Joy = No Expectations

Have you ever seen this facial expression where the speaker looks like he’s trying to say something, trying to convince you of something, and at the same time he doesn’t feel good about himself, or doesn’t feel convinced himself. It’s a look that feels belabored, difficult, heavy.

I have had that look for much of my life. And by some blessing from above, I’ve began to let go that look. Wonder why? How?

The Not Enough Look -
The Not Enough Look –

We were driving home after a training program in Antipolo. I was with Leo, a friend in the training industry and a fellow PSI grad. We were sharing all sorts of stories about training, and life, and technology and stuff.

I was moved to tell Leo something that I’ve been noticing about myself the past month. It goes like this.

For most of my life, I’ve had this facial expression. I call it a facial “posture”. It’s not *meant* to “express” something related to what I’m saying. It’s a posture that “happens” because of the way I feel about myself in certain situations.

When Leo asked me to describe it, I said (excuse the potentially racist term): “Parang naluging Intsik”. It’s a facial expression that looks like I’m having difficulty saying something, as if it’s a burden. Sometimes this facial posture comes out when I feel like I have to “convince” people that what I am saying is true.

I call this the “Not Enough” look.

I know what this facial posture feels like from behind my face. And I don’t like it. I know what this facial posture looks like from the point of view of people who see me. And I know that subconsciously, they can read through me.

What I’ve observed of myself lately was that I’m feeling this facial posture less and less. I’ve been speaking in a more relaxed voice and a softer face. I feel more comfortable expressing myself. Hindi na ako nahihirapan.

After reflecting about this, I realized that I’ve started to release this facial posture because of an internal change. And this internal change is manifesting in the way I speak, the words I choose.

The internal change is this:

I have become more at peace with being different from other people,
at peace with having different views from other people.

Let me explain.

The worst of my “Not Enough” look

In the past, I have felt a love-hate relationship with the organizations I was involved with. I felt this for my college catholic organization, UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA), I felt this for my volunteer organization Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, I fel this for the Asian Institute of Management where I took my masters and I felt this for PSI.

In essence, I am the type of person who sees very clearly how to *serve* people better. I have this perception because it is ingrained within my being to be a supporter for other people.

And I felt as if the institutions I belonged to at that time were not supporting its community to the best of its ability. Thus, I was an advocate for change in each of these institutions. I felt as if I needed to create change in these institutions. And in the process, when I express my call for change to others, I drop into this facial posture that says: “you better make changes (or else!) …”

It was a funny depressing feeling, actually. Knowing how to better serve people, but not having the same opinion as the leaders of the organization. I felt as if it was my role to instigate the changes. And I got frustrated when the leaders did not take action on the recommendations I put forward.

Change happens within

The past months, I’ve become more at peace with myself. That I have my own thoughts on how to make things better. And that it is healthy for me respect other people’s thoughts on how to do things. Respect enough to not have to convince them that my way is the best way.

In essence, I change what I can.
And the only thing I can change, really, is what’s within me and what’s within my circle of influence.

I am no longer attached to expecting or coercing other people to change. ;-)

And it’s been a very good place to come from.

I realize that this change happened gradually over the past year. Most significantly, I feel the biggest change was when I became more attuned to my own facial expressions through my training in NLP Certification. (more about that next time).

I have become more attuned to how my body responds to what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. My face and body have become *my* feedback mechanism of what I’m thinking and feeling. This has made me more aware of how I think, feel and look — my facial posture/expression.

How does it look like now?

In the past, I would put forward suggestions, sabay irap (a negative look of expectation and … dissent). It’s really a false expectation that I feel the other person *must* make the change, otherwise I will feel bad.

Now, I am more at peace at “releasing” feedback and suggestions. I allow my feedback to reach people who can take action toward the feedback. And I honor the person by giving the person a choice. I feel less compelled to “convince” the other person. Whether or not the person takes action toward my suggestion, I am at peace with myself.

Peaceful Warrior Ka Edong with Kelmer, Andrei, Keric at Sydney
Peaceful Warrior Ka Edong with Kelmer, Andrei, Keric at Sydney

I am at peace in what I believe. I am at peace in what I can change and in what I cannot change. And it’s a good place to come from ;-) . Here’s an example.

Love letters to PSI

I sent a letter to PSI a year ago. In that letter, I expressed how I felt the organization can grow further, nurture its community better. And I felt the … (what’s the word) … negative expectations in me. Thoughts like: “you guys better do this or else!” Hahaha! I love it that I’m able to laugh about it now! :D

This year, I’ve put forward suggestions for PSI. And this year, I always share within the letter that…
“I release this feedback in peace. I have no attachment to this feedback. Your response to this feedback is all up to you.”

I write that really not for the people who will read it. I write that for myself. It is an affirmation for myself that I am not attached to the feedback that I give to other people. I do not require other people to make changes in their lives — I prefer to make changes in MY life. It’s up to other people how they will respond to my feedback.

A peaceful facebook “rant” ;-)

Yesterday, I had an facebook exchange with a stranger. A full-body clearly identifiable photo (with face) of an alleged snatcher reached my facebook wall. I do not agree with posting these kinds of photos where people are put in a potentially damaging light — regardless of whether the accused was right or wrong.

Photo of an alleged snatcher - intentionally cropped. I consider it cyber-bullying to show faces of "alleged" anything.
Photo of an alleged snatcher – intentionally cropped. I consider it cyber-bullying to show faces of “alleged” anything.

I wrote:

Dear friend,
I consider it cyber-bullying to be posting photos like this ;-) .
To the person who posted this, I pray that you find your peace in another better way.
God Bless you! ;-)
– edWIN

Let me share with you my exchange with the person who posted the photo which I consider cyber-bullying. His name is Ramil. I choose to reveal his name because I feel we’ve earned each other’s respect:

My peaceful feedback - My change is within, not without
My peaceful feedback – My change is within, not without

Ramil: Edwin, Please read nyo muna mga comments. Edwin pls read mo din comments sa mga nagshare na nito.

Edwin: Ramil, I respect you. I respect your friends. I respect our difference in beliefs. Bless you, I’m glad you’re safe. ;-)

Ramil: Thank you, Edwin. Likewise.

When I read my words, I was at peace. When I read Ramil’s response, I felt my face – it had a relaxed smile. It was no longer the “Not Enough” look.

It was a smile of peace. Peace with myself. Peace with the world.

Peace with my God, knowing that everybody is on a journey, and that we are all just seeing things from our own perspective, from our own experience.

I am Worthy! I am at peace ;-) .

Question for my readers: Do you know what you look like when you’re expressing yourself? Ask the man on the mirror. What’s that look all about? Share your experience in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “The Look of “Not Enough”

  1. …yeah, i can relate with you. …the need to be right! so stiff my old self was.. i realized, it takes one to understand thyself first then others and you’ll have peace. :)

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