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Have no expectations … Is that even possible?



“You must not expect.”  I have heard this line many a times from a lot of people.  When I reply, “Sure.  Can you explain how that is done…not expecting? Especially, when I am investing time, effort and money?” the answer goes dragging along like a long lecture, but no practical doable technique to how must one not expect. 

This is because, expecting is a natural process.  You eat, means you expect to be healthy.  You drinking water, means you are expecting your thirst to be quenched.  You sleep, means you wanted to rest and when you are not rested you will be irritable…naturally.  I would even say this, you giving a Rs. 100/- note to a poor child, also has an expectation that the child buys himself some food.  If you see the child smoking pot out of your Rs. 100/-, you will be furious.  Why?  Because you expected value to come out of your money.  Even if it was given in charity.  So, expecting is a natural process and well out of your control.  But what these cliché lines about not expecting really mean, is that you monitor your reaction to what you expect. 

Until your expectations are inside of you, it remains socially accepted, since no one is being impacted by it.  But, when you start blaming, getting irritated or even for that matter become overly excited with fulfilled or unfulfilled expectations, then it begins to directly impact someone out of yourself.  If your reaction is positive, then you will receive appreciation and if it is negative then you will be inviting nasty consequences your way.  No one likes to be held up for the expectations of some else, even if they are primarily responsible for fulfilling them as this calls for hard work and reminds them of their shortcomings.  Hence, it then becomes important to have a more cordial way of communicating disappointments or needs.  Now, I struggled with this myself for a long time, until I realised, the only way to have my legitimate expectations fulfilled, is to make sure I learn how to communicate them.  And it works.

Please note, I wrote ‘legitimate.’  So, if your expectations are not in line with reality, then a self-check is also sometimes helpful, not to eliminate expectations, but to realign them.   Adjustment and patience are also concepts that work well with unfulfilled expectations.  I shall share an insight on this in my next blog….Stay tuned.

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