‘The illustration is twice as wide as its height. The illustration is vertically divided in half. On each side, in the bottom half there is a man facing the center. The man on the left looks puzzled, nervous, and concerned. The man on the right looks upbeat, thoughtful, and calm. Both men have the same body language: standing, one arm crossed below chest height to the inside of the other elbow, the other hand is wrapped around the chin as if thinking deeply. The difference between the men is purely based on their facial expressions. Over each of the men there is one speech bubble and one thought bubble (as in cartoons/comics). The bubbles above the left man say: “Why is it so hard to join this Google Meet?” and “Did everyone prepare as agreed?”. The bubbles above the right man say: “The cause of my irritation is not in Google Meet but in me!” and “I wasn’t clear with the required preparations for this meeting!”.'

Cause of my negative feelings in one word: expectations.

  • Expecting technology to always work
  • Expecting close companions to easily understand me
  • Expecting to get a quick reply to an urgent email
  • Failing to manage the expectations of others
  • Expecting to never stub my toe
  • Expecting to never make dumb mistakes
  • Etc.

While Stoic literature has a great collection of wisdom on banishing expectations, Anthony de Mello crystallized it best:

“The cause of my irritation is not in this person but in me.”

The fault wasn’t in whomever caused my frustration. I had too high expectations. I got frustrated because I lacked patience or compassion. I got annoyed because I saw my own flaws in their behaviour.

Whatever it is, the cause is in me. It must be. I could have behaved in another way, which would have resulted in a different outcome.

Like many of my posts, this is a note to myself. A reminder aiming to make me more calm, patient, and compassionate.

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