Expectations are assumptions of a difficult kind.
Let me give you an example of expectations that are reasonable: A promise, a contract, a business deal, a purchase, or an agreement, be it written or spoken. Here we “should” expect the other party to act with integrity, as long as we fulfill our part.
All other expectations are unreasonable in my eyes. This does not mean that we can’t have definitions and standards for what is acceptable or tolerable behavior, however, any expectation existing outside of the reasonable parameters that I have just mentioned, are highly problematic. As of today, the average human characteristic is to have tons of expectations in almost every aspect of life, be it negative expectations (fear-based) or something that we are just taking for granted (in the sense of entitlement).
I believe that expectations are a possible killer for relationships and friendships, as they can create a lot of tension and conflict that is unresolvable.
I want to make some statements here to provoke you to look in your own life where you may hold on to unreasonable expectations.
She is always talking about her problems and can’t stop complaining!
He always wants me to do this for him!
They should tell me about that when I need to know!
The waitress is not bringing me the menu without me asking for it!
People should be more respectful when they talk to me!
He never calls me!
I told my mom so many times that I hate it when she does that.
Now, there are certainly situations where we just need to communicate properly and find new agreements with the people around us, so things can be clear and there is a better ground for mutual understanding. However, this is not always possible and we have to accept that everybody comes with a different “capacity” to do things or to understand about circumstances.
You can’t expect them to feel you.
You can’t expect them to understand you.
You can’t expect them to understand your thoughts and feelings and act accordingly.
You can’t even expect them to hear you, even if you are talking to them very clearly, even if you talk to them repeatedly.
I also believe that we cannot forgive others as long as we hold on to expectations. This could be expectations that we had in the past, expectations that were not met. It could also have been that our needs were simply not met, and that is very likely so true for most of us. A spiritual teacher that I am following has spoken about an “expectancy system” that is in place in our society which is basically part of a fundamental corruption of the human spirit.
Imagine if you run around your whole life with lots of expectations and you are constantly troubled because you are endlessly disappointed and you continuously feel betrayed because people don’t meet your expectations.
The way I see it that everything we do for each other (outside of certain agreements) is voluntary, and I find it very important to always keep that in mind, especially at times when I feel somewhat triggered by other peoples actions or inactions.
The problem is that we feel so damn entitled and that we think it is normal to have expectations towards others. Let me tell you, it is not. It may be deemed normal, it may be common, but it is not healthy.
Having expectations is very similar to making assumptions, and that is a bad thing. Every expectation is actually based on an assumption and it has perhaps nothing to do with an actual reality. It is just an artificial construct based on thoughts and it is not healthy.
In fact being healthy is to be silent and to have a mind that is free of thoughts.
Can you imagine?
I think most people can’t even believe this.
Let me tell you again: Being healthy means to be free of thought, at least at those times where you choose to relax and not engage in the excessive thinking that has become the norm. To be able to stop your thinking process at will, and to be free of the nagging inner voice is something we need for our well-being.
I believe that we can never be truly fulfilled if we can’t be empty, empty in the sense of being silent, not having nagging thoughts and an ongoing inner dialogue that feels like a crazy person constantly talking to itself.
Imagine how it would be to not have expectations and to instead find ways to communicate with great care and with love, and to let people know what you need and kindly ask them if they may be willing to fulfill your needs, be it as an act of friendship, an exchange, or even just out of kindness – to support another human being.
If we are able to understand our “expectancy system”, stop making assumptions all the time, we may very well be on our way to freedom, maybe even global peace.
Feel free to leave a comment below. This is an interesting topic to talk about. You can also share this article easily on social media by using the buttons below. : )