Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Brian Johnston » 31 Oct 2009, 09:37

Ray Degraw wrote:If you individually understand this one simple principle, it can do perhaps more than anything else to bring peace and charity into your life.
AMEN! Brother Ray. Preach on.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Euhemerus
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Euhemerus » 03 Nov 2009, 15:19

A great reminder Ray. Truer words have never been spoken! Removing unrealistic expectations will improve every relationship we have, and improve almost every social interaction.

Having fully agreed with Ray, let me digress a bit now. Keep in mind that, like most things in life, we have these types of mechanisms built-in to us for a good reason. Expectations are part of what makes society work. It is part of the psychological mechanism that has made us a social species. If we don't have expectations that people will play fair, we won't catch the cheaters, and society as a whole will degrade. Reciprocity is built into us, much like it is for vampire bats (although more complex). In this light, things such as gossip, and expectations for example, are understood to be invaluable traits for society as whole. Hence, I believe that on a personal level expectations are damaging to a relationship, on a group level they are good and very beneficial. A good balancing act seems to be the key.

I try to take an approach that is going to sound paradoxical, but that I believe is a healthy balance. On a personal level I try to remove any expectations of other people. I try to love people as they are, not because of what they do. On the other hand, as an assertive person, I retain my right to exercise my own judgment in avoiding more pain for myself, even if that means bailing out of the relationship.
Don't believe everything you think
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Heber13
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Heber13 » 03 Nov 2009, 15:58

Euhemerus wrote:On the other hand, as an assertive person, I retain my right to exercise my own judgment in avoiding more pain for myself, even if that means bailing out of the relationship.
Does this include relationship with God? I'm trying to understand what expectations I should have for God, because this seems to be my motivation for exactness in obedience. If I am taught to rely on His help...won't that inevitably lead to disappointment?

...and also...do bats get offended easily? What do you know about bat reciprocity? :? I'm curious now? :?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Nov 2009, 16:17

Heber, do you have a prescription for the drug that caused that last question? :lol:
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Euhemerus
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Euhemerus » 03 Nov 2009, 16:32

Heber13 wrote:
Euhemerus wrote:On the other hand, as an assertive person, I retain my right to exercise my own judgment in avoiding more pain for myself, even if that means bailing out of the relationship.
Does this include relationship with God? I'm trying to understand what expectations I should have for God, because this seems to be my motivation for exactness in obedience. If I am taught to rely on His help...won't that inevitably lead to disappointment?
That is really a great question! I was really thinking about it in terms of human interactions and organizations, not with God. I think I would need to think more about it. Off the top of my head it seems like having expectations of God would be even worse as God's will is rather unpredictable, especially if you think he is bound in any way shape or form by a set of rules characterized by humans. I think this is why, in Mormonism, we put a lot of focus on accepting God's will. We bend to Him, not the other way around. In a more general sense however, this form of surrendering our will to God is the ultimate ideal for personal growth (I'm in Maxwell's camp on this issue). It has much less to do with God than it does with ourselves. In this light, I think the answer to your question is to turn internal to self, rather than external. Your expectations of God should consist of God doing whatever God sees fit and your accepting His will as your own. In a theological light this makes a lot of sense as God knows what's best for us. On a more realistic note, however, it feel like a cop-out to simply be okay with the hand of cards you are dealt.

However, even if we take the latter approach, just dealing with the hand of cards we're dealt, I think the wisdom of "accepting" this hand of cards is very powerful. It gives us power to change our own lives in a world in which everyone is seeking control over us.
Heber13 wrote:...and also...do bats get offended easily? What do you know about bat reciprocity? :? I'm curious now? :?
In my limited, non-expert reading, yes, they do. Vampire bats will regurgitate blood they have sucked for another bat who was not so fortunate (do unto others as you would have them to unto you, right). However, the bats seem to communicate, and keep track of who "owes" them so to speak. If the benevolent bat then goes to the moocher bat, and the moocher bat refuses to share, the benevolent bat will be less inclined to share with that bat next time, and will publicize it. After a few times, the moocher bat is labeled a cheater and he will not be able to benefit from the group.

