Expectations and Attachments Define Life

 

expectations

Recently I came across this statement, “The best way to get what you want is not want it.” The cynicism embedded in the above statement kept me awake for many hours. I had to pen down my thoughts to calm them. How can you call self-denial the “best way”? How can you quell your desires?

Expectation is a natural human instinct – a child expects attention, love and care. If he doesn’t get the basic care, his expectations don’t end there. He seeks them elsewhere.

Those children who grow up in misery and penury don’t get immune to expectations. Their eyes are always at the sky, anticipating all that they yearn for!

Our expectations flow like a stream that keeps widening as it touches the plains. The seeds of expectation are nurtured at a very early stage of life by our parents, teachers and friends.

This so called positive assertion of “giving up what you want” may have some spiritual connotation attached to it but tell that to a child or an adolescent and you would get the real looks! They may call you cynical; scoff at your advice and consider you too old to even interact with. Buddhist philosophy appeals only to the elderly.

Wants and desires are innate. They make us human. They are those streamers that inspire us to hang out despite the windy weather. They push us toward our goals, ignite a fire of excellence and lure us toward accomplishing more. Some of them lie dormant, waiting for the right opportunity.

Life would become meaningless and hollow without desires. True, they keep on multiplying; they may even disappoint us but without them all fun flies out of our lives. Expectations and attachments define life for us.attachments

Why attachments are essential: Initial attachments introduce us to people, they underline love for us and acquaint us with the basic values of bonding, care and respect. As children grow out of those attachments, ready to face the world, they feel connected with friends; they learn the value of love and nurture relationships to live a meaningful life.

What would life be without any attachments? All human emotions germinate from attachments, which may bind us emotionally but they keep us grounded to ennoble us. Only when we feel attached do we learn compassion. Solitude seems good only after having experienced all that human beings can offer to each other. Detachment is a mere word that has failed miserably despite its valuable aspects. When we try to detach, we have to snub what our heart says. Who would like to do that?

Needs have a profound connection with attachments. Why do you need a smart phone? Our grandparents could do without it yet somebody thought of better connections. Needs, however absurd they may seem, lead us to progress, to a better society and fulfilling life.

Desires keep us motivated; they encourage us to strive, to keep going despite all the odds. They shape us into better human beings. They add fresh dimensions to mundane aspects of life.

Giving up expectations and attachments is like giving up your hold on life. I am sure all of you would agree. Please share your reflections.

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Balroop Singh.

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Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

Self-deception and suffering

Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes without reflecting or contemplating about it. Probably we don’t have any control over delusionary thoughts.

Self-deception may be therapeutic but only for a little while! The longer we choose to hide behind the lies we tell ourselves, the greater is the suffering.

Recently one of my friends was talking in a very depressing tone. My conversation with her revealed the same old dilemma…letting yourself into the realms of expectations and getting drowned in those thoughts.

Thoughts make us what we are. They guide us into unknown territories of depression, which starts slowly. We don’t even realize where we are going. Nobody steps into the dungeon of depression willingly. It just happens.

Most of the time others dominate our thoughts. We are worried about others – our siblings, friends and family. We try to please them when we are growing up. Failure to come up to their expectations may drive us into those moments of melancholy and loneliness. When we don’t share our frustrations, they get deep-rooted.

Those unresolved issues manifest themselves in the most surreptitious manner. We become controlling freaks and don’t even know it. We live in the world of our exquisite expectations, which are sacrosanct to us. We call them our dreams; we present them in the garb of our love and can go to any extent to get them fulfilled.

The clear victims of those expectations have to be our children as they are the most vulnerable, readily available quarries around us. We try to mold them according to our own thoughts, we try to impose our way of living on them and we expect them to follow our diktats.

We forget that they have their own mind. We overlook the fact that we resented all this when we were growing up. We disregard the importance of free thoughts and when they start taking their own decisions, we remind them of our own expectations from them. Our cravings and anger towards them makes us unhappy but we indict them, we rub it on them so much that they start drifting away.

All children drift away as they are guided by their own aspirations. It is not necessary that they should match yours. We worry more about the happiness of our children, forgetting that nobody can give happiness as a gift. Serenity and peace cannot be given, it lies in self-discovery, in acceptance but nothing sinks in when you are mired in angst, unnecessary worry, which does not lead you anywhere.Self-deception quote

Expectations are the biggest culprits as they let us believe the unthinkable. Mindful thinking can only be possible if the person concerned is ready to think otherwise.

Suffering may be inevitable and essential to understand life but self-inflicted suffering, which comes from thoughts can be avoided.

‘Easier said than done’ is the constant refrain to this advice but the moment we say this phrase, we are paving the way for continued anxiety as we assume that it is difficult to attain that state of mind, which can exalt us from self-inflicted thoughts of being miserable.

“Man’s capacity for self-deception is strange.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.

