When a baby is born in this world, he cries, expecting the world to fill his lungs with air, expecting the world around him to feed him. His survival is dependant on those expectations being fulfilled. When he grows into a little infant, as he learns to walk, he falls down many times, he expects someone to pick him up, reassure him he’s going to be okay and possibly nurse his wounds. When he grows some more he goes to school, for his education, with the expectation that he will learn something. When he plays a sport it is with the expectation that he’d become a somebody in it or that it’d keep him fit. When he gets into a relationship, it is with the expectation that it’d satisfy some emotional or physical need in him. When he marries it is with the hope that it’d enable progeny. When we take a holiday it is to relax, or have fun or create memories. Doesn’t purpose too become an expectation then?
One could use the justification of expectation being realistic or unrealistic. A question could arise here, what is construed realistic expectation as opposed to unrealistic expectation. The answer to this technically lies in the person or situation in context. He is the best judge of his situation. Being in a world full of people, dealing with multitude of relationships and emotions how can one not have expectations? I think it is what propels us to do that much more or try a little harder. The expectations needn’t always be in the form of a prize or a person but in the form of a gesture, an acknowledgement, a birthday wish, a favour, a good word, even just a smile. When we do, it transforms lives, improves relationships, and brings people closer. When we fail to do that, we are guilty of taking the expectant recipient for granted or possibly even letting them down. And on our part we feel indignant that others have expectations of us. We go down a notch in their view. And we prefer to ignore that. We have now arrived at an era where even expecting understanding is an ‘expectation’ that we have no right to get it!
I have heard this statement – Act without expectation. Even if were to, at some sub-conscious level our actions are borne out of some expectation I feel. I somehow find it dismissive when people say ‘you ought not to have expectations’. It comes across as if people have no sound, logical explanation or simply say it for want of anything else to say! To expect is human, to not deliver too perhaps is human too. But the key lies in the awareness that yes, people have expectations, I may or may not be able to live up to it, but I think I have a duty to acknowledge it. Similarly I can expect from others, but I ought to be prepared for disappointments because not everybody can live up to it. Perhaps we have a duty to communicate or express our expectations too instead of assuming the others understand. Perhaps that way a lot of heartaches and heartbreaks can be prevented.
I agree I can’t possibly live up to everybody’s expectation of me, but where I can, when I am aware of it, I think I ought to live up to it! And when I can’t, expressing my inability there does not make me less of a human being, but on the contrary, makes me more of a human!