“In our pursuit of the things of this world, we usually prevent enjoyment by expectation; we anticipate our own happiness, and eat out the heart and sweetness and worldly pleasures by delightful forethoughts of them; so that when we come to possess them, they do not answer the expectation, nor satisfy the desires which were raised about them, and they vanish into nothing.”
Expectations are the best known and the least well known by people at the same time. We always think we know how high or low to keep our expectations or what would be appropriate to expect from whom; while practically that cannot happen. Expectations rise out of our perception of the future, may be the near future or the distant one but it’s what we foresee and as per our calculations and judgements, decide is least or most likely to happen. But has anyone ever been able to predict the future correctly? That’s one way of looking at it. Apart from this, we attach expectations to people based on what we believe they’re like and they are capable of doing. You may be correct a lot of times if you know the person well enough. But then you don’t always know them well enough, do you? People will surprise you at all points of time. It could cause you pain or make you happy, but there are always more surprises in store for you than you can imagine. Because unlike materialistic things, there’s no uniformity in human nature or the future, and we tend to analyse these two the most. As unfortunate as that may be, there isn’t much you can do to control it I believe. You know how everyone keeps preaching, Have no expectations you’ll never be hurt. While they’re at giving you such advice, consult them on how to do that as well. Believe me, they won’t have the answer. And it’s a fact so we all have to embrace it. We can limit our expectations at the best, or try to convince ourselves that something would or would not happen. But If it’s meant to be, there’s not much in your hands. We’re in control of very little actually. We are in control of what we do and not what we get. You can have your hands all over the floor hoping something wonderful is going to fall off the sky, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually going to. You can do your bit and be happy with it, but you do not have a hold over the outcome.
Now coming to whether it’s right to have expectations or not. The question sounds very rational and morally sound but it’s not. How can you determine the degree of right or wrong of something you have no control upon? Some people argue that expectations lead to disappointments. Of course they do. Whatever you may do, you are bound to be disappointed or hurt sometimes. If you have really heightened expectations, and things do not turn out to be in your favour, chances are you’ll take a good amount of time to get over that kind of disappointment. But it’s a natural feeling which you must experience at some point of time or the other. Having said that, I also think It’s a little inappropriate to expect too much. I know you cannot completely wipe out all expectations you’ve ever had from something or someone, but let there be an element of surprise? You will have expectations, but they hurt less when you are less vocal about them and more realistic. If you believe in something, you don’t have to shout out to the world and tell them that; If you know it in your heart then that’s good enough. Plus it saves you a lot of humiliation I think, so that’s a bonus. But if you’re absolutely frightened to be disappointed or the idea itself is terrifying for you, I guess you must find a way to have minimal expectations. If you can’t handle the risk, you don’t deserve the reward, it’s that simple.
The good part about having expectations is that keeps you driven. It’s like you set a standard for yourself and because you’re trying to live up to that standard you’ve set, you’re likely to work harder and strive to actually get there. This only applies to things which are a result of your activities and not people, there it won’t do you much good. But sometimes expectations give you something to look forward to; they give you a goal. And I feel that makes you a more disciplined and mature person. You can never be sure of getting the result that you expected or hoped for or even worked for, but at least you can find out what your hundred percent is. It makes you more familiar with your own potential which is a huge plus for you. But barring all of this, I still feel that there isn’t much you get from judging whether its right or wrong to expect because you’re going to expect anyway. And as far as expectations from people are concerned, at least for a sane person, you only expect as much as you can do, So there is an obvious limit set right there. Be hopeful, be optimistic and have your fair share of expectations. It’s what keeps you from being superficial. And do that also because it’s easier to find a way to deal with hurt, but harder to find a way to not expect.