Expectation. The word comes from the Latin language around the 1550's and the meaning of it seems to have deepened over time. Originally, the meaning was tied to words like wait, look out for and defer action. Gradually over time, its morphed into more "feeling words" like hope and desire. Deeper emotions clearly tied to the same word as time's moved on.
What do you think about expectations? Should one have them? And if so, of whom? I mean who falls within your ideas and who is exempt? Are you included?
I have to say in retrospect, at least for me, I believe having expectations is akin to playing with fire and yes, I have been badly burned and yes, I have thought about this subject, a lot.
What helped turn me into a believer that having expectations leads only to suffering were a couple of quotes, one in particular.
Sure Shakespeare's "Expectation is the root of all heartache." is pretty doggone cut and dried and let's be clear "heartaches" come in all sizes. But it was a quote with no credited author that did me in and it goes like this "Expectations are pre-meditated resentments." Oh! Snap!
I want you to think about that quote for a moment, even longer if you really want to take on the magnitude of how deeply powerful that handful of words are. When we expect and things don't turn out the way we had wished and hoped, does that not foster resentment? The quote is clear, if we expect, we can anticipate potentially adding yet another "brick" to that "resentment wall" many of us have been constructing, quietly and not so quietly, for years.
I'm in the business of mitigating suffering. Most of all my own. I feel as though I have suffered several lifetimes in just this one, so anything I can do to continue to keep my peace a priority, I do. I don't play around when it comes to self-imposed suffering. I'm not a fan.
Now when I think about the times I was or am in the most distress, I find that the suffering almost always winds its way back to my having expectations. Typically of another. I would think "I hoped she would..." or I wished they would..." Get me?
I invite each of you to play with the following questions, I welcome your comments and quite possibly the beginning of a robust conversation. Imagine a life with no expectations. Can you? What might that look like? Pros? Cons?
Here's where I'm trying to have more awareness, seeing if I can lessen my natural tendency to expect and instead, simply appreciate. This is not easy, my friends, I assure you, but I believe the combination of awareness and appreciation can be exactly what puts out the fire of suffering, no matter what level you are experiencing it at.
Is this just "Rolling over and playing dead?" Or is this you caring for yourself, your mental health and well-being? Not simply saying that you want more peace but actually doing what it takes to make it a priority?
Peace isn't cheap.
I'm finding neither are expectations.
We all pay a price.
The question is...
How much are you willing to spend?