Expecting the Best

I loved watching all the Peanuts cartoons growing up. Remember how Lucy always held the football for Charlie Brown and then at the last second when he was about to kick it she yanked it away from him and he fell flat on his back? Pretty cruel move on her part, yet he always asked her to hold it for him again. I guess despite his pessimistic nature, he still expected the best.

 He’s the guy who year after year kept checking his mailbox for Valentine’s or Christmas cards when he had never received one. He’s the guy who cared enough about his friends to attempt to create an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner when all he had available was popcorn, jelly beans, and toast. 

I realize Charlie Brown is just a cartoon and the permanent head or back injuries he would have from all those football incidences if he were human are undeniable, but I want to be like him anyway. Not the perpetual negative, depressed part of his personality, but the guy who still has faith in people and in life even when he is disappointed. 

Expecting the best from people and from life sets the bar higher for us all. I have two teenagers. Everything I heard over the years about parenting teenagers was pretty scary. Most people seem to expect these adolescent years to be ones of turmoil, conflict, and even disaster. 

I decided a long time ago I was going to expect the best and enjoy this unique period of their lives and not obsess about everything that may go wrong. I also decided I was going to trust them completely until the day they proved they could not be trusted after all. 

They are two of my favorite people in the world, and I am very proud of them. If by chance I had any part in their successes so far, I believe it could be because I expected their best.

Anticipating the worst is a natural, human tendency unfortunately. When the weather forecasts a thirty percent chance of rain, people discuss the rain that’s coming, not the seventy percent chance of sunshine. 

When the boss calls you into the office, you probably are not looking forward to that meeting, right? What if you are about to get a raise or promotion? 

Stan Dale, founder of the Human Awareness Institute, suggests we all become inverse paranoids. He says, “I’ve always been the opposite of paranoid. I operate as if everyone is part of a great plot to enhance my well-being.” 

In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield addresses this concept. He says, “Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. In fact there is growing research that the vibrations of positive expectation that successful people give off actually attract to them the very experiences they believe they are going to get.”

Sometimes in life we expect things to go a certain way. We do expect the best and then things change or take on a life of their own we could never have anticipated or imagined. We may label these circumstances or events as “negative.” 

However, have you ever experienced something terrible happening and later found blessings in disguise? If in crisis times we could realize everything we are going through now will actually turn out for the best in the future, our fears would dissipate and maybe we wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed in the midst of it all.

So I challenge us to get out of bed each morning and expect the best from ourselves, others and the world. Look for the good opportunity available in every encounter, conversation or experience. Make the most of each day. 

Like Lucy, sometimes life is going to yank the football out from under you, but just like Charlie Brown, you don’t have to be wounded by it at all. You can get back up and keep going, always expecting something better is in store for you. After all, the world really is on your side. 

© - Cindy D. Whitmer (June 30, 2012)