When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. ― Tao Te Ching
I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.
His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.
I sat down beside him and asked:
‘What are you doing here?’
He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:
‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father. My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man. My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.
And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher – they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow. None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.
So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.’
The expectations we place on ourselves and others can create deep feelings of inadequacy, separation and unhappiness.
When I detach from the expectations I place in my life and on others, whether it is good or bad, I become open and expansive. In doing this, I allow life to unfold as it should, I become present to each experience and this allows everyone the freedom to be exactly who they are meant to be.