Expectation is two-pronged strategy, or two sides of the same coin;expectations from oneself and expectations from others. The former strategy would bring happiness, while the later would bring disappointment, misery and sorrow.
Expectations from others:
If we expect from others to act or behave in a certain way, the we may encounter disappointment. To be human is to err. Once I was to meet with a friend for coffee in the evening. But on the day of our appointment I remembered 45 minutes, after the appointed time, that I was to meet her. So, I called her, apologized and told her I could join if she was still at the coffee shop. Fortunately she was and when I went there she had books spread all over the table and working on an assignment. I profusely apologized, and she said, “It’s all right because I had brought my books and thought I would work even if you were late. I am stickler when it comes to such meetings and I used to get worked out if someone was late by even ten minutes. That day what I learned how my lateness didn’t disappoint my friend. I have started following her example and I never got disappointed if someone was late.
Nuances of expectations from others:
- We do a favor for someone else with the idea that they would reciprocate the favor and when they don’t, that’s when disappointment sets in.
- We expect other person(s) behave in a certain way based on our expectation of their gender, education, social status, etc.
- Our level of expectation is based on the closeness of our relationship.
- One thing is for sure and that is familiarity breeds attachment, which causes disappointment.
Expecting something from the other person is unfair:
Expecting something from the other party without telling them about it is unfair to the other person. Why? Because no one can read what’s in our mind, so the other person doesn’t know what we are expecting from them. But, for argument sake, we tell ourselves, “But the other person should know how they are supposed to act culturally or in a certain relationship.”
Results of expecting from others:
- We give our power away to other people with the hope that they would make us happy.
- This also puts us in the victim mode because we think other people are responsible for our happiness.
- We set ourselves for heartaches, resentments, disappointments, sadness, remorse among other emotions.
Expectations from oneself
The side that brings joy is when we expect from ourselves that we can do better in anything and expect ourselves to find a way to improve our skills that help close the gap between where we are now and how we can be better. But we have to be careful because if, for instance, we are learning to swim and after a week of being in the shallow water we just want to start swimming in deep side of the pool or swim in a sea, it may not be realistic. This is a way to set ourselves up for failure. I am sure it can be done, though it would require a tremendous amount of swimming. So, it’s important to set ourselves for success. Set up realistic goals that can be achieved within a certain time-frame.