In the following article I’ll be talking about ‘Expectations in life’. What it is, causes and its effect in our lives. An expectation in literal sense is a strong belief that something will happen or someone will or should achieve something. It’s something that’s very easy to define but very hard to deal with. Everyone of us goes through it whether or not we realize it. Remembering the days of childhood, when I used to be dogged about buying a chocolate or some cool, fun accessory like a sun-glass; I expected my parents to get it for me. If they didn’t, I would cause chaos in the house. Crying, shouting, etc extreme behavior was what I would show. I never thought if that item was required or not or if it was good for me to have it or good for me not to have it. If I would have thought , too much of chocolate was bad for my health or as a five year old kid I basically don’t have to have a silly looking sun-glass on; that’s anyway not a good fashion accessory, maybe I wouldn’t have been obstinate about it. I mean common I was only 5 year old kid, why would I even think about things like that? Yes I am the younger child in my family and was pampered to a certain extent, I agree; but within limits. As I grew up, I was made to understand those limits. Also I understood about what is necessary, what’s not in my life and what’s good and what’s not. But is that enough to deal with expectations?
As we grow up we understand the facts about necessities and demands. Is an expectation a necessity or a demand? It’s difficult to figure out. So how do we define it? Is the definition that I provided at the beginning of the article enough? I am sure ‘NO’. It’s not about understanding the meaning but about understanding the depth of the meaning. When we expect something to happen it becomes a necessity for us and when things doesn’t turn out the way we expected, it becomes a demand. Again there are expectations that are not too strong and we get over with it sooner or later and there are the ones which are too strong to even persuade us to destroy one’s life. Scary right? Yes, ‘Expectations’ can be dangerous if we don’t know how to deal with it. Then again it is something that you cannot avoid. You cannot be like ‘I won’t let expectations cross my mind’, because it’s something that’s never going to happen. All we can do about it is to bring out a solution to get over it or deal with it. When we don’t know what we are dealing with how do we actually deal with it? The statement is confusing but is simple. For finding a solution it’s very important that we understand the problem first. Thus before we try to deal with our expectations we must analyse what are the causes that lead to those expectations and whether or not our expectations are justifiable. Why do we have expectations? Why do we want to take possession of something so strongly, even after knowing we can’t have it? Is it that we can’t think or we don’t want to think?
I believe the root cause of an expectation is a ‘Desire’. In my example before, it was my desire to have a sun-glass of my own which I saw kids wearing in the TV. I had the immense desire to taste the chocolate I loved the most. To satisfy those desires I asked my parents to get it for me, it had become a necessity for me but when they refused, I demanded them. I acted adamantly until my desires were satisfied. The urge to satisfy my desire triggered an expectation in my mind. It’s human nature to have desires and satisfy them. There’s nothing the brain can do about it. Desires come from heart that mind can’t control, instead mind is being driven to work for solutions and find ways to satisfy the desire. Yes we are humans and we have desires, nothings wrong in it but again we are humans because we can think, judge and decide what is right and wrong, what is appropriate and what’s not. So if you have to deal with the expectations you must accept it and understand the desire you have behind them. Once you figure that out, you must try to understand if the desire that you bear, will take you through a legit way and bring a peaceful ending in the way of fulfilling the desire. Will it benefit you? or bring any good change in your life or make your life better? Will it bring happiness to others you love? Or will it take you through a brutal path and bring a troublesome ending to your journey of fulfilling the desire where, only your desire will be fulfilled without giving you peace or happiness and troubling other loved ones of yours.
These are very complex things to decide upon. Yet, there is another thing that every human have called the ‘Guts’ or ‘Intuitions’. One definitely knows what is attainable and what’s not. So easy way to rule out the desires that cannot be fulfilled is understand whether the desires we hope to fulfill, are out of our league or not. Once you decide and have a vision about how things might turn out at the end, in order to gratify our desires, it’s time to constantly remind yourself about the practicality of the situations, outcomes and life we are leading and will lead once we take an action. Consider a situation. Your birthday is in few days. Your friends keep asking you what you want as birthday present and you feel happy that they care about you. You go for your birthday shopping with your friends, you find a dress just the type you always wanted to buy but never found. Since you already bought a dress you can’t buy another one. The dress is very expensive too. You keep telling your friends how you love that dress and wish you could buy that. As you do that you see your friends smiling and you believe that they got the idea what to present you with. Now that is an expectation which is related to your desire to buy that dress. Finally when you get a present from your friends and you find out that it’s not the dress you were expecting, you feel disappointed. Even though the gift they presented you is pretty, you feel upset.
Now we must look into the causes why that happened. First thing when you saw the dress you had a desire to own it. That desire drove you to act out to let your friends know how badly you wanted it as you knew they were searching for something to gift you. From that moment the expectations started building up and it grew stronger with every moment after that. The expectations were so high that when it wasn’t met by your friends you felt disappointed. That led to being upset and unhappy. Thus you felt unhappy even when you got a beautiful gift from your friends and couldn’t appreciate it. You missed to enjoy that moment. You were not even in a position to think that maybe the dress was too costly for them to buy or maybe they never understood your indication and you just were in illusion that they did. Anything could have had happened. Consider other situations where your close friend or best friend shares a secret with another friend in the circle instead of you or forgets to tell you about their life’s significant event but tells other friends of theirs or forgets to invite you for a party they organised and you’re the last one to know about it. Or your crush doesn’t notice you or even talk to you properly. Most of us can connect to most of these situations. Recollect how you felt when something like those happened with you. It felt miserable right. Well that’s how it feels when our expectations with life or other people or with ourselves are not met.
It’s basically a chain which must be broken before it gets out of hand. To break the chain it’s important that one understands and thinks how to deal with one’s expectations. I’ll be talking about that in my next article.
Article by – Arpita Chowdhury