On the journey of discernment to making the crucial decisions in life, part of the rubble that must be cleared away is the expectations placed on us by parents and teachers who would like us to be particular kinds of people.
Sometimes we are driven by the fear of failing to become what others hope we will become.
May Sarton in a poem clarifies this challenge when she writes:
“Now I become myself.
It’s taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces….”
‘Now I become myself…’ Can’t you hear the relief that comes when we free ourselves from the expectations of others, when we no longer wear other people’s faces?
Source: May Sarton, “Now I Become Myself,” in Collected Poems, 1930-1973 (New York: Norton, 1974), 156 cited in Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc., 2000, 9.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: May Sarton
Other articles on being free from the expectations of others can be found at:
Listen to Your Motives: The Story of Parker Palmer
Discerning Our Thoughts: The Story of Warren Bennis
Our Expectations: Story told by Robert McAfee Brown
Expectations of Others: Story of Chaim Potok.