The choice lies with us because the thoughts and expectations are also ours. Negative thoughts take precedence. Let them. When they have poisoned your mind, it is your turn to rebuff them and replace them with generosity, humility and peace. Nurture empathy and self-love.

Some take solace in meditation, others immerse themselves in prayer and some may even derive peace from the fact…life is like that, it throws up various kinds of painful challenges and it is better to accept them than fight.

Yet we have to fight the negative thoughts, which lead us into self-deception.

Thoughts are very powerful. They create; they shape our lives and beliefs. A major part of our personality is molded by our thoughts. Our happiness and success depends on the quality of our thoughts.

Have you ever felt entrenched in the maze of your thoughts? Do you live in the world of self-deception?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

How Much Do You Expect From Life And People?

Expectations

Expectation is a natural human instinct – a child expects attention, love and care. If he doesn’t get the basic care, his expectations don’t end there. He seeks it elsewhere.

Those children who grow up in misery and penury don’t get immune to expectations. Their eyes are always at the sky, anticipating all that they yearn for!

Our expectations flow like a stream that keeps widening as it touches the plains.

The seeds of expectation are nurtured at a very early stage of life by our parents, teachers and friends.

We expect so much from life…we assume our life would be good, virtuous and comfortable.

We hope to be successful with a lot of money; we visualize the home of our dreams, bursting with loving faces and fountains of love and peace all around us.

“We love to expect and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.”—Samuel Johnson

All great thinkers and writers advise: “keep your expectations low” WHY?

This question keeps haunting me – why should we keep our expectations low?

Do we encourage the growing adolescents to aspire low?

Don’t we boost their efforts when we tell them that their goals are achievable?

Life would be so dull and dreary without expectations. Hopes are very closely related to expectations, while we keep our hopes alive, how can we lower our expectations?

How much do we expect?

EXPECTATIONS IN RELATIONSHIPS:

Do we expect more –Never-idealize-others.-They-will__quotes-by-Leo-Buscaglia-21

  • If we want mutual respect and honesty?
  • If we just want love and affection?
  • If we just want to be heard patiently?
  • If we expect security and kindness?
  • If we wish our children to be well behaved?
  • If we expect them to be focused?
  • If we want them to be happy and successful?

EXPECTATIONS AT WORKPLACE:

  • To be treated fairly and equally
  • To be respected and understood
  • A positive working environment
  • Trust, empathy and flexibility
  • To be paid well.

Do we expect too much?

SETTING A STANDARD:

While it is essential to set high expectations for students and young aspirants, it may be quite absurd to do so in case of relationships. All relationships cannot be perfect and experience teaches you how much to expect.

Many times we feel let down by the people we love…it is natural human disposition to expect people to be reasonable, to be respectful, to behave in an expected manner.

So it may be very hurting when they are indifferent or don’t reciprocate in a warm and sensitive manner.

Anger, frustration and negative thoughts grip our mind when things don’t work out according to our expectations. Low self-esteem looks us in the eye and challenges us.

While we can’t control the words and behavior of people around us, we can train our mind to tune off and become immune to their reactions.

Don’t let people become a big disappointment of your life. DON’T EXPECT anything from them. Here I would agree with all those erudite thinkers who have warned us against expectations.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”—Alexander Pope.

HOW TO MANAGE EXPECTATIONS:

Lower them. Try to understand that people have their own life and they may be considering you and your needs as their second priority. They might realize their responsibilities towards you if you keep yourself busy elsewhere.

Quit self-enhancement bias. We may consider ourselves as all-important and rightly so but that may not be true in connection with your near and dear ones. Their own self and their work is most important for them.

Redefine your dreams. If your life has revolved around those persons whom you considered all-important, you have to move on. It is the time to fulfill those dreams, for which you never had time. It is the time to expect more from your own self.

Eliminate unrealistic expectations. Have you been mired in such expectations, which could be unrealistic? It is better to discard them before they distress you any further.

Analyze unmet expectations; it is better to let them go. This could be a golden time for self-analysis. When your own people, your dearest friends disappoint you, it is better to smile and move ahead. Probably they are too busy to pay any attention to you.

Work on realistic expectations with renewed fervor; change your perspective. You can be answerable only for your own actions and thoughts.

Abandon toxic and indifferent people. Such people don’t add any significant virtue to your personality. They may be a cause of unwanted, unexpressed heartaches, which can be abdicated without any guilt.

Never try to change people. You can never change the basic traits of a person. If he/she doesn’t understand the warmth of relationships, he never would. It is better to detach yourself from them.

If we expect more from life and less from people, we can have a smooth sailing. I don’t mean to say life will not disappoint us. We know life is an amalgamation of failures and achievements…one step up and one step down and the battles of life continue.

The more the merrier – expectations from life can be infinite because we possess a great potential to deal with life. Only relationships weaken us.

Must read: Why Relationships Go Sour?

What are your expectations? Have they ever disappointed you? I would love to hear your views.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

Quote credit: quotescover.com