How many times have you found yourself in a situation and unknowingly started imagining what would happen next, the imaginations turned to attempts of prediction and then without even realizing it, you started waiting for those things that you’ve built inside your head to actually happen.
It’s not entirely unrealistic, it happens automatically once you get to know someone, you memorize their patterns and become capable of predicting their behavior based on former experiences, it also happens when you become sure enough of yourself that you start predicting your own performance in different situations, so it’s only natural to expect someone to be there for you since that’s their habit, it makes sense that you would expect nothing but honesty from someone who’s never lied to you, and to expect great results for your work because that’s what you’re used to.
But (in life there will always be a but) there are times when you’re not handed the package you’ve been expecting, the image you had in your head would vanish into thin air and you would then feel completely lost and taken off guard. It is in those moments that your expectations stop being your loyal companion and turn into your worst enemy, and you’re left feeling nothing but utter disappointment.
Disappointment is such an unpleasant feeling, it’s a mix of anger and betrayal that taste all too bitter, it’s one of those feelings that you can’t seem to figure out to whom it should be directed, to others or to yourself, you can’t quite decide who’s wrong in that situation, the ones responsible for you shock or you for building standards that were too high.
It’s a cruel thing that we do to ourselves when we look at the world as a wish granting factory, for every time you expect something to happen, you’re unwillingly and unknowingly wishing for it to happen, of course you’ll get that sinking feeling when the reality you waited for is nothing like your imagination, it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, sometimes it’s just too hard to accept when things go differently than what we wanted them to, because it is in our nature to want to have some kind of control, no one likes to be taken by surprise, we all crave that sense of being able to handle and overcome anything, so when you no longer feel like the captain of your own ship, it can be unsettling.
The moment life fails you is the moment everything shifts and you lose your trust in it. The word itself “to fail” wouldn’t have existed without “expectations“, after all nothing can fail you as long as you’re not betting anything on it.
In her book “Reclaim your heart”; Yasmin Mogahed talks about how we all build so many expectations on the people around us to the point that we might hold them responsible for our happiness, or lack thereof. Reading her words had a remarkable effect on me and helped me realize that expecting perfection can indeed cause more harm than good. Sometimes people make mistakes and disappoint us just like we could unintentionally fail someone who were counting on us.
“My mistake was not in having expectations; as humans, we should never lose hope. The problem was in *where* I was placing those expectations and that hope. At the end of the day, my hope and expectations were not being placed in God. My hope and expectations were in people, relationships, means. Ultimately, my hope was in this dunya rather than Allah.„ ―Yasmin Mogahed, Reclaim your heart.
You might wonder what is it that you should do instead, stop expecting the future to be happy? No. Start expecting negative things? Of course not. The thing is, there is something beyond our desires, plans and predictions, and if you look back in your life you would realize that the things you experience today are not the things you predicted yesterday. The reason why our own expectations end up breaking our hearts is because we trust ourselves and we trust others more than we trust our creator. We live under the illusion that somehow we’re the makers of our own destiny so when things turn out against our expectations we think we’re in trouble because what we imagined seemed like it was the only way it should have been, but let me correct that idea for you, if that’s how it should have been, it would have happened that way, your way. But since it didn’t, there is something else, another scenario that you haven’t thought of, and it’s okay, we’re humans and we’re flawed, there is a reason why we’re not the ones in control of our own fate.
“Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You gotta wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady, standing . . . still. The expected’s just the beginning. The unexpected is what changes our lives.”― Meredith, Grey’s Anatomy
It is only fair to oversee positive things happening, but it is never okay to paint the most perfect picture and get pissed off when life doesn’t fulfill your high standard demands, who said life is supposed to be perfect ?. And if you think about it, it is the best way it can be, what kind of a world would it be if you could write your own script and see it played in front you exactly how you imagined it ? what would be the point of living even ? it would have been easier, but the thing about life is that it is not supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be worth it. We are miserable because we don’t live by our role, we worry about everything and think about everything, while that’s not our job, our job is to live, to give and to leave a positive mark behind. When you let go of expectations you will get a sense of freedom, because you’ll no longer feel the need to set your entire existence in a straight path built within your flawed imagination. It’s all about facing the unknown, living in the moment and leaving matters of destiny to their holder. We should always hold on to the hope that positive things will happen, they don’t usually happen when or how we want them to, but you only need to trust that whatever happens, it is always for the best.