The final StarWars movie is about to be unleashed on both the StarWars nuts and the general public. I rank somewhere in the middle of that whole mess, mostly because I just cannot bring myself to wear a costume so I am not that hard core. I have really been trying to approach movies with zero expectation, and for the most part it has worked. There is no disappointment when I do watch the movie.
I have been thinking a lot about the word expectation lately. Not just in the sense of watching a movie but in a more interpersonal relationship level. I like to be a person that is full of hope, unfortunately, very closely to hope is the word that I believe can be dangerous which is expectation. So in my introspection I became curious as to how accurate my definition of the word really is. According to Webster, expectation is the act or state of expecting. Then they list anticipation in bold letters. My curiosity not being satisfied by this definition wants to go a little further. After another click of the mouse, expect is defined as to look forward to, and my curiosity was finally content with the etymology of the world. Expect comes from Latin, exspectare. To look forward to, from ex- + spectare to look at, from spectus, past participle of specere to look — more at SPY.
Even though my curiosity got its fill of information, I was really not satisfied. I wanted to know a little more about why this word was on my mind, furthermore, why did it almost seem to bother me. So I went on a quest to find some related quotes. The following expressed a little better what I was thinking.
“Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
“Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.”
“Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.”
-Edward de Bono
Pope kind of sums it up as far as what my mental definition of the word is. Leo however put it at the personal level where I really want to go. De Bono got mentioned for the simple fact that it really rang true when I read the quote. But back on topic, I am really bothered by the word expectation when it comes to personal relationships. It is partly because I do not follow what Leo is saying and in a lot of occasions I have ended up idealizing a person when I really should not have. Almost looking at the version of what the person could be and not what they truly are. I think we all fall into this pitfall at one point or another when dealing with others. For a hopeful dreamer like me this can be a problem.
Over the years I have lost touch with my closest friends. Some were due to fallouts after difference of opinions. Others are kind of an unexplained distancing between us. Looking back it could have a lot to do with my expectations out of the relationship. The expectations I had of the person could really have hindered the relationship. I always try to see the positive side of things, and I am even worse with possibilities. I like to be a problem solver and for years I was somewhat of a preacher to my friends. One of the things that I failed to communicate was that a lot of my advice was never a take it or don’t be my friend anymore; but more of a “my advice is an idea or a point of view not gospel.” I come off as strong and opinionated, and even though my moral standards are very high, they apply only to me and not to others or the way they live their lives.
I do recognize that in my failed relationships I did expect more out of the relationship. I used to feel like if I give a lot, I expect a lot in return. This is not the way things should be. You should give as much as you want to give. What you get in return is whatever the other person feels they should give, and it should not be expected. I am human though, and I did expect a little more out of those people and the relationships I had with them. I now look back and see that I did idealize those around me, and did not see the reality right in front of me. All I saw was a version of what I thought the people were capable of being, not who they really were.
I can say that until my current relationship I have always idealized my partner on many levels. My love now, however, has found a way to keep me grounded and looking at reality. Keeping me from flying too high is a task on its own when dealing with a dreamer. I would like to think that in the past I did not live in an alternate reality created by my psyche, but I am afraid that in some ways I did. I also did not know myself as well as I know myself now. Cielo has brought me clarity in many levels, and I have grown more self-aware during the period of time that we have been together. It is amazing to learn to look at other’s views, even while opposite, as a means to broaden your own point of view.
The question still stands; does expectation ruin a relationship? Can what we think of others be an over inflated version of who the person really is? Do we walk a line that mixes hope and expectation a little bit too much? Or even worse do we know how to differentiate between the two?