The dictionary meaning of the word,
“Expectation” is: A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.
From a very early age we are introduced to expectations, in fact even before we are born! The phrase being: ‘An expecting mother.’ Even before you are born, your parents were expecting you. The story till here is fantastic!
Then the spiral of expectations slowly start pacing in your life…
Parents expect their kids to learn to crawl soon, hear soon, walk soon, talk soon, join school earlier by a few years, just in case… HahaX. The current trend being school, tuitions, special classes, classical music, western dance, karate, swimming, guitar, calligraphy classes, football coaching and every other possible or impossible thing. They are not your children, they are your Basket of expectations.
My mother was the computer teacher in the school which I studied. I like any other kid forgot to do the home work one day, the teacher said, ” I didn’t expect this from you.” Meaning, it was fine if the other kids forgot, but my memory loss would bring shame to my mother as well. I was expected to be extra cautious. This is Unfair expectations.
My Dad would always quote, ” I’m pinning my hope on you.” Being a self motivated kid, this phrase put me under a lot of stress. Now there was a difference, in the expectations from my parents and grandmother. Say, if I’m back after an exam, and tell my paper didn’t go well. Immediately, Grandmother: “Will you pass?” My mother: ” Did others find the paper hard as well?” My Dad: ” Which position would you stand in class?” Varied intensities/levels of expectations. This is Scales of expectation.
The level of expectations for grade 10 and grade 12 need not even be emphasized, it’s as dreaded as the dooms day was approaching. Then expectations of a rank, expectations of placement, expectation of the perfect career/life, expectation of onsite, expectation of marriage, expectation of a kid and the Loop of expectations continues…
So though expectation is a motivational factor, you don’t like the world dictating standards to your life.. Do you?
Definitely, none of us would like that, but unfortunately the sad truth is that we are unknowingly stuck in the whirl of expectations.
Now, these were all instances where the world put a lot of burden of expectation on us.
Do we have expectations from others?
Damn! Yes, I do. I expect my mom to cook every single day. I expect the clouds to warn me before it rains. I expect karma to have a fast and good return policy. I expect the society to respect me, my thoughts, my family, my choices, my food, my pet, my choice of clothes and my life on the whole. Now pause and think!
Was it the society expecting from you or you expecting acceptance from the society?
The answer could be both. But I would still slightly lean onto the concept of the expectations being internal. We have fixed certain things in our mind of a perfect life, from which stems the cause of a dissatisfaction and lack of self worth. The conflict here is Internal Expectation.
I expect my colleague to speak to me a certain way.
I expect educated and well dressed men not to harass women.
I expect my child to secure the first rank in class, because I’ve given him a lot of input.
This is a non-exhaustive list. We suffer from something also called, Picture Perfect Life. I’m writing this article, because I was on the victim side just as you are..
I realized, I suffered when people put expectations on me, and I also suffered when I put expectations on others. Because, I felt burdened with expectations and I felt others didn’t live up to my expectations, I suffered either way.
So are having expectations bad?
No, but just check in that you are not too pinned down by the idea of painting a picture perfect life where all expectations set are met. Rather than an expectation I would suggest you have a mission and a vision.
Mission: describes what you want to do now.
Vision: outlines what you want to be in the future – end goal.
Set yourself free from the shackles of your own expectations.
Thanks to a friend who inspired this thought process.
Life is Beautiful!