Lessons I learned From Spending a Summer Abroad- #2

image0 (1)Like I mentioned before, Derek and I both had a lot of growing and life lessons learned while we were away for the summer. I’ll never be able to explain how temporarily leaving reality for a few months changes you, but I try to do my best to give you an idea through my words and these posts.

The second lesson I learned from living in the Dominican Republic this summer was,

Disappointment can not exist without expectations.

This lesson can apply to just about every single thing in life, but after being in charge of a group of 30 volunteers, and listening to constant complaints, this lesson became more apparent to me, and I took it to heart. Since being home, I’ve thought about this certain lesson a lot, and my whole perspective on life and my “problems” have changed.image6While we were in the Dominican Republic, one of our duties as a head teacher was to act as a “counselor” for the volunteers that needed it. This meant to constantly check up on each volunteer, listen to their personal problems, keep it all confidential, and try to help them in the best way we could, so that they would enjoy their experience abroad.

To be honest, I absolutely LOVED this part of my “job”. If you know me personally, you know I am always willing to provide a listening year, a shoulder to cry on, and any advice, even when I know it may not help.

But as I listened to each volunteer talk about the experiences, their complaints, and their expectations, I learned that the volunteers that were struggling the most had very HIGH expectations going into this experience, which led them to feel disappointed, let down, and even depressed. Some of them even went as far as breaking the rules and sending themselves home because this experience was “just different than they thought it would be.” I constantly found myself thinking “well what did you expect?”

image5I am not trying to say that having expectations is a bad thing. I think it’s important to have them when taking an opportunity, forming and connecting relationships, and starting something new. However, like with most things, I think there is a fine line that can be crossed when having too high of expectations can lead to unfulfillment and unhappiness.

After observing this all summer, I started thinking about my own personal expectations and exactly where they are with the things in my life. My own experience abroad, my marriage, my relationships with family and friends, my career, myself. I think It’s important for all of us to know where our expectations are, so that we can prevent ourselves from feeling let down or like we “settled” for something we didn’t want.image3 (2)For example, if you have expectations of being comfortable, having a set schedule, and feeling like all things should always go as planned, I do not recommend moving out of the country for a few months, or even traveling out of the country, unless it is on a guided tour.

If you have expectations of having a love story like every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, and finding a real life guy or lady that looks good 24/7, doesn’t have any personal issues, and always treats you like a queen/king, I do not recommend dating and just sticking to watching those romantic comedies. 😉

If you expect to start a new job, move out of state, or meet new people and be completely comfortable without any learning curves, I promise you you will be disappointed or let down at one point or the other.image2 (4)My point is, I think it’s important for us to find what expectations we have, and do our best to avoid situations that will not meet them. Obviously, we will all be let down or disappointed from time to time. And sometimes, we don’t learn what our expectations are until this happens (like when we move out of country for 90 days and think WHAT THE HELL DID I DO). But on the other hand, I also think these experiences can teach us to lower our expectations, and we can learn to find happiness and fulfillment in even the shittiest and uncomfortable of situations.image4I’ve personally applied this lesson a lot since being back home and I feel way less disappointed by the things that would normally stress me out. Yeah my check engine light is on, but what do I expect from a car that is 15 years old? Yeah my dream job didn’t want me to come back to work, but what did I expect after leaving them to travel out of country for 90 days? And yeah, I can’t do the yoga pose that I had a goal of accomplishing by this time, but my body is growing another human, so its OKAY… And so on. I am all about living my life with the less amount of stress as possible. And even though stressful situations will always be there, I’ve felt a lot more content after learning to lower my expectations of things.

If you personally find yourself in a lot of stress, or stressful situations, try finding where your expectations are and either lower them, or do your best to avoid situations that you know won’t meet them. I promise it will help!image0(this selfie was taken at the Rise festival, that post will be next!)

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

 

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