This is how most of the people will define life. It is a perpetual cycle of expectations and disappointments. I was searching my answer for, why we get sad and I believe that, most of the times we get sad or mad is because we have these expectations from others and from ourselves. When these expectations are not met. We feel betrayed and disappointed.
Let’s start with the basic question, what is expectation?
In my understanding about life, expectations came in to existence for the benefit of this world but like everything else we twisted and ruined it.
Let me explain – If you observe nature or universe, there is an internal force or some power that keeps everything in balance. Every tiny particle is kept under check because there is some other particle or force to balance it out. Similarly, plants, animals and other kingdoms have learnt to co-exist by helping each other. There is this unseen balance in everything thing if we look closely and everything is dependent on everything else.
I don’t think there is anything as absolute or sufficient individual or system existing in this universe, that would need nothing or no one to complete it. Be it the exploding star or dying one. Be it an electron or a proton in an atom, all need others to complete them.
The intelligent form of life, came with emotions, thoughts, mind and other complications and took this dependence and turned it in to expectations. Child born to a mother expects to be fed as soon as he is born.
So how did we get it wrong?
- Most of us are driven by what we are taught and are not taught how to think but what to think. The biggest drawback of our times.
- Rather than driving our mind, we get driven by it.
- Society is driven by money rather than humanity
- People have attached monetary value to everything including love and other emotions.
- selflessness has become a thing of the past. Even selfless intentions are looked at with suspicion.
- Self-realization and actualization is mocked at. People who practice means to know themselves are called idealistic and nonrealistic. Hence the gap between you as yourself and you as you know yourself never decreases.
- Morals and virtues have no value.
- Being virtuous, righteous and kind hardheartedness is misunderstood as being ingenuous, inexperienced, gullible and unworldly.
- Words and actions of Psychopaths and Narcissists are accepted as truth and obstructionism is accepted over actual science and facts.
- There are too many distractions and people take short cuts and follow herd mentality to live their lives. The distractions are used not to live in the real but virtual world.
Like above mentioned, there are many more things that have gone wrong and have been accepted as norms of society which have led us to fall a prey to this vicious cycle of expectations and disappointments.
Now the most important question is, how can we become aware and stop us from falling in to this vicious cycle.
- Self-awareness and self-actualization. Every right step and corrective measure should start from measurement of current state. Who you are, what are your beliefs, what have you become, what kind of people are you surrounded with etc.
- How strong is your moral compass? How far have you come from your values and morals as a kid? Your moral compass works as a check point for your belief system. If you have a strong moral compass, your belief system is safe and strong.
- Your belief system feeds your expectations. If your belief system is over powered by pessimism, defeatism, gloom, cynicism, negative thinking, prejudice etc. then your belief system is sick, and your expectations will be unreasonable and incorrect.
- Hence keep your moral compass and belief system in check, which can be achieved by many ways, e.g. reading, having quality conversations with your peers, meditation, listening to and talking to self-actualized people. Please don’t follow any one blindly. Everything that you believe should be backed by science and facts.
- Signs for unrealistic expectation can be easily spotted in people who are masters of all or some of the following vices, Arrogance, bragging, doubt, envy, greed, jealously, vanity, because all these create distorted beliefs and false sense of pride, which increases the unrealistic expectation
- There is nothing wrong with having expectation but like everything else, we forget the boundaries and get ourselves deep in the cycle of give and expect and then take.
- Conscious effort of giving without expecting anything in return is a very good and straightforward way to break this cycle.
In the end, if you seek happiness and peace as your end goal then this is an important change that you should incorporate in your life. Not being conscious about your thoughts and continuously hurting yourself and others adds to the pain and heaviness of your heart. So, by being conscious of your actions and expectations, you can make your life richer, happier and peaceful.
When you teach yourself to be happy even without expecting, you have won half the battle…….