As I was sitting quietly in my room staring at the ceiling. I could not help but think of the shortcomings of expectations. Before you read further, let me clarify this. I am not a pessimist; I am far from it. I always try to have a positive outlook on life.
Expectations are not goals or standards. Expectations are those list of things we build up that tells us how things should be. Expectations keep us safe but also prevent us from being present in our lives.
All the things that build up our expectations wreck our chances of honouring what is right in front of us. Even when we get what we wished for, we can't be happy either. That's the problem with anticipation; we fall in love with the expectation. If what we anticipated doesn't come true, life seems unfair. If it does, the lack of surprise makes the experience less exciting.
We live in a world where everything is digitally enhanced. The content we share and consume is airbrushed and polished to make it seem better than it is. We read articles that glamourise the life of the rich and famous. All those articles that imply that you should have your life figured out in your early twenties and that all the other married people have more sex than you. All these things form an expectation in our minds that does not match up with our reality causing us to be unhappy.
Social pressure is deceiving; we all become prey without noticing it. We end up envying how other people live. We can only see the greener grass (ours is never good enough).
Expectations do not guarantee you a thing. Just because you deserve something does not mean it is going to happen. You have to make it happen. You have to put in the hard work, then go and get what is yours.
When you let go of expectations, you will find that you can rest in your truth and take joy in the small moments in your life that you will often overlook.
Expectations with other people
Whether we are conscious of it or not, our expectation check-list tend to run through our minds acting like a third party in our relationships.
We create visions and beliefs on how other people should react and behave towards us. We miss growing moments in our relationships because we are too busy checking if things are as we think they should be.
If you stay in the present, even when things are not going great, there is a higher chance of coming up with a solution to the problem than when you insist on how it should have been.
I challenge you to do this one thing; think of a relationship in your life that has an unfulfilled expectation. Let go of that expectation. Whatever needs and wants that you may have can be met in some other way.
Unmet expectations lead to disappointments and resentments. When you let go of expectations, you create space to enjoy the here and now. Your life is not what should happen, but what is happening at that moment.
I am not saying that we should not set standards and goals; failure to do so is irresponsible. The question is what to do when people fail to follow those standards all the time.
If you think that the answer is to get resentful, angry, yell and threaten, you might want to consider other alternatives. Hoping for the outcome you desire is one thing, but trying to force it and being overrun with negative thoughts and feelings when it does not work out is another.
You cannot control the way people think, feel, or react. Ever! You may try to, you may want to, but ultimately, how they act is up to them.
If you can be brave enough to rest in your reality; human, flawed and possibly beautiful reality. It will take you to places you never expected.