The Truth About Expectations

You know, there is a great deal of expectations in our hearts from others. When someone breaks our expectations, it hurts. We all know this. Why do we have expectations at all? Does expectations serve any purpose? Is it helpful to make a relationship strong and beautiful? 

Let’s try to understand the truth behind it. 

Understanding Expectations

Every relation is built upon expectations. We get married in the very expectation that we’re going to be happy. We give birth to the next generation expecting that they will carry forward our name and legacy. There is no relation without expectation. Even our relation with God, do we not expect from Him (or Her)? We do expect a lot of things—both material and spiritual. 

So, what is expectation? 

It’s basically our desire for something. We are creatures of desire. Everything we do, there is a desire behind it. We expect love, we expect respect, a particular way of behaviour and so on. There are infinite expectations from people.

Expectations are our way of fulfilling our desires and needs. 

Beautiful or Bitter? 

It’s only natural to expect. We are social animals, and by fulfilling each-others’ expectations, we stay united, close. Expectations are even somewhat necessary to have a sense of responsibility. For example, law expects us to be away from illegal activities. That’s why, we behave as responsible citizens. 

From the perspective of individual relations, expectations are what bind us together. Expectations are beautiful. It can work as catalysts to our growth and make us more responsible human beings. 

But there is a downside to it. Expectations can suffocate us also. It can become entanglement and bondage. Over-expectation and wrong-expectation are the greatest enemies of a relationship and can destroy all beauty in a relationship. It kills us silently. 

Incidents of students committing suicide because of excessive family expectations is a common thing in India, as well as domestic violence against the bride in expectations of dowry or male child. 

These are extreme cases. But even in a two-member relationship, expectations can either make or break that relationship. How often do we realise that no two persons expectations match! One wants something, the other something else. It’s an everyday phenomena almost, no? 

And when they don’t match, conflicts and clashes arise. They are cracks in a relationship. 

Correcting Our Expectations

We often expect others to behave in a certain way— “best, if others also behave in my way!”—isn’t it? We often say things like:

• Why did he/she say that?

• Why did he/she do that?

• Why did he/she behave like that? 

• Why can’t they do this/that? 

We often get into the competition to correct the other person, without realising that it’ll only make things worse. Why people behave the way they do—finding out the reason is not really our business! People behave in a certain way because they are like that! End of the story! We just have to see how we should respond, no? What do you think? Can you change others by asking them to change their behaviour? They will give their own logic and you’ll give your own. Where is the end of it? 

We don’t have to correct others. Nor is it the smart thing to do. It’ll only make your headache worse. Instead, question your expectations—

Are your expectations right in the first place? Are you expecting the right thing from the right person? Are you expecting too much? Are you expecting in the wrong time and place? Is this the right person to even expect from? And most important of all, why do you even expect—what's your motive? 

Yes, we cannot but expect. But most often our expectations suffocate each other. Here is a truth for you— 

A major part of our suffering in life is because of excessive and wrong expectations from others. 

We fail to fulfill every expectation of others, and when we fail, instead of becoming sympathetic, people keep pricking us with their bad words and behaviour. 

If you want to slash your suffering by almost 30% (this is not statistical data, only my approximation), learn not to expect anything from anyone! Because when you expect something from someone, we are giving away the keys to our happiness in their hands. And in how many changing hands we’ve given the keys! Reduce your expectations, therefore. 

The moment you expect something from someone, you’re inviting suffering. When there is an expectation of getting something, fear of losing it is also there like the shadow. It must be. 

I don’t know if you’d believe me or not, but it is possible to live without the slightest bit of expectation. I’ve found the way to live like that. 

If you're not attached to your desires, you can live without expecting anything from the world. 

The amount of mental peace you get from this freedom is something you must know. If you’re not bound by people’s expectations, it is a tremendous freedom. When you don’t expect anything from anyone, you are free to live. And at the same time, it gives you the freedom to fulfill your responsibilities in a free way. You are not crushed by others, you move freely among them, like fish in the water…water does not crush it, water does not stick to it. 

Learn to live like this. You will be tremendously empowered. 

Thank you. 

Image Credit: shutterstock.

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