NOT SO FOLLY OF EXPECTATIONS!

Google defines expectation as, “a strong belief on happening of something.”

William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartaches.”

These two sentences express two different perception of the word ‘expectation’. Google portrays it to be something positive but Sir Williams explains it to be something negative. Something we should all try to stay away from. Something which would devastate us into an irreparable loss if not fulfilled.

Well! Enough of digital and philosophical knowledge. Let’s get back to reality now! The real question here is, do we really have to keep ourselves devoid of expectations? Do we really have to force or hearts and minds to stop feeling something which a normal human would ordinarily feel and experience? You will find your answer by the end of this article.

We being humans, expectations are rooted deeply in our veins. It is an emotion just like other emotions. The reason people are afraid of it is because sometimes, it lands us on the rock bottom. So basically people are not afraid of expectations, people are afraid of the consequence of such expectations. People are afraid to hit the rock bottom. They lack the self-confidence and belief of rebuilding their broken parts.

Being an ordinary human myself, I have also been played by expectations several times. I too have hit the ‘rock bottom’ and have managed to build my broken pieces. Be it the expectation of securing good grades during my board exams or the disappointment of not receiving proper attention of certain people in my life, I have been through the cycle of expectations countless number of times, even after knowing I would fall in the same pit over and over again. But today, I thank God for making me face such disappointments, and for giving me strength to handle them. Today, I am a stronger person with a happy soul.

Time is the biggest teacher, and it is this teacher who taught me that every person who expects is not a fool. It is actually very easy to turn off the switch of expectation and to keep yourself devoid of it, than to dare to expect and handle its consequences. Most of my readers would agree that life is a lesson. It teaches us several important things. We either learn it the easy way or the hard way, but at the end of every chapter, we learn a lesson. We understand the moral of the story of life. Expectation is one of the hardest chapters of life. If you devoid yourself of it, just by the fear of being addressed as a ‘fool’, you lose an important lesson of your life.

Let me give you a real life experience. I recently figured out that my childhood friend who is also my sister, would be leaving town very soon. I was devastated to know that. My heart did not want to go through the pain of separation. I did not have the courage to face it, so I started hiding my feelings. I did not cry the day she actually left town. I even controlled my tears while saying my last goodbye to her. I saw her crying but kept my emotions intact. At that time, probably the right thing would have been to express what I felt, to let my tears roll down. But instead I chose the easy way of ignorance and pretendence. I acted as if I never expected her to stay. Days passed and I could not control my emotions anymore. I called her immediately and burst into tears. We both started weeping over phone and she consoled me that she would try her best to meet me soon. Today I am so glad that I was brave enough to accept the feeling of expectation and strong enough to handle the non-fulfilment of the same. This experience, has made me emotionally strong today. I am able to cherish the bonding that we share, in spite of being far away from her.

So, while following the right path, you will come across a chapter called expectation. Life will shatter you over it, you will be called an emotional fool several times, but if you follow your life lessons properly, you will learn to build yourself over those disappointments. You will learn what to expect and what not to expect. The things which once broke you will act as building blocks in your life. At this moment you will realise you are not a fool after all. You will understand that you are just a human, who is courageous enough to expect and strong enough to get over the disappointments arising out of those expectations. You will learn that foolishness is shutting yourself from a basic human emotion and not embracing that emotion with a brave heart.

I hope my readers will understand that expectation and strength to handle its consequences are never independent of each other. They always go hand in hand. If you are brave enough to expect, then be strong enough to face its consequences. Come what may! Know that you are one among many other brave hearts in the world.

In the end, I would like to sign off by quoting the words of my favourite author, Elizabeth Gilbert which goes something like this, “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It shows that you have tried to achieve something.”

Expectations are not always FOLLY. They are sometimes COURAGEOUS and BRAVE!

Be Brave, Be Strong!

Happy reading!

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MY LIST OF “GLIMPSES OF HOPE”

“Somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace”.

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love.

I had never, in my dreams, thought of penning down this experience of my life. But you know how God surprises you with those precious opportunities you never thought you could get? So I hope people will be kind and patient while reading this chapter of my life.

Glimpses of hope – this topic of Candles Online drives me back to the lane of my life where I was accompanied with a beloved friend of mine called “Depression”. I am sure every person reading this article has had a friend similar to mine, which proves that I am no extraordinary rather a normal person like all of you.

I do not remember the exact date but I can freshly remember the exact feeling. It was a Friday night, I was home alone, sitting on the floor of my bedroom and weeping unconditionally. Feet turned cold, wet cheeks, trembling hands and rapid thoughts crossing my mind leaving me numb on the floor. I heard a voice inside my head, asking me, “What makes you cry?” to which, “I have no clue” was my answer. Soon after that I patted my eyes and pressed them as hard as I could to stop my tears. I wanted to stop crying, but all my efforts went in vain. The worst kind of sadness in the one which cannot be explained!

The worst part of this phase was that I couldn’t do any Root Cause Analysis of the situation. Because everything in my life was running quite smoothly. Good grades, strong friendship, love of my Parents, I had it all. But my beloved friend “depression” made my condition worse day by day. Sleep just wasn’t sleep anymore. It became an escape place for me. It was strange how I could totally be a normal person in the crowd but would end up cold and numb on the floor once I would be home alone.

