Great Expectations -or- Your Secret Fantasies Revealed

9 Mar
Are they?

Is it?

Today I ran across this ‘meme’, and it applies to some things I’ve been contemplating lately.  I saved it and was about to post it to my Facebook page, when I had to pause and rethink its message. Are expectations really the root of all heartache?  After a few moments of serious thought, I had to conclude that although the sentiment seems sound on the surface, it is incorrect.  I don’t believe that expectations are the problem.

I believe it is important for us to hold expectations; of ourselves as well as those around us.  It’s been proven that higher expectations net higher results than low or no expectations.  When expectations come as a representation of faith in the potential of people or situations, I believe they are an entirely positive thing.  The problems begin to arise when we allow ourselves to forget that the expectations we hold are nothing more than fantasies we have woven about the future, in order to predict what will make us happy.

In order to predict what will make us happy.

The expectations we hold about how things should be aren’t for the benefit of anyone but ourselves, because we don’t hold expectations about things that don’t affect us.  Refusal to accept things as they are, to let go of our expectations, is what causes the heartache Shakespeare spoke of. 

Thinking of the way we would like for things to happen is a great way for us to make choices about what we should do in pursuit of our own happiness, but when we are unable to let go of those fantasies, when reality isn’t quite measuring up, we run into heartache, disappointment, anger… we become disillusioned; stripped of our fantasy world in which everything goes according to our plan, and we don’t like it.

  • Someone is late – we become irritated because what is is not measuring up to what we think should be.
  • Someone lies – we become angry because our fantasy that everyone is going to be honest with us is shattered.

Happiness, even peace, comes when we are able to accept reality for being what it is, not what we want it to be.  So have all the expectations you like… just be willing to release them when they detract from your happiness instead of enhancing it. 

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