Monday, May 10, 2010

Shogunate of Expectations



Expectations, existence and living need to be moderated and monitored to be in equilibrium. With existence comes an expectation. At a workplace, or simply by being in a relationship with a life partner, children, parents and friends, an underlying expectation seeps in. Some of this is acknowledged while some are not. Although some of these expectations are majorly roles, the rest of them can create a lot of stress. This is where the subtle expectation(s) creep(s) in.

Where, given the possibilities generates the feeling of empowerment, possible failure to meet expectations can cripple one’s self-being. There is a fine overlapping space between the roles, its related duties and expectations. Being a human being includes indulging a characteristic of dreaming and expecting. Expectations undermine one’s life. Expectations take one into fantasy which is like looking at this real world through the wrong side of the telescope. Expectations generate hope, but with a heavy by-product to handle – disappointment. Expectations keep coming back despite having learnt that it is merely a mirage, which is quite pernicious. Expectations plague one’s life and fill it with irritation, anger, sadness, fear, dissatisfaction, impatience, tension, and disillusions. This shogunate of expectations on life isn’t just confined to the big ones. Even the acute ones transform like a snowball, only growing bigger and bigger.

Expectations can be self-induced and/or from others point of view. Buddhism uses a phrase called “wanting mind” – it is driven by desire and anxiety that creates a delusion of complete control in an ever changing life. The human mind is constantly enslaved to smaller or larger expectations such as that of an ideal day, situation, result, personality and so on. An end needs to be put to being defined by someone’s expectations, and be mindful.

Unacknowledged feelings are one of the biggest sparks for disappointment. And, this strongly comes under the subheading of expectations. However, nothing is permanent. Change is possible. So, it better be towards progress. One needs to take a dip into the nucleus of expectations to understand its framework. Understanding the nature of expectations, examining the nature of the individual who proposes the expectation will help recognize its manifestation. Rational although non-judgemental communication is the key.

Expectations and goals are merely colonial cousins but with a vast difference. In other words, expectations can be classified into unrealistic and realistic expectations. While expectations show the result at the other end of the tunnel, it is more future-based. The factor that differentiates expectations from goals is that expectations move on to narrowing down options, blinding possibilities and decaying one’s imagination because everything is set up on a track that is virtually unchangeable. Realistic expectations are expecting someone to finish their errands. Unrealistic expectations are expecting someone to finish their errands within a certain time frame and finishing them exceedingly well.

On the other hand, goals are more realistic because they do not display the path towards attaining them. This permits one to self-design their path that can be modified in accordance to the inevitable change in this world AKA adapt to the situation. While expectations add rigidity, goals and possibilities render freedom.

Possibilities are a detour from the contingent life moulded by expectations. This is more present-based. It encourages cherishing every present moment. Reflecting the preferences for the future is not harmful, but, taking it seriously and working towards something that is off-sight is the dreadful entry to expectation zone.

Freeing oneself from the web of expectations makes the human mind clearer and aids in making the right decision. Not expecting a fruit for labour is a hard thing to do. It is inevitable for anyone to expect something. Expecting an acknowledgement is an ideal and realist expectation. But, any expectations beyond that is route to possible disappointment. Being free of expectations releases oneself from pressure. It also helps one to be themselves. Only when one can master the art of being true to them, they can be true to others.

Negative expectations are virtually non-existent. This is just a perspective. One must help their inner-self to see the bright side. It is broad-minded to see both the positive and negative aspects of anything. But, it is optimistic to focus on the brighter side, which is more understanding and supportive and will eventually bring happiness. However, such expectations still need to be realistic.

Living in the present and cherishing every single moment helps make sweet memories. Again, it is only human to ponder about the past, or think about the future. During times such as this, it is healthy to talk to someone to deviate from the dim frame of mind. After all, an idle mind is a devils’ workshop. Learning from the past and moving on is healthy. Reiterating it is like scratching a wound. Reflecting on future preferences and setting goals is good whereas thinking deep and laying down methods to reach there is far-fetched, unrealistic and will lead nowhere but to disappointment. It is not expectations but unconditional love, respect, understanding, patience, passion, endurance and persistence, that can help attain goals. During one’s adaptation to the inevitable changes in this world, these factors can provide stability and prevent one from slipping away and ultimately reach respective and combined goals.

The present is called so because it is a present, a gift. So, instead of wasting time with expectations, leading the present scene of life by abiding by values and ethics with self-respect and dignity is the secret to joyfulness. It is these values that make the future brighter, while expectations are clouds that obstruct the view of the Sun.

