To expect is to assume that something will work out a particular way. That the stars will align and things will unfold as normal. The dilemma here is that everybody has their own version of normal. What we think of as normal is part of our indoctrination. We are brainwashed by our country, our parents, our siblings, our partners, our friends, religion, the news, social media, television… Did I mention religion? We are shaped by the repetition of words and ideas that surround us.
I was disappointed recently. Disappointment takes you by surprise. It usually happens to me when I am oblivious to an expectation that I had. That old “normal” predicament. My expectation tricked me. I expected someone to behave a particular way. I expected somebody to be my version of kind. A lot of people think that they’re kind. There are a few versions of that too.
Someone who I really admire always tells me not to have expectations and therefore no disappointments. I think that’s rubbish. At the very least you have to expect to breathe. Who wants to live life with mediocre expectations anyway? How boring. I expect to breathe today and maybe pump some blood to vital organs. What a dull life.
While mum is expecting, we expect in the womb. We have expectation-loaded tantrums when we are babies. We expect our parents to provide for us as we grow up (and then some). We expect our teachers to care about us when we go to school. We expect our bodies to work properly. We expect to fall in love. We expect that when we smile at someone, they will smile back. We expect to be treated with empathy. Our version of empathy.
Love is shaped by expectations. Well, my version of love anyway. I expect people to love me. I expect that someone will be interested in my words. I expect hugs. I expect that if I am sick someone will care for me. I also work hard giving those things before I expect them in return. How can love exist without expectations? When we give, we expect something in return. When you give food to a homeless person, you expect it will provide them with fullness right? Not metaphorical fullness. Just plain old full-belly fullness. That the food will do what food is supposed to.
Having zero expectations is not possible. Catching public transport, going to work, having a life, living in this world, it’s not possible to completely surround yourself with those who share all of the same expectations as you either. Unless maybe you start a cult.
I guess all you can do is invest emotions in people who share your expectations and try to focus on those relationships rather than the ones that don’t match up so well. It’s also ok to be disappointed sometimes too. I mean, some people just have a really fucked-up version of normal. Well my version of fucked-up anyway.