I have greatly struggled with fully developing my thoughts around this particular topic. What I have come to realize is my specific difficulty stems from my dubious conflicting thoughts on the subject. I start by stating I am completly against forming assumptions at all costs and this particular firm belief creates my initial internal struggle in regards to expectations. Assumptions and expectations are often grouped together within the same category or deemed to walk hand in hand. At first glance I made the same snap judgement until I dug further into the reality of both circumstances. Dictionary definition clearly differentiates the two while still creating some form of overlap. You see an assumption is often defined as a theory, hypothesis or presumption that can be created with or without prior knowledge or evidence. Based off of assumptions, expectations are created, therefore beginning the treacherous cycle that often leads to anger and disappointment. So what does that leave a person like myself to believe? Is wiping away all assumptions and expectations the key to preventing great anger, pain, and disappointment?
Depending on the day and the mood my answer to that question may vary greatly. But currently in a leveled and clear state of mind I realize now more than ever that assumptions and expectations are two separate entities and must be treated as such. I have fortunately had the pleasure of attending what most would deem as "small schools" all of my life and have had to deal with the drama filled small knit communities within these establishments. I have embraced the main lesson these communities have all taught me so well: Assume nothing of anyone and to expect the unexpected. Human nature is a surprisingly interesting and complex matter that can not be placed into the confines of a step by step manual. And after my countless faulty mistaken assumptions I have finally realized it is in our nature to constantly paint portraits of those we see before us. It is the next step beyond initial assumption that truly matters. It is the realization that your particularly point of view is just that: ONE POV… that may or may not be accurate. Therefore to expect certain behaviors or outcomes from someone based off of what you have seen, thought you have seen, or even worse what you have heard creates a complete lack of character for your self.
This is often the scenario that creates the imminent and oh so tragic timeless disappointment. I have heard many people state I expect nothing of no one so I can not be disappointed. After many conversations and viewing constant overly dramatic status updates it is clear that is impossible to be completely free of expectations. While many who like to think of themselves as emotionally unavailable to the world and expectation free, its needless to say that since we can not text a five dollar bill, or have a phone conversation with our cars human interaction and involvement is a necessity to our survival. If solitary confinement were a true lifestyle of choice Facebook and Twitter would not be the social juggernauts that they are now. The reality is we expect things of each other as well as society. No matter how big or small, the expectation is still present. The danger lies in those that have immensely outrageous expectations in conjunction with completely over the top reactions when these expectations are not met. There must be a level headed response to the level of the situation. I know that if I expect a paycheck on a particularly day and that expectation is not met that I will have a much different reaction than if I am expecting a response to a text message from a friend.
Personally as someone who is goal oriented and in constant interaction with members of the future I place the highest level of expectations strictly upon myself. I never advise anyone to lower their standards or expectations of others but I often caution preparation if an unwanted hand is dealt. It is not the end of the world to have expectations… it is how ever quite unrealistic to believe that everyone will live up to them at all times if ever at all. You can not control others: not their thoughts, their words, or their behavior. All you can do is control your self, assess the reality of your surroundings, and enjoy the possibilities of the unknown.
"It's you, of yourself, of whom you must ask a lot. Only from oneself has one the right to ask everything and anything. This way it's up to you -- your own choices -- what you get from others remains a present, a gift"