I was extremely sad. I came back home then after sometime again asked my friend to come and pick me up so that we can visit to see my friends if they are around so that I can spend some more time with them. The friend who used to stay near my uncle’s quarter came to pick me up and we went to the college canteen. ‘Wow…my friends were there…’ I saw them from a distance. I went and greeted them. They greeted me back and asked how come I am back again to the canteen… I replied I just wanted to see them all… They liked it but were again busy talking with each other. I felt left out again… And when they finally decided to go back to their own homes I had no other options but to come back home with my friend who used to drop me back and go on his way to his own home. This was my daily affairs when I was in Utkal University at Bhubaneswar for my Post Graduation in the year 1997-99. I was craving for that reciprocation from my friends or the friend whom I gave number one importance.
I had a friend named Sabat who used to listen to my heartaches…yeah… heartaches of expectations. I used to go extra mile for everybody by doing something good and when I didn’t used get anything back as expected I used to feel extremely sad and frustrated. Sabat always used to say… “Don’t overdo things… The more you do the more you will feel sad.” But I know it very well… I wasn’t overdoing it. I was doing what I was supposed to do… what my heart used to say to do but what I was not supposed to do was expecting things to happen my way. I knew that I don’t have control over others reactions and behaviours yet I used to feel downcast. Sometimes I do that now as well though I have been learning a lot to overcome this attitude of mine.
Many times my wife complains me and other times I complain her about not fulfilling each others expectations on each other. We expect things to happen from people and we feel sad or get angry when we find them behaving or reacting differently than what we expected of them. Often, these expectations that we form are involuntary, without any conscious effort. And pain ensues when expectations are not met even if our expectations were unreasonable.
Our expectations are developed or come from our family backgrounds, the way we were brought up from childhood and our own personalities etc. I have observed in my in laws family that they all are not as open as my family. So as husband and wife my wife doesn’t like to publicise things much where as I love to publicise everything that happens with us. Thus my wife expects me to keep things hidden for some time and if it is known to other she gets irritated with me. Similarly, when I expect or want to announce something to my close friends, family and she doesn’t approve it then I feel irritated or feel low. Now don’t pull my legs unnecessarily because I revealed a secret between us… 😉
So now we see how our family backgrounds and personalities affect the way we confer our expectations on various things and people.
All we need to remember is expectations based on human assumptions can be troublesome and can create a lot of problems in different relationships, whether it is between family members or friends or office colleagues. Any time there is co-dependency, expectations exist, and, if those expectations are not met, conflict will surely raise its head.
The Bible displays TWO very simple principles that can help us to form expectations and deal with the expectations of others:
Be Open and Honest: Openness and honesty with ourselves and with others is very important. The Bible says, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
So it is necessary to admit our mistakes and also should not expect others to be perfect at any time especially the time when we expect something from them. We should always give others time to explain themselves. We should always clearly and openly discuss with them regarding certain unexpected behaviors or actions between us instead of giving forth to unreasonable expectations. Sometimes I fail in this even these days when I expect unreasonably from others.
Be Considerate in Love: “Love is patient and kind and… it’s also not self seeking.” That’s what the Bible says… What does it mean then? We need to remember that all people are different. If we form expectations for the people we love and when they fail to live up to, it is not their mistake. The power of love helps us to change our expectations which are sometimes extremely unreasonable.
Lastly, I want to say that if we have to expect on somebody then that will be on God Himself because His promises are absolutely sound and definitely fulfils our every expectations unlike humans. We can expect God to do exactly what He says he will do. That is why William Carey says, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”
Friends! Let’s not fall in to that immature category of expecting things unreasonably and feel sad but let’s try to be open and loving with our dealings with our loved ones.