HOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE RUINING THE REAL EXPERIENCE
I was in 9th grade when I first heard this phrase. I remember we were on a school trek. We were taken to this cave sort of place where they made us sit and this person (I can’t remember who it was) came and was giving a speech. I wasn’t paying attention because my friends and I were sitting in the back and chilling but then I heard this one thing that she mentioned and it has stuck to me ever since that day. She said, “Expectations lead to sadness. Don’t expect anything from anyone.” Maybe I was too naïve to understand that phase properly. For some reason, I just couldn’t get those words out of my head.
Eventually, I ended up forgetting it and enjoyed the trek. I remember coming back home and thinking to myself about what she said. Maybe it stuck to me because I didn’t agree with it at that point in time. I was of the opinion that we should have expectations from people we care about, people who care about us, we should have expectations from ourselves, from situations. Like I said, maybe I was too naïve to understand such a deep thought.
Within those last two years of high school, I had experienced a lot of sadness because of expectations I had from people, because I had expectations from myself. If it weren’t for those expectations, I would have enjoyed and experienced being in the moment. I'll tell you why I feel this, on the day of my 10th standard results, I was very nervous (obviously). I was a good student who studied well and honestly had an expectation that I will get 95 per cent in my 10th boards. I wouldn’t outrightly come to say it but then that 95 was stuck to my head. This was an expectation from myself, I ended up getting 90 which is pretty good but I couldn’t enjoy it enough because I had made myself obsessed with the number 95.
That was one of the first incidents in my life when I realized that if you don’t have expectations you will enjoy reality more. Our expectations from anything, ruin the real experience. I've realized recently that I have been trapped in the whole expectation paradox. I still have a long way to go in terms of actually changing myself and not having false expectations and I have done good reading up on this topic. Here I am going to share with you things I've learnt in the past month.
HOW TO GET OUT OF THE EXPECTATION PARADOX?
The first step to achieving anything is awareness. It is important to be aware that you are in such a spiral. It is better than living in denial. Once I was aware of where I stood on the whole expectation topic, I started noticing situations. Everyday situations, simple situations. This consisted of me realizing the little things. Let me give you an example- I had expectations as little as my best friend will call me today and ask me to meet her. It’s a small simple thing. It's so insignificant that I could have done it myself but I still ended up expecting and getting disappointed when they didn’t call me.
The second step is the realization phase. The realization that people don’t owe you anything. People around you, even your closest bunch of people, don’t owe you anything. They have no need to please you or live up to your expectations. They will live their life at their own pace with or without you.
I have moved a little further in this journey of getting aware and moving on from the expectation. I know it's easy to state things but actually applying is very tough because this has been my way of living for as long as I can remember. So if you decide you want to bring change, we are in this together.
ARE EXPECTATIONS GOOD OR BAD?
There is not really only one answer to this question. It's both and it's neither. I can say that setting realistic expectations can be good. A realistic expectation that your reality can actually match up to. This question is subjective in the sense that sometimes having some expectations can enhance the way of living and make you happier but then there are this whole other set of expectations that’s making you sad and lonely. One has to go through the process of exploring themselves and find out for themselves what works for them and what doesn’t.
My opinion on this whole thing as per experience is that expectations will always lead to disappointment. There have been so many times when I have ended up in a bad place because I expected something from the other person. It was to an extent that I have blamed not being happy because of certain people. Lately, I have been realizing that it is not true, our happiness lies within ourselves and it is only in our hands. Only I have the power to let something affect me.
Let us take the control of our lives back again and not let faulty expectations making us sad and disappointed. It's not an easy process but as I said, we're in this together.