Fighting with Expectations?

Try to Bioscope the life of a working women. You will see a web of Expectations and fight or adjustments with them. From getting her children ready for the school in the morning to sending her husband to office and then rushing herself for the office, she is carrying expectations of a Mother, Wife, Daughter-in-law and a Working professional. But it doesn’t end here. There are indeed three dimensions or perspectives to Expectations in anybody or everybody’s life.

  1. Expectations by Others (towards you)
  2. Expectations from Others (by you)
  3. Expectations from Self

Let’s first enquire the nature of ‘Expectations’, as we often confuse this with the terms like – responsibilities, goals, hope and duties. The need to expect arises out of acknowledging one’s incapability of responding to a situation that may need the external support or help. This incapability is not a negative connotation as this may arise out of any reason i.e time, knowledge, aptitude etc. Till here it doesn’t look problematic because I may not know about all the things in the world so I can seek outside help for getting it done.

The problems never arise from the Expectations but from the way we respond and perceive the expectations and hence resulting into ‘Unfulfilled expectations’. I discussed a perspective about “Expectations by Others” in my earlier Blog “Why Always Me? Managing Expectations!”.  What others expect from us can’t be controlled by us, but our response to it is certainly controllable by aligning with the right perspective and consciously choosing the response. Indeed, Expectations by others is the necessity for our growth and being in this world. Read the earlier article to know more on this perspective. (http://enlivening.in/managing-expectations/)

Another dimension of unfulfilled expectations is the “Expectations from Others”. Imagine one day you start expecting from Sun that it should start rising from West instead of East. Now next day if it doesn’t happen then how will you feel? Perhaps nothing. Now imagine that your subordinate was supposed to accompany you for a meeting and at the last moment he calls you to inform that he got stuck in a traffic jam! Now how will you feel? I guess you will be mad at him, as he should have taken an early start for the important meeting. Now since he is late, it has spoiled your mood and happiness for the meeting. Although if you carefully see this situation then there is a thin line of difference in unfulfilled duty and unfulfilled expectation and this difference is of response and ability (response-ability). The problem of unfulfilled expectations from others arise because of 2 reasons – Identity and Limited Responsibility. While expecting from others, whatever, we identify with (a professional, mother, father, son, boss, subordinate, brother, sister, student etc) creates or instigates a part of our Ego and when that goes unfulfilled it creates discomfort. Also when we think that our responsibility is limited, it generates the same discomfort and leads to false expectations.  The terms ‘Responsibility’ simply means our ‘ability to respond’. You can be ‘response-able’ for a fight happening across the road and your response can be either to intervene or ignore. But you are response-able (responsible), however, your ‘ability to act’ may be limited.  But you can always consciously choose how to Respond. Hence your “Responsibility (response-ability) is Limitless”, your ability to act or react can be limited. This is where we all live with interchanged meanings of ‘responsibility’ and ‘ability to act’ and with limited self we create expectations from others. The moment we start expanding our capabilities and realize that our response-ability is limitless, we will eventually start expecting less from others and expand to a Limitless version of ourself. It is OK to have a limited ability to Act, but limiting our mind with limited ability to respond creates leads to incomplete existence. The idea is to consciously choose your response and have your remote in your hands than letting others manoeuvre you by expectations set from them.

Expectations from Self is also a by-product of wrong sense of identity and responsibility. By wrong sense of identity here I mean the Duality. Whenever you need to expect anything, you need a second party to expect from. Expecting from self means that there is a second you inside you from whom you are expecting. For example, if something good happens then “I” have done, but if something wrong happens then “My Ego” would have done it. As if there are two different versions of you inside you. Isn’t both of them ONE? It is because we live in Duality and with the perception of limited responsibility, we create expectations from dual self. Indeed, there is no need to expect from oneself as we are only mend to consciously respond to series of events that happen. This continuum of events and responses occurring through us is called as LIFE.

Sending Love, laughter and Joy… Parth

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