During a conversation yesterday, I realised that the saddest way to experience life was by having no expectations. And I realised that for nearly all of my adult life that’s exactly the way I was living.
“No point in getting angry because you shouldn’t have expected much”…or “no point in crying over it; what’s done is done.” I’ve said these words to myself so often that when someone mistreats me or when something happens that is either good or bad, I have no feeling towards it… “Oh well, what did I expect? This is life, right.”
And here’s the biggest problem…this is what we’re constantly told as adults… “This is life. Drop your expectations. You’ll just be disappointed.”
If we don’t change this message, can you imagine the next generation? We might as well train them from the day they’re born to have no expectations and numb their way through life. How depressing! How sad for us, adults, who had dreams as children and let them be hidden as adults because “it’s impossible” or “people will let you down” or “you’ll just be disappointed.”
Don’t be too happy because something bad will probably happen…don’t be too sad or angry because it hurts too much. Just be numb and stop having expectations. How pathetic. What is the point if we play it safe all the time? If we protect ourselves so much from feeling everything that on our deathbeds we don’t understand why nothing stands out…”why can’t I remember anything special?”…Oh, right…can’t remember anything because I made sure not to have any attachment to a memory, a moment, an occasion.
Imagine the level of cynicism…to live life believing it’s more negative than positive. To always expect the worst and not the best. Is it just me or is this what we’re taught?
I remember clearly when I started living like this…it wasn’t a quick, one day change. It took a number of instances during my adult life, over a couple of years, of people not meeting my expectations, of life not happening as I would have wanted. So instead of facing it and challenging it or feeling through it all; it was safer and easier to just stop. Stop expecting. Stop feeling.
And now it’s time to stop. Stop living life always expecting the “lowest common denominator.” And start. Start expecting more. From people. From Life. And most importantly from myself (in this case, yourself). Start getting angry when people break your trust. Start being truly deeply happy when someone surprises you. And most importantly…Expect the best. Be prepared for the worst if you must. BUT always expect the best.
Yes, it’s hard. Probably the hardest way to live but it’s also the best way.
Sometimes you’ll be right and sometimes you’ll be wrong. But imagine how much more meaningful life would be if you challenged it to it’s full potential.
Starting from now, I want to have expectations and I want people to have expectations of me. I expect the best from myself; from those around me. And if expectations are met, I’ll be incredibly happy. And if expectations are not met, I’ll be incredibly disappointed. And both I’ll feel. And both will pass. And I’ll continue expecting the best.