting I believed it was possible because it was owed to me.

Owed because I have been clawing and shouting my way out of the shamed darkness that is the current conversation that surrounds infertility, pregnancy loss and recovery. Owed because I am tired, especially tired of feeling completely ignored. Owed because my words are so needed for many and yet I cannot seem to get them heard.

Owed because I already had the hard and struggle.

And once again, this is simply not how it works or who I want to be for that matter.

Every single time I feel the pull back into the shamed darkness, that feeling that maybe I need to move on, I get the light. The light of a message from a reader of how much my words and message have helped them. The light of the weirdest miracle happening. The light of my butterflies. The light of one more submission being picked up.

The light that despite not getting what we hoped, dreamed and maybe even paid for, we still have the choice to be okay.

This is the light of it being my choice to consider it pure joy (James 1:2).

It is my choice if I want to keep these forever empty arms full of my expectations and disappointments but then they will never be open to truly receive.

Considering it pure joy means I am thankful that my forever empty arms are open enough to receive what is.



Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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