I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to yell and scream, but all I could do was weep alone and tell myself that one day, everything’s going to be just fine. I remember hugging myself and mumbling “you are not alone”.

Finally, unable to handle it alone, I conveyed about this relationship with beloved depression to my father. I call it my beloved friend, because depression has taught me many life lessons just like a true friend does. I was surprised to know that he had the same experience too. Though he did not end up weeping on the floor like me, but his emotions matched mine. That is when he told me, “beta, we are humans, and we break down sometimes which is completely normal.” I am fortunate to have such an understanding father. He even explained that only physical illness does not require treatment, but assistance is required even when our mind gets sick. He was ready to find a counselor for me too, though it wasn’t required later on. May God bless every child with a father like mine!

He further reminded me that whenever you feel you are in unbearable pain, think about people who are not as fortunate as you. Think about the soldiers in our border, think about their family, which lives in the hope of meeting them soon, either alive, or with their body wrapped up in our Tricolour Flag. Think about them and absorb some strength from their courageous heart!

So from the very next moment, that is what I did. God has a beautiful way of giving you life lessons and the best part is, you don’t have to look so far, because your ‘Glimpses of Hope’ are somewhere around you, waiting for you to notice them.

hope-in-focus
‘Glimpses of Hope’ are somewhere around you

Firstly, I paid a close attention to the Man in my life who managed his family so well, kept his loved ones happy with all the strength in the world even after being physically impaired. No storm could stop him and he would always stand up as the Superhero of his family without the Superman’s cape! He became my first glimpse of hope.

Secondly, I saw the struggle of a girl, who was of my age and I addressed her as my sister, who supported her family and helped her father clear all his debts, by killing her dreams and working for her family instead. She would stand as the ‘Tiger’ of her family whenever required and shield them from all the troubles. She would smile and hug me with inspiration even after going through all the dark times alone. She became my second glimpse of hope.

Thirdly, I envied the strength of my friend who would keep her emotions intact, even after facing all the conspiracies of her own relatives against her family. I envied how firmly she would still trust and inspire people even after her faith had been played and broken by her own blood relations. Instantly she was added to my list of “Hope”.

Fourthly, I aspired to become like a friend of mine, who literally had been through hell and back, struggled through the taunting and discourteous behaviour of the society but still carried a ray of hope in her soul and faith of humanity in her heart. She still chose to express her smile to the world which once made her life miserable. She then became my ‘Glimpse of Hope’.

Lastly, I feel so fortunate to have read a book called “Eat Pray Love”, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book brought me closer to God. It showed me a path of peace during the darkest tunnels of my life. This book created another Ray of Hope in my heart.

Though I have not written the names of people in the list of my “Glimpses of Hope” expressively in the article but I am pretty sure that they will recognise themselves while reading it. Lastly, I would like to thank all my readers for investing their precious time and reading this piece of writing. I believe that you will look around and find your ‘glimpses of hope’ soon, because the word H.O.P.E. itself says, Hold On Pain Ends!

Happy reading!

SELF-PITTY, PLAYING THE VICTIM CARD

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. So I read a quote which said, “If you keep telling the same sad story, you will keep living the same sad life.” Self-pity is similar to a small damaged castle which gains everyone’s sympathy but at the end of the day keeps you trapped within its four walls. From its window you can see people feeling sorry for its damaged walls, but lastly, you get stuck there all alone, having no other place to go.

I still have a memory, clear as a crystal in my mind. When I was a kid I couldn’t participate in a running race competition due to a minor leg injury. I observed and enjoyed people empathizing and sympathizing me. I would go on blabbering about it. The injury became my perfect excuse for not being able to participate and win a trophy. That was when my father gave me a piece of advice which said blaming everybody else and every situation in life is great until you have got nobody and nothing else around you to blame, except yourself. This statement came true, people stopped listening and giving me a pass. Self-pity makes you hollow and empty at the end of the day. It doesn’t serve you in any manner.

Merely addressing a problem without propounding a solution is as similar as self-pitying yourself. Thus I will state a small practical example which will help you get rid of the above complication. Have you ever paid attention to the toddlers in a toy shop? How they find their ‘object of affection’ and refuse to let go of it? How forceful snatching of that object makes them even more stubborn? Well, that is exactly when they are offered some other ‘object of distraction’ like an attractive candy. They immediately drop their so-called ‘object of affection’ and become contented with that candy bar. Self-pity is the so-called ‘object of affection’. Try distracting your stubborn mind with positive aspects of life and let it become your ‘object of distraction’. Take the blame for your own defeat, handle the rejections bravely, say, ‘better luck next time’ when you fail to participate in a sports game due to an injury and just let go of it, break out of the castle and leave your failures behind. Life is unfair, I agree, but that is never a reason to let yourself become a victim of self-pity.

As we know that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, thus eradicating your self-pity might take some time. Keep practicing and training your mind until it falls for the ‘object of distraction’. Do not stop trying. Choose the braver path!


Payal P. Patra from Bhubaneswar, India is a law student, a vivid reader, and thinker.