Story: King, Old Man and Winters  (Source: Google Baba)

Once in the wintertime, King was roaming outside his palace. At night when he was in the palace, he saw an old man at the entry gate of the palace. When King got close, he saw that he was an old man who was wearing very thin clothes which were not even warm. King was surprised to see how that old man was able to keep up in that cold water even in those clothes.

So, he stopped near that old man and said, “Aren’t you feeling cold?”

The old man replied, “I am feeling cold but what to do?? I don’t have any warm clothes to wear. For many years I am living bearing this cold weather without warm clothes. God gives me the strength to bear this and live through the wintertime. ”

King felt pity and said, “Don’t worry… You wait here and I will send someone with warm clothes for you.” The old man felt happy and thanked King for his kindness.

King entered the palace. But as soon as he entered the palace, he forgets about his talk with the old man and got busy with his routine.

The next morning, when the soldier came out, they saw the cold-stricken body of that old man. Beside his body was a message written on the ground by that old man before dying.

The message on the ground was: “Long live King… I had been living wearing these thin clothes in such cold weather But last night your promise of giving me a warm uniform took my life…”

Moral: Expectations from Others can become the reason for Weakness if not met. Therefore, One should Learn to Live on his Own Strength, One’s real Strength is given to him by God. God is the only one who will always be there for you in life and the afterlife.

What is the Meaning of Expectations?

Human beings have a natural tendency to pin their hopes for happiness on fulfilled expectations. Interestingly more than 90% of our expectations do get met. That makes us believe that ALL our expectations will be met.

Some of the common expectations are

  • You send a friend request to someone and expect the other person to accept your invitation immediately.
  • Parents help their children with money, time and resources to complete their studies and get decent jobs. Now parents expect the child to support in their old age.
  • The husband likes cricket matches very much and asks his wife to join. Although the wife does not like cricket still, she went ahead with her husband. The wife likes movies very much but her husband does not. Now wife expects her husband to accompany him to the movie.
  • You helped your friend in completing his project. Now you are in the process of completing the project and expect him to support you the way you did.
  • Your friend was coming from another country and you picked him up from the airport. Next time when you are coming from outside, you expect your friend to pick you up from the airport.
  • When a relative came to my home, we offered a 5-course meal. Now when I was invited by my relative, I expect them to offer similar hospitality.

Like this, there can be umpteen expectations that we carry from other, knowingly & unknowingly and we consider them to be legitimate and normal. As long as our expectations are met, we feel like a team, friends, colleagues, good neighbours, and caring parents. But the moment, our expectation is not met, we feel offended, dejected and angry.

Hoping for the outcome you desire is one thing, trying to force it and being overrun with negative thoughts and feelings when it doesn’t work out is another.

Whether We Should Keep Expectations?

Expecting life to always turn out the way we want is guaranteed to lead to disappointment because life will not always turn out the way we want it to. With 90% of things happening as per our expectations, we become so accustomed and tuned to our success that when the remaining 10% does not happen, we simply do not accept it and question, “How it can happen to ME”.

If we look around us, majority of the things are happening as per our undefined expectations but a few unfulfilled expectations create havoc in our lives. With unjustified expectations, it leads too

Too Much Pressure

When we expect something of another, we are presuming that they can, and should, meet needs that we have not yet met ourselves. It places a great deal of pressure on others and our relationship with them. We leave ourselves open to disappointment and we risk our relationship as a result.

Begets Ungratefulness

Another danger of having expectations is that we stop appreciating the things others do for us. Imagine your spouse picking you up from the airport after a trip away. You’re incredibly grateful. The next time you go away, though, if you expect the same to happen again, then there are two possible outcomes:

  1. They do pick you up, but you don’t feel as grateful this time because you expected it to happen anyway!
  2. They don’t pick you up and you feel let down and disappointed.

Neither of these scenarios is good.

Misplaces Happiness

When we are placing our happiness in other hands, it is sure that it will not always work. I am the only person who can find within MYSELF all the love, validation and acceptance I need.

How to Manage the Expectations?

There is nothing wrong with expecting from others and fulfilling others’ expectations. The problem is when we attach our happiness to either fulfilling the expectation of others or getting burdened to fulfill the expectations of others, even though we do not want.

Example: One partner does not like cricket but still has to accompany another partner. One partner transfer to another city and expect the other partner to follow. One partner plan to settle in another country and expects the other partner to leave the job and join.   

There can be 3 possible ways to deal with expectations

  1. Do not expect anything from others. If it happens as per your wish, it is fine, if not, again it is fine.
  2. When someone is expecting something from you and you are not comfortable, say NO politely and specify the reason clearly, why you did so.
  3. If you think, you cannot say no to others’ expectations due to any reason (relationship, seniority, peer pressure, society, culture), ACCEPT it fully without any ill feeling and put your best without expecting anything in return.

To do that gratitude, mindfulness and positive self-talk can play a very important role in our lives.

Practice Gratitude: A key element of giving blessings is being grateful for what you have. Practice gratitude in your daily life and learn to appreciate all of the good things in your life.

Meditate: Meditation can help you to focus your mind and clear your thoughts. This can help you to give/receive blessings that are more powerful and meaningful.

Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you to be more present and aware of the blessings in your life. Practice mindfulness regularly to help you to receive/give blessings more easily.

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