It is hard, but try the best you can from refraining yourself from expectations. Existence brings expectations with it. Detach it so that you can go beyond your existence and live your life. Existence is a monochrome layer of life. 



Photo by Ajey Padival 
Copyright © Ajey Padival 2010 (Brisbane, Australia; +61434360675; ajeypadival@msn.com)





20 responses:

Cynthia said...

AJ, I am so impressed! An excellent essay filled with words
of wisdom for navigating life.

One of my AM mantras is I release
expectations - and I try.

Thank you.

Strawberry Girl said...

Darling,

Expectations

I feel an expectation right now, that I will be able to say something profound to this. That I will be able to understand this and expound or praise your essay.

Perhaps I will be able to, this is where I feel as though the world is pulling me in different directions, like a piece of taffy.

In order to fully appreciate what you have written I should read this several times and say something that shows that I understand...

Yet I have read your rough draft only and this is insufficient... so I shall write that I love the process of thinking through and appreciating the profound things of life.

XX

~Annie

The Write Girl said...

I really enjoy your philosophy on expectations and life. I agree with your viewpoint although I think it's difficult to see beyond one's expectations. I think for some of us it may take a lifetime to learn the value of enjoying life and living in the present. Nicely written here!

Eva said...

Expectations... oh my. They can be nasty things sometimes. Like you said, there are realistic ones and unrealistic ones. I think everyone has let themselves be consumed by an unrealistic expectation at some point in their life. But we all learn it isn't worth it eventually. I love how you state all this. Focusing on here and now is the most important part of life.

Chhaya said...

I read it more than 3 times and I see this as an extension of the last composition. the same underplaying theme. the same sense of hurt. the same sense of disappointment. I m not suggesting that its anything personal from u... but it makes me think .... u know what...

I think expectations are everywhere. When a Buddhist Monk trains himself to stop having these expectations, even he is having the expectation of never having one anymore... a vicious cycle, this one.

I always think that expectations are just the extensions of wishes.. but they do tend to hurt more than the latter ...
in the end... I hope everything is right in the universe...

island of peace said...

Very intelligent post. i agree with you. its normal to have expectations but we should be careful to draw the limit- so that it doesnot wipes out happiness.

Vittaldas Prabhu said...

I like that pragmatic and open-minded approach you have taken towards talking of expectations and its bearing on individuals. It is easy reprimand people for expecting, but the point that "with existence comes expectation" shows the open-minded approach you have taken. It is real and practical. It is not easy to detach oneself from expectations, but one can always try to eagerly await acknowledgment. When it comes, you are happy and if it doesn't you wouldn't care less.

This is an elaborate essay with so many details. The approach you take to detailing it out is so organized with one thought leading to other makes it clear in my mind, and also helps me ponder in a more orderly and organized way. Thanks for a lovely post, Ajey!

TechnoBabe said...

In my experience, most expectations are other people expecting something of me. In order for me to be healthy, I have to let it go. It is not mine. If other people choose to set themselves up for disappointment, it is their choice. I have plenty to do to keep me in the present and live life to the fullest. Some of what you speak of is part of the recovery program I work on with my sponsor in CoDependents Anonymous. I like the way you differentiate between a goal and an expectation.

Brosreview said...

@Cynthia - Thanks, you

Brosreview said...

@Strawberry girl - Honey, yes, I understand. But, hey, we communicate across various other mediums apart from here, hehe. So, I already know your thoughts on this one. Muwah!!

Brosreview said...

@The Write Girl - Thanks!!

Brosreview said...

@Eva - Thanks!

Brosreview said...

@Chhaya - Thanks, you!

Brosreview said...

@island of peace - Thanks!!

Brosreview said...

@Vittaldas - Your welcome! Thanks.

Brosreview said...

@TechnoBabe - Thanks!

findingmywingsinlife said...

Triana & I have a motto. it is simply, "No Expectations" we have over the years learned that that has been what has kept us friends all these years despite the fact that we are as different in personality as two people could be.

Noelle said...

Expectations can definitely equal trouble....I've been trying to let go of them and follow a calmer spirit of allowing...I think I have to read this a few more times but you are a very profound writer.

Brosreview said...

@findingmywingsinlife - Easier said than done, and I am sure you already realize that. Thanks.

Brosreview said...

@Noelle - Thanks!