Living each day much muchier

Hope and expectation

hopeandexpectationsmallThere’s a fine line between hope and expectation. So fine, in fact, that they seem like the same thing.

Hope and expectation are tied together with love and hate. They’re at war when you struggle to believe what you ache for is possible. Then sometimes — and if you’re not careful — they fall in love under romantic circumstances and run away together, leaving reality far, far behind.

Hope is the heart’s desire for something magnificent. It’s your dream. If the world was perfect, you’d get what you hope for (maybe even deserve) and you’d be happy.

Life rarely pans out that way.  So, you manage your expectations.

Expectations are the subjective reality you act on. Life might have a poor track record of realising your hopes, but it’s pretty good at meeting your expectations.

Set expectation too low and you’re the active hand in creating your own sadness.  Set it too high and people’s imperfection will disappoint you.

I’ve been managing some pretty low expectations lately. It’s dragging my heart down and it has to stop. The heart sickens without hope. After all, where am I going and why am I here if not for the hope of creating the beautiful life of my imagination?

Except … you’ve gotta have realistic expectations to stay grounded and sane.

Maybe the only way to walk this fine line is to be honest about what you hope for. Own it. Explore it.

Don’t wait for it to fall from the stars and into your lap. Reach for it.

Never tell yourself it won’t happen or you don’t deserve it. Make it real by surrounding yourself with it in every way possible or as near as you can manage.

Try. Put yourself squarely in the path of your hope.

Resist the temptation to attach hope to anyone but yourself. The hardest thing is to hold on to hope, but set people free. They will always come as they are and go as they please. The integrity of your heart lies in keeping steadfast to what matters to you.

How to walk the fine line between hope and expectation?

Hold on to hope. Let expectation go.

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

“Expect everything so that nothing comes unexpected.”
Norton Juster – 
The Phantom Tollbooth

8 comments on “Hope and expectation

  1. Jai Normosone
    August 13, 2015

    Why do I get the impression there is far more going on in your head about this topic than you let on?

    I guess that is a discussion left for those you trust most. Maybe it is time to visit them….

    Quote: “Set it [expectation] too high and people’s imperfection will disappoint you.”
    NOW I know what I am doing wrong…. 🙂

    • livingwithmuchness
      August 13, 2015

      Of course there is. The blog is a public sphere and the particulars of inspiration aren’t always appropriate.

      I wrote this after a weekend of meh. Not low, not high, not a comfortable contentment somewhere in the middle. Hours, days of meh. Unchecked, meh can stretch out for weeks, maybe even years.

      Letting go of expectation is a very different practice to setting low expectations.

      To let go is to acknowledge other people are responsible for their actions and that they make decisions based on different criteria to yours. Having low expectations is actively expecting them to do the crappy thing because you think you know them or their type.

      Low expectations don’t help you prepare for disappointment. They just kill your heart a little bit at a time until you feel meh and if you keep going, the whole world becomes mean and miserable.

      Only, it hasn’t changed for the worse. You have.

      I like being level headed and collected, but I don’t want to go down the path of meh. Maybe not everything is probable, but all things are possible.

      • Jai Normosone
        August 14, 2015

        I don’t have anything to add to that because it pretty-much describes it as I see it 🙂

      • Jai Normosone
        August 14, 2015

        Wait… I tell a lie…
        I don’t have anything to add to it because my head is fuzzy from being over-tired and I don’t want to go on a different path of thinking right now when I need to concentrate on something else.
        My reasons for thinking the way I do make sense to me until I analyze them and, if they belonged to someone else, I’d say they were impractical and not well thought through.
        Immersing myself in work and projects allows me to not think about it :/

      • livingwithmuchness
        August 14, 2015

        Self reflection is wonderful, but sometimes you do have to say ‘this is who I am and what I prefer.’ 🙂

  2. livingwithmuchness
    August 13, 2015

    Sometimes I have to go back and remind myself of my own lessons!

  3. Matt
    August 13, 2015

    Our struggles to carry both hope and expectation within the context of our dreams, and of reality as it transpires, need not be mutually exclusive. I think the key is in our relationship with what we dare to desire and the bar on which our eyes are fixed.

    Within us all is a yearning for the best. It’s a nirvana in which we’re in a place of happiness in our relationships and existential contentment. It’s our hope. An unachievable dream, and yet there it is in each of us who grasp at it too tightly for circumstance and setbacks to loosen our grip. This desire for the unobtainable peace of existential knowledge and enlightenment is a beacon to the thinkers and the dreamers. It’s the shining lure of the bright impossible. Yet this needn’t be futile.

    You could imagine this hope like a glorious burning sun on the horizon, too dazzling to comprehend with the naked eye; an overload for our feeble, evolving minds. And expectation? Like sunglasses we wear to enable us to take it in our hope and see it in the most achievable way possible for us at this time.

    Does that mean we should sacrifice one for the other? I’d rather think it means that if we gaze upon the brilliance of that which we’ll only ever imagine in our hearts can exist, through the lens of what we understand to be a daily truth: our interactions; our routine; our imperfections and disappointments, then our gaze is still firmly fixed on hope. And hope can bring about a higher expectation when manifested with positivity and beauty.

    Our perceptual capacity can remain as wide as the universe if we can marry our hope and our expectation in a way that’s complimentary, useful and never succumbs to let circumstance snuff out the wonder that’s at the heart of who we are, just as it’s at the heart of all that is.

    • livingwithmuchness
      August 14, 2015

      I like the idea of expectations simply being how we understand and deal with the incomprehensible wonder of what’s possible. Much like breaking down a large meal into small, delicious bites, expectation is what we can cope with for now.

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Department of Words

Department of Words

Thinker. Writer. Photographer. Dancer. Not necessarily in that order.

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