Remember that famous quote from Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? That reminds me of how we all feel sometimes when we don’t get what we want and are thrown into realizing once again that things don’t always turn out as desired. There is a force at work greater than ourselves and what we may hope for may present itself or not, but if it does, it is not always in the form we want it to appear and usually it arrives when we least expect it.
This month’s challenges also reminded me of my father’s famous quote, although I don’t know if he made it up or not: “Sherry,” he would say, when I would be disappointed about not getting something I desperately wanted, “Expect for the worst, hope for the best, and you will end up somewhere in the middle.” Now, that seems reasonable, right? But it certainly doesn’t go along with the whole law of attraction principle that whatever we think, we will attract. What kind of law is that anyway? That isn’t a law; that is just wishful thinking. There’s nothing wrong with making wishes, but there isn’t a law that is going to make your wishes come true.
So the question I have been struggling with and maybe you have, too, is, “When do we let something go, but at the same time not give up on our dreams?” I am not really sure of the answer, but what I do know and believe is whenever we get attached to the outcome, and it doesn’t work out to our satisfaction, we are going to be disappointed. We will surely run up against walls along the way if we expect things to go the way we want them to go all the time. Apparently, Roald Dahl, the creator of Willy Wonka, knew this to be true.
My inner Veruca Salt was up against some disappointments this month. My husband had his second surgery in four months, my daughter cancelled her wedding (although I am very proud she had the courage to do this), and my media career had some definite ups and downs. As I waited anxiously to appear on television week after week after filming last summer, I only appeared once and not for very long as my friends and family will attest. (Especially my mother who told every friend she has ever known about it.) Was I embarrassed? Well, a little. The big publishing deal that was in the works didn’t happen, either.
In most areas of my life, I am learning the age-old wisdom that we must accept what is and let go of the rest. That doesn’t mean we give up; it just means we hold on to our dreams and take the necessary steps to make them come true, but also know that they may not turn out the way we thought. Something will show up, but no matter how bad we want it to turn out a certain way, our higher power has a mind of its own. At least, that is the lesson I continually have to be reminded of. So the best advice I can give is maybe my father’s. The book inside of me just might have to change titles and the media career may go in an entirely different direction, but ending up somewhere in the middle of it all might be the greatest gift I have ever been given.
© Copyright 2009 by Sherry Gaba, LCSW, therapist in Thousand Oaks, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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