Expectation will ruin your life

Expectation and disappointment go together. The more we expect the more disappointed we are likely to be when things don’t work out. Experience they say is what you get when you don’t get what you want, so logically that particular experience should teach us not to expect so much.

But does it? Most of us are brought up and conditioned to expect certain results from certain actions and it rarely occurs to us that here might actually be a dis-connect in this cause and effect scenario. But there is. Despite our conditioning to the contrary, there is often no intrinsic justification for expecting anything from what we do or say. Ok, if we go to a doctor for a diagnosis, we would expect to find out what is wrong with us. If we pick up something in a shop, we would expect and be expected to pay for it.

That is because these are reasonable, automatic expectations which we don’t even think about. But what about our expectations of other people? What about our expectations of ourselves? These are not so straightforward and they can be deeply ingrained, controlling our behaviour and attitudes. They can as a result cause major and depressing disappointment which can blight our lives.

Where people are concerned and that includes ourselves, we need to back off and develop some serious objectivity. Expecting certain things from other people is usually a simple but lethal transfer of our need to them, as though it is up to them to keep us satisfied, to make us happy and secure. They are supposed to behave in a way which suits us, when in fact they have the same rights as us to do and say whatever they want. Haven’t they?

Why exactly do they have to do what we think is right? Ask yourself. Is it because they are a friend, a spouse, or because you think they owe you something? Could it be that their idea of what is right is different to yours? If it is then that is ok and you do not have to like their way of looking at things. In that case it might be better all round to keep them at a distance, or to leave them out of your life altogether. There are no rules saying you have to like everyone. But you will be happier if you stop expecting of them.

Expectations of yourself are even more destructive. All manner of pressures and influences combine through our lives to exert self-expectation, which can become huge. But why do we fall for it? We are mortal, only human and capable of only so much. Be even more objective with yourself than with others. Do what is needed, when it is needed, as far as you can. When you have done what you can, stop. Just stop. There are certainly no rules about driving yourself beyond what you can actually do, or want to do. You really can stop doing what you are not enjoying.

Stop expecting yourself to do the impossible. That’s the point – it’s impossible, right?

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