“Life is unfair!” “I should have gotten that promotion!” “I thought you loved me.” “Why didn’t I win? I am the best!” “One measly rose? It is our anniversary!” There is no doubt about it – the human race loves drama. We are always frustrated about something. We are ready for one thing, but quite the opposite happens in its stead. We cry. We throw tantrums. We complain to anyone who listens. Eventually, we get depressed. Then, we get back on our feet. And on the day that a hint of a smile finally inches its way into our cheeks, BOOM! “He better propose soon, or else…” And the deadly cycle begins again.
Someone once said that hope is a dangerous thing. But there is nothing more harmful than expectation. It is the start of all negative emotions – disappointment, anger, exasperation, resentment. Our expectations make us certain how things are going to turn out. But we don’t have control over the weather, our spouse’s thoughts, our boss’ schedule, or the traffic situation. So, in our minds, we already have an image of future events. And they are always perfect each time we imagine them. One mishap occurs and we crumble to pieces. We blame everybody, including the government! It is no wonder our generation is discovering more and more diseases. We are digging our own graves, and we are already a few feet in. It is easy to stop ourselves from expecting things from others once we get our facts right.
Fact #1: We have no hold over how another person feels or thinks. We can never assume that our neighbor’s values and intentions are identical to our own. Hence, anticipating a certain move is just a recipe for disaster. Quite similar to playing a game of chess, there is no telling how our opponent will react. Hence, it is wise for us to either ask him directly or simply wait patiently for him to act.
Fact #2: Other people cannot read our minds. Frequently, we drop hints by saying or doing something which the intended person can’t decipher. He doesn’t even know we are speaking in code! Other times, we presume that since we have been living together for so long that for sure, our spouse would, by now, have already guessed what we want for Christmas. Generally speaking, he is thinking more about the baseball game he missed earlier that day.
Fact #3: We cannot please everybody. When we do a favor for a friend, we expect gratitude. It is standard procedure, in our opinion. But there are some who consider that favor an obligation because of friendship. Others might be just forgetful. Either they have forgotten about what we did altogether, or they may have been busy and didn’t say their thank-yous. In other words, we must remember to do things unconditionally. If we don’t really want to do it, saying no isn’t that difficult.
Expectation usually breeds resentment from either side, and sometimes, from both. A parent who wants her child to excel in class might take her failing grades as a sign of disrespect. A husband whose mother is celebrating her birthday may force his unwilling wife to attend the party. A loyal employee would assume the newly-vacated position is his because of his years of service. All these show anticipation simply because it is the norm. But we don’t really know if all people define the norm in exactly the same way. We keep on expecting people to help us reach a certain destination without asking them if they have the same goal in mind! So, the only solution is not letting unforeseen situations rule our emotions. We either learn from them or adjust our outlook. Finally, anything done sincerely does not require recognition. If we do things without conditions, the result doesn’t matter. Unconditional love produces fantastic consequences. Real passion for a sport needs no trophies. True love doesn’t demand gifts. Genuine effort at work asks for no awards. With love as our motivation, life is wonderful after all.