In Connection with our last post about The Wanting Mind
I love you, but …
Why not do it this way?
Forget about it!
I’m really disappointed that you ….
I can’t believe you did this.
All of the above expressions and more are familiar to most of us. We think of them as an integral part of our interactions and relationships. This is how a mother tells her child that she cares. It is how a sibling communicates his advice. We all do it.
This is not about what others say or do. It’s about what you expect of them. Do you catch yourself sometimes thinking about what others should or shouldn’t be doing? Do you have an expectation of how others should respond to you?
I used to think it’s part of our human nature—we can’t help ourselves. If we love people, we’re going to be critical of what they say or do. It’s only natural to expect certain feedback for what we say or do. These assumptions proved to be taxing both mentally and emotionally.
When I stopped to question my assumptions, I realized I was wrong. We always have a choice. We can choose not to have expectations and opinions.
Before we talk about the how to let’s explore why we do it.
Why do we have expectations and opinions of others?
The main three reasons that come to mind are below. Feel free to add more as you reflect on your experiences.
- We think other people think as we do.
If something is logical to us, then it should be logical to others. The same goes for expectations. If we expect a certain outcome, then others should be thinking the same thing.
We don’t only think about our expectations, we start developing emotions too. If we’re excited, we expect others to feel the same and if we’re bummed, they should be too.
It is hard for us to recognize this unless we stop and reflect—people think and react differently. Otherwise, we will all be carbon copies of each other.
This doesn’t negate our common interests and shared aspirations. Imagine each person’s thoughts and emotions to be a unique imprint like their fingerprints or the way they look—specifically theirs.
- We have ulterior motives.
As altruistic as our motivation may appear, we do harbor a desire for a certain outcome—one that gives us what we want or agrees with our stand.
Wanting to control the outcome raises expectations and paves the way for judgmental thoughts and opinions about others.
- Insecurity and fear of change
When we judge others, we’re usually judging something we don’t like about ourselves. When we seek feedback, it’s because we’re starved for validation and approval. And we react strongly when we don’t get what we need.
The protective part of our ego can trigger fears about change. If we see others doing something we’re afraid of trying, our automatic response might be that they shouldn’t be doing it. They’re the crazy ones, not us.
Aforementioned, We don’t want people to have expectations of us, but then we have expectations of everybody else. Just think about it what is important to you maybe it is not important for me. Introspect on your experiences of expectations to get better insight.