Posts Tagged ‘Nathaniel Branden’

Who are you willing to disappoint in order to be true to yourself?Photography by Jeshu John from DesignerPics.com

Quest 2015
Theme Day 3

Disappoint and Offend

My post today is inspired by another Tracking Wonder Quest 2015 writing prompt provided by Michael Bungay-Stanier.  He is the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. In his bio, I chuckled when I read that he found far better ways to be creatively defiant than being banned from his high school graduation for ‘the balloon incident’.  Naturally, I’m very curious to learn more but alas, no details were supplied so I’m left to my very active imagination! : )

BONUS!  On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, I was the guest host for the #DareToBe Twitter chat.  I promised to add questions from the chat to the end of this post after the event.  So you will now be able to find those questions down below!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  There were many wonderful contributions and insights.  Grateful for everyone who took the time to show up!

So let’s dig in!  Here’s what Michael, our visionary guide, wrote for Quest 2015 Day 3 Theme:

‘Who are you willing to DISAPPOINT or OFFEND or UPSET or ABANDON for the sake of the great work that is calling you for your best 2015?


For many of us, this is a powerful question to explore.  It conjures up archaic voices and ghosts of the past linked to our childhood, parental and authority figures, and how we were treated and raised.  It can be of benefit to pay attention to these voices of the past because they helped shape us into who we are today.  The more powerful of these voices; the ones that left the biggest imprint for better or worse, will often transform into our own inner voice.  This we call the ‘inner critic’, or the more judgmental and authoritarian part of ourselves.

By paying attention to this voice, we can learn what we have come to believe; about ourselves, ideas, and the world around us.  In his book, Honoring the Self, Nathaniel Branden said,

‘Of all the judgments that we pass in life, none is as important as the one we pass on ourselves, for that judgment touches the very center of our existence.’

Whoever we learned to fear disappointing, it is their voice, opinions, and judgments that we have allowed to pass through the gates of our minds and accepted as truth.  We inadvertently became prisoners of war in our own minds once we granted those powerful voices access into the core of our being.  Yet when we are small, we don’t know any better.  We don’t know how to be mindfully conscious of what we allow to pass through our gates of consciousness.  We don’t know until it is too late that it is we, ourselves, that let the enemy in.  Not the ‘people’ themselves, but the destructive and false judgments, criticisms, and beliefs that served to imprison us or blind us to our own creative faculties and power.

It is in this way we need to become the Moses of our own Exodus.  We are the ones that lead ourselves out of captivity and slavery into freedom.  (And with a little help from our friends, of course!) And it is in this realization that we begin to capture the glimpse of the idea that we hold the keys to the shackles, we only need to find them.  The scales begin to fall from our eyes and we finally start to see illusions and reality with a little more clarity.  A little more alert. A little more awake.  A little more free.  Even if only for moments at a time.

Quote by Alice Miller

Even though I’ve already done quite a bit of work in this area in my own  life it is still a conscious struggle at times. This will more than likely be a life long battle.  One I’ve been willing to take.   It’s not uncommon for us to finally gain freedom in an area of our lives, only to need to revisit and re-conquer the same or similar fears and challenges during another phase or season.  This is very much an ongoing process for many of us.

So with these ideas in mind, let’s look at this question again….

Who are we willing to disappoint?

This question immediately reminded me of a piece written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer called ‘The Invitation

Here’s a paragraph from it:

‘It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.

I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.’

Are we willing to disappoint another in order to be true to ourselves, our journey, our own life?

This is part of our life’s journey.  Our quest.  In order to be free, we must.

This is very much a part of our great emancipation‘ into adulthood.  It is the threshold we all must learn to cross…

  • Whenever we need to break through our own limitations.
  • Whenever we need to transform areas of our life. 
  • Whenever we need to create new and improved habits that will serve us in healthier ways.

Yet this emancipation isn’t easy.  It’s hard to do because on the one hand, we recognize that we CAN’T succeed entirely on our own. We are not islands unto ourselves.  We learn that we CAN’T do much of anything apart from cooperation and support with others along our journey and path. We learn that polarizations from one extreme to another; from dependency to complete independence are illusions.  Eventually, we learn to desire both sides of the coin;  to be open to people that enter into our paths and a willingness to be able to let go of the ones that may not be ‘right’ for our particular quest.

