Question on expectations.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BluePhantom, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    So I have been thinking about this in regards to a different thread. I am of the opinion that expectations are the root of suffering. When one expects something and that expectation goes unfulfilled it leads to resentment, fear, anger, and pain. It's easy enough to say "expect nothing and you will never be disappointed" but is it realistic and are there not certain circumstances where expectations are unavoidable? An abused child, for example....isn't it completely rational for a child to expect caring, loving parents when the child has neither the power nor the maturity to be able to influence their circumstances? As adults we hold more power over our own lives of course so I ask the following questions from an adult perspective:

    1) Is it possible to "love without expectations?"

    2) Is there such thing as legitimate expectations in adulthood?
     
  2. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Expectations are like attitudes. NOBODY has control over more than one set.

    If you disappoint yourself do better. If another is truly oppressing you, shame on them.
     
  3. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    Reminds me of a quote from Confucius (whom I actually think was a moron, but this was one of his rare decent ones): "Even in the company of two men can I learn. The good of the one I copy. The defect of the other I correct in myself" - The Analects of Confucius.

    If that's your point I would agree, but are you saying that expectations should only be held for oneself?
     
  4. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Absolutely not.

    I'm saying that failure to meet the expectations of others is inevitable - be true to yourself.
     
  5. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    Right. I would agree with that. So that kind of supports my point that having expectations in regards to another person is setting yourself up a disaster because it's highly unlikely that they will live up to them. But aren't there some expectations at a very basic level that are reasonable. For example, isn't it reasonable for a person to expect that their spouse will not cheat on them? Or isn't it reasonable to expect a friend to have your back in a fight? I am just throwing stuff out off the top of my head.
     
  6. masquerade
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    masquerade positivity

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    No. I don't believe it's realistic to expect nothing. Many things are simply expected. First thing that pops into my head is I expect my son to argue several of my points (comments) this evening because it's a daily occurance. I can tell you though that I would not be disappointed if he didn't meet my expectations.

    What I try to do is not have any specific expectations. This way I am never disappointed. With many things in my Life, it's a work in progress.
     
  7. lizzie
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    lizzie Zen Warrior Supporting Member

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    It's possible to love without expectations, but this form of love is a dispassionate one, and if you don't understand that, you will still be sorely disappointed. It's still love, but it isn't the type that keeps you emotionally high.

    The only realistic expectations that I have are those which I can directly affect the outcome of.

    Great questions, btw! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  8. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    Hmmmmm....interesting take on it. I might suggest however that "passionate love" may not always be the best. Let me explain what I mean. I'll share a little private info here (trying not to reveal too much) only because it's a good example. My ex-wife and I were married for 15 years but we barely got through our first year. The reason why is very complicated and we both made mistakes but one of my huge mistakes was that I had a completely unrealistic expectation. I was 24 and I was passionately and madly in love with her...BUT I was also 100% convinced that since we had walked down the aisle and exchanged vows that everything was secure, perfect, no problems ever, and we would live happily ever after. The result was that I proceeded to completely ignore every emotional need she had because...you know....why bother? We're safe right? Boy did I get the fucking shock of MY life. :lol:

    Ok well I am older now, wiser, more experienced regarding women, and I recognize that I had a completely unrealistic expectation: that she would simply sit back and do nothing while I totally neglected her every need. But that was based on naivety and the belief that we were so passionately in love that nothing could ever come between us.

    Now my relationship with my fiance is different. Not nearly as passionate but far more give and take, far more of a partnership between equals. I have very few expectations with my fiance and those I do have we actually sat down and discussed, almost like negotiating a business deal. :lol: So I see your point and agree with you....but is that to say that dispassionate love is better or worse in regards to expectations?
     
  9. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Humans can think in symbols. That makes for enhanced communication and communication paved the way for complex relationships. Complex relationships are impossible without expectations and disappointment is inevitable.

    Attitudes, expectations and disappointments are traits shared by other animals, what makes us human is the complexity of relationships made possible by thinking in symbols.

    And The Word was God.
     
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  10. lizzie
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    lizzie Zen Warrior Supporting Member

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    Interesting way to look at it, and it certainly rings true, however, I think there is a point that some people reach at which they don't have expectations and can just go with the flow of things. Iow, I think relationships can become comfortable enough that you don't have the emotional needs that you may have had before. Perhaps it's a side effect of aging, lol.
     

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