In an evolutionary sense, I think religion (was invented possibly and) serves this purpose in humans. Religion encourages those noble ideals in us so that society, as a whole, is elevated. But it is important to realize that this is a balancing act with self-interest. If self-interest is removed, innovation (achievement) will be stifled and society will degrade. The good news is that our brains seem to be wired for both self-interest (flesh), and reciprocity (spirit). Together they allow us to work together to elevate society, while at the same time giving us motivation to excel. Gov'ts that play on this truth are successful, and gov'ts that try to play to one extreme or the other, inevitably fail. I actually think the church does a pretty good job balancing these two competing forces. The only exception, I think, is that we often belittle the flesh (self-interest) as somehow less noble. To me it is a coordination exercise, not a control exercise.
Don't believe everything you think
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Heber13
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Heber13 » 03 Nov 2009, 16:33

Ray Degraw wrote:Heber, do you have a prescription for the drug that caused that last question? :lol:
I have LOTS of prescriptions...I'll check the labels, :oops:

all I know is , Eu said
Reciprocity is built into us, much like it is for vampire bats (although more complex).
...and it makes me wonder about vampire bats and their expectations. Sounds like an interesting topic.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Heber13
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Heber13 » 03 Nov 2009, 16:39

Interesting response Eu. Much there for me to think about (even the bat stuff!). Thanks.

This is the only part that troubles me:
Euhemerus wrote:Off the top of my head it seems like having expectations of God would be even worse as God's will is rather unpredictable, especially if you think he is bound in any way shape or form by a set of rules characterized by humans. I think this is why, in Mormonism, we put a lot of focus on accepting God's will. We bend to Him, not the other way around.
I personally think God's will is NOT unpredictable...but out of anyone I have a relationship with, I should be able to trust He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I can trust in His characteristics as never changing, His will as constant in His eternal purposes...even if I don't understand them yet.

More for me to think about.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Euhemerus
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Euhemerus » 03 Nov 2009, 17:04

Heber13 wrote:I personally think God's will is NOT unpredictable
Would you care to illustrate with something specific? We can always genericize about God being "loving" or doing what's best for His children, but these are hardly predictions. Do you know anyone who can predict God's will with any degree of accuracy? And how would you know whether the prediction was right with any degree of accuracy?

Sorry, my point isn't to challenge you per se, but I don't know how one would even go about trying to predict God's will beyond something ultra-generic. And honestly, I think this is where the church is headed. They are getting out of the business of predicting God's will, and focusing on the basic theological tenets that Christ taught.
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by swimordie » 03 Nov 2009, 18:09

Euhemerus wrote:Would you care to illustrate with something specific? We can always genericize about God being "loving" or doing what's best for His children, but these are hardly predictions. Do you know anyone who can predict God's will with any degree of accuracy?
Well, if you buy into the concept that a prophet is God's mouthpiece... Some people accept the brethren's word as God's will, exactly. And that has been inconsistent.

I agree that God's will can be found in each of us. We have to find it by embracing our own personal relationship with Him, learning through experience and inspiration what that will is. If we're wrong, life will teach us that will. We can be wrong by accepting another's idea without gaining our own knowledge, not being emotionally healthy to "learn" the lessons taught, or by not trusting our relationship with God (not feeling worthy, not trusting our own feelings, etc.). imho
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Heber13
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Re: Understanding Disappointment: The SHORT Answer

Post by Heber13 » 04 Nov 2009, 15:58

Euhemerus wrote:Would you care to illustrate with something specific? We can always genericize about God being "loving" or doing what's best for His children, but these are hardly predictions. Do you know anyone who can predict God's will with any degree of accuracy? And how would you know whether the prediction was right with any degree of accuracy?
I have been thinking about this long and hard...these are good questions. I like swim's response too, having something to do with God's will being inside us.

However, I can't really think of examples how one can predict God's will, but more believe we are taught one can come to know it, even if we can't predict it. I guess it seems wrong to me to say God is unpredictable because that sounds like existence is random, and I don't believe that. But when I think deeply, His will for me and my life is often unknown. I think JS was trying to follow God's will as he understood it when preaching celestial plural marriage, and I don't think even as close as JS was to the spirit that even he predicted that was coming (that's how I see that example of God's will being a surprise even to a prophet).

So I guess as I've thought about it, I see God's characteristics as unchanging, but how He reveals His will to us as we see through a glass darkly, I think it will be unpredictable to us. Perhaps what I see is being taught is that we should develop the faith that even when His will is unpredictable, the obedience to His Will will always lead to a predictable outcome...blessings and happiness, and that is enough to have peace even as His will is revealed to us individually and in pieces (surprising us at times).

IMO, the disappointment comes when we thought we understood His will, had faith in an outcome, and we were wrong in seeing the outcome or in setting the timeline for the expectation, or we just flat out misunderstood His will. This seems to be part of my current problem with obedience, however. Do you think we can really predict even the outcome of obeying God's will?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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