How often does it happen that our parents expect something from us and we fail to stand up to their expectations? How often do we meet our very own expectations? Just how often?? And our answer would be “always”. But what after that, what after failure, what happens when we don’t live up to expectations, before we know we get trapped in a circle of disappointment.
Now the question is why do we expect so much? Why do we tend to expect, sometimes out of nothing ? Actually, when circumstances with uncertain outcomes come up, we naturally create expectations as a way of creating some certainty for ourselves. These expectations which we create are based on our beliefs and have nothing to do with actual outcome. But here comes the hard part…when we are shocked by the outcome because it turns out nothing like expectation, this shock which undermines our beliefs, pushes us into the circle of disappointment.
These unmet expectations leave a scar on our mind which may last a few moments or cause massive fissures which may last all along. And what adds up to the problem is, expectations have two sides. First we have to deal with our expectations of us then others’ expectations of us. Disappointment is a two way street.
Now here I have a slightly different opinion about expectations too! It’s true that expectations lead to disappointment but don’t you think that these expectations are, very often, the driving forces which constantly help us reach our goal? Unexpected outcomes do cause despair but reaching expectations also becomes the reason for ultimate satisfaction. When we expect a favourable outcome of some circumstances, only then we start working on it to make it reality because by creating expectations we give a strong foundation to our beliefs. But sometimes the story is different. When others expect something from us then the feeling of not letting them down works as a fuel for you to reach their expectations.
So thinking that getting rid of expectations will avoid all sorts of disappointment is jumping to the conclusion without realizing the other half of the story. Then what should be done?
Here’s the answer-
Our expectations stem from our beliefs and our beliefs flow from our needs, so we just need to optimize our needs to limit our expectations. And this is what we call a “paradox of expectations” and it explains why poorer countries in the world test higher for happiness than wealthier countries. So for our own sanity and happiness, we are just not “EXPECTED” to create unrealistic expectations.
And what if we don’t meet the expectations, what if we just fail? That’s not the end, we have a life to live, ahead and not just to survive. Take the disappointment head on. Don’t get disappointed about the failure instead feel disappointed about your unreasonable expectation. Expectation made within the dimensions of reality don’t actually lead to disappointment. Just don’t give up. There’s hope. And keep the old saying in mind
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”