Inviting Wisdom and Compassion

We know we are on the path when we want to learn to do this with wisdom and compassion; not only towards ourselves, but others as well.  It will look less like a dance between two polarizing views of rejecting what we fear or can’t stand and more of letting go of what serves neither with love and compassion.  And the more conscious and mature we become, the more we learn how to do this in ways that is less harmful to not only our self-esteem, but others.

Embracing Responsibility and Compassion

We learn the subtle difference in our intentions, choices, and manners of relating.  We learn that it isn’t giving license to irresponsibility nor a lack of compassion and empathy towards others.  We learn to do the one without forsaking the other.  We learn that taking care of our own needs is an essential prerequisite for loving our fellow brothers and sisters in humanity. We simply learn to consider our true needs instead of forsake ourselves.

Learning the Art of Letting Go

Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is in learning to recognize when it’s time to let people ‘pass on through’ and do this in love.

We often get tripped up on this point.  I know that I do.

As I’ve grown and matured on my journey, it has become easier for me with most people to learn to be open to the possibilities while granting freedom for people to move in and out of my life at the same time.  As a natural part of life moving along course.  In the same way, I move in and out of proximity and sight in the lives of others.  Even though there may be a ‘not now’ with the people we encounter in life, it doesn’t mean it’s not ever.  And perhaps this is one of our many lessons.  To be willing to let go of ‘now or never’ mentality.  Not entirely, but wisdom is in learning the difference.

When people come and go in our lives, if we can find a way to do this consciously and in love, we can learn to do this without so much suffering and loss. Perhaps we can learn to appreciate these comings and goings of people that may walk with us for a season or for a time and then let one another go on our way until we meet up again down the road.

In some cases, we won’t.

Maybe it was just a one time encounter.

Other people we will meet up with again.

Still others will remain in our lives for the long haul!


So who am I willing to disappoint?

  • I’m willing to disappoint my own inner critic and judge.  The voice that punishes me more than any other person can.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who would prefer that I remain small because they do not recognize they have a light and power of their own and mine is not in competition with theirs.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who would rather I forsake my own values that give my life meaning and purpose.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who expects me to deny my truth and live in silence so they don’t have to feel uncomfortable.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who is not willing to be honest enough with me to let me know directly what they think and feel.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who is satisfied with the status quo and falsely believes that I need to be satisfied with it too.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who has expectations that I not only don’t know of but have not agreed to.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who expects me to be a mind reader.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who doesn’t clearly articulate their wants and needs when it comes to me.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who still believes that respect is a one way street.
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who gives to me with strings attached.  Who gives to get from me in order to control or manipulate me. 
  • I’m willing to disappoint anyone who doesn’t honor, respect, or believe in my inherent worth and value as a human being.
  • I”m willing to disappoint anyone who doesn’t want or allow me to think for myself.

Now it’s YOUR turn!
Tell me…

Who are YOU willing to disappoint?


DareToBe Twitter Chat Questions
December 16, 2014

Q1: Define disappointment.  (Disappointing self/others) #DareToBe
Q2: Who have you been afraid to disappoint the most? (parent/boss/friend/other) #DareToBe
Q3: What fears/challenges come up for you over disappointing others? #DareToBe
Q4: Difference between intentionally hurting others vs. allowing freedom to pursue own life/values? #DareToBe
Q5: In what ways do you feel you’ve been disappointing yourself? #DareToBe
Q6: The first step to let go of the fear of disappointing others is _______. #DareToBe
Q7: Are you willing to let others disappoint you? Why/why not? #DareToBe
Q8: How do you tend to react toward people who disappoint you? #DareToBe
Q9: Share examples of when it’s not appropriate to disappoint. #DareToBe
Q10.  What expectations are you willing to abandon to be free from disappointing others? #DareToBe

Bonus Q: Tomorrow, I will Dare to Let Go and disappoint by _________.  #DareToBe


Additional Related Resources

Quest 2015 Theme Day 1:  Living Connections by Samantha Hall

Quest 2015 Theme Day 2: In Search of Serendipity by Samantha Hall

Your Life Quest: Create. Curate. Conflict by Jon Mertz

Quest 2015 Information Page by Jeffrey Davis

Tracking Wonder – official website

Codependency and Relationships by Samantha Hall


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