- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Actually I am not referring to the Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
But more so the expectations that so many often place . . .place upon people, on situations, on daily happenings and occurrences.
In the words of Charlotte Bronte “Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.”
And in so many words . . .this is so very true. So in light of this . . .are we right to have expectations?
Or, is it one of those things where we will always end up disappointed because the reality will never achieve the level of expectation that we may place?
Or without expectations or indeed if we lower our expectations does that mean we are always settling for less than we may want, desire or deserve?
I do not think it is wrong to have expectations, as long as those expectations are realistic, are achievable. Except, we often place expectations upon people to be something that they cannot be, we often place expectations on situations which are impossible to achieve. And it is then, when those expectations are not met, that we feel let down, that we feel the negative.
It is these expectations which are the ones we maybe shouldn't have, shouldn't hold onto.
Life isn't a fairy tale.
It isn't like a film on the big screen where everything has its perfect ending, it never can be.
So why do we torture ourselves with placing unrealistic expectations on events or on people or on life?
It doesn't mean that we cannot have hope. It doesn't mean that we cannot expect certain things from people . . .from events or from life.
We can. We do.
But people cannot be more than they are. Life cannot be more than it is or more than we can make it.
However much we may like to think it is possible, is it really possible to have everything we want? Is it really possible for others to meet our needs? Or is that placing an expectation so great it can never be matched? Or, is it in reality, placing a very unrealistic expectation . . .an unfair expectation?
We cannot, nor should we rely on others to meet all of our needs . . .and instead perhaps should stop expecting life to be different, stop expecting everyone to meet our wants, stop feeling entitled to everything we may want . . .expectations can so often not be met, causing a feeling or misery or that we have been let down by the actions (or not!) because those expectations haven't been met.
The reality probably is, we haven't been let down . . .just that we have placed an expectation that was too big . . .too great . . .to ever truly be met.
Is lowering our expectations meaning we are settling for less?
For me, no. I do not think so.
I do not believe it is the case. I think in lowering our expectations to a more realistic level, to something that can be achieved, we have the possibility of the life that we want, that our needs will be met, that we can find happiness, contentment and joy.
Lowering our expectations doesn't mean that we are settling. It doesn't mean that we aren't expecting at all . . .it is more about expecting the realistic rather than wishing things could be different or that people could be different.
We often expect too much.
People often idealise people.
But in the words of Leo Buscaglia
"Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.”
And that is very true. They won't.
Instead it is about accepting.
Accepting people. Accepting situations. Accepting a reality.
Loving someone for all that they are, for what they do and in the way that they do it. Accepting that they are human and cannot achieve the impossible and that while someone may have such great expectations, that great expectations are often not achievable.
Lowering our expectations of them and accepting them in this way means we are not let down by them, (even if they weren't actually letting us down anyway) it doesn't mean that we are settling . . .instead we accept . . .instead we are fulfilled by them, by who they are, by what they give. People can only do what they can do, we need to realise that, accept it. If it means we lower our expectations of them, then so be it.
Loving them for exactly who they are, for all that they are . . .there is something rather wonderful in being able to do that.
A beauty in being able to accept, rather than to expect.