Last weekend, I took my DD to play a charity Bingo game for my University’s Relay for Life team. I was on the team one year before my DD was born, but have not participated on the team since then. I try to support their fundraising efforts and this was a fun one to do. Originally, I thought my DD was going to be at my in-laws this weekend, so I only paid for me to get lunch and play Bingo, but my MIL was sick this weekend and my DD has her first play next weekend, so we didn’t want to take any chances on her catching a cold from MIL with a visit. So, she stayed home and I ended up paying for her to have lunch and we played Bingo. It included some raffles and she was very excited at the prospect of winning a Christmas decoration set which included a pretty pine wreath, some scented pinecones, and a poinsettia. She put most of our tickets in that, a couple in the family portrait choice and one in the BBQ set (for Daddy). We were there for quite a long time with lunch and 12 games of Bingo and by the end, I could tell she was getting tired. We weren’t winning in Bingo and it was getting a little dull. But, when the raffle started, she perked back up. But, then we lost. She was still okay, but as we were walking out, I ended up holding the door open for the woman who won the Christmas decoration set and I said to my DD, “well, there goes your Christmas decoration set…” not thinking that it was a big deal and she burst out crying. She cried in the car for a while longer, telling me she just wanted to go home and that she had really wanted to win that set. At the time, I thought it was a bit ridiculous, but I tried to be a good parent and talk it through with her. I told her that the money went to a good cause and only one person could win, so we needed to focus on the fact that our money went to help people. I also told her that if we always won, winning would not be so much fun or so exciting, so we have to accept a lot of losing in order to make winning really mean something. I don’t know if it was my talk or time that made her feel okay, but she got over it relatively soon.
The whole event made me think about the way that we set ourselves up for disappointment by putting ourselves in a position of expectation. We EXPECT to win, so when we don’t, we are disappointed. We EXPECT to get the gift we want, so when we don’t, we are disappointed. We EXPECT to get the job, so when we don’t, we are disappointed. But, what if, instead of EXPECTING things, we tended towards ACCEPTING things. So, we accept a win, but we also are willing to accept a loss. We accept a gift, but we are also accepting when we don’t receive one. We accept a job, but we are also accepting when we don’t get it. We are able to be disappointed, of course, but without the absolute expectation of a result, we are more prepared to deal with all possible outcomes. I know that I often set myself up for disappointment by expecting something that I don’t get and I would be better off if I were accepting.
So, what’s your default when entering situations where the outcome is somewhat unpredictable? Are you expecting things and often disappointed, or are you accepting of any result and can move on after the result is in?