EXPECTATION: The Hidden 'Hero' Behind Most Disappointments!

Published on August 19, 2018

By Subodh Sharma

Unmet expectations are one of the basic reasons for disappointments. We have all got the taste of it, but we still go for it. In our day to day life we have certain expectations, be it from ourselves, our life, our family, our friends, our colleagues, or even from our favorite TV series, our country’s sports teams, et cetera, et cetera. And when these expectations are not met, disappointment follows.

Now, if expectations are the basis for disappointments, are they really bad? Is it a bad idea to have expectations?

Well, the answer to this question is a mix of both yes and no – a big yes and a small no!

It is not always a bad idea to have expectations. After all, they are one of the reasons why we start on a goal in the first place, isn’t it? We go to college to study, with some expectations that this will help build our career (or maybe just to have fun). If we had no such expectations, we might not even consider going to college.

Now, consider this: You are stuck in a problem that needs help, or you are in a state of an emotional turmoil and you want someone to be there for you and console you. You call up a friend, with a pretty good expectation that he would surely help. The next thing you remember of him is an excuse that he gave you while turning down your request. And now, you are left with more disappointments…! Sounds familiar? Well, if it does, welcome to the world of humans!

Was expectation a bad idea in this case? Mostly YES! We often commit this mistake of placing our expectations on someone else and then end up getting disappointed when they are not fulfilled.


Another problem with people regarding expectations is setting up a goal with very high and unrealistic expectations! If you are overweight and plan to join a gym with an expectation of getting a ‘perfect body’ within a month, you certainly have a very high chance of getting disappointed at the end of the month. It may not be impossible to achieve such a goal but it is surely unrealistic. You should know and understand what you are expecting and you should be prepared to accept the other outcomes of such expectations.

Managing Our Expectations

One of the secrets of happiness is keeping our expectations in check. The better we manage our expectations, the happier we are. If we do not have expectations, we can never be disappointed. As Alexander Pope says,

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

It’s great if you expect nothing and still not lose enthusiasm to work for your goals. But this isn’t always very convincing. Its a paradox, a duality of existence. if you don’t have these expectations, you may not start on a goal or you may not try as hard as you could in order to accomplish your goal. And If you have high expectations and they do not materialize, you can often end up disappointed. That’s why managing our expectations is of utmost importance. 

One very important point to keep in mind is to ‘Minimize expectations in relationships‘. Expectations usually spoil relationships. Whether it’s your parents, children, spouse, friends, or anyone, keep your expectations from them as least as you can. If we are good to others, we often tend to hope that people should treat us the same way. But, unfortunately, that does not always happen. You will have to learn to accept these things. If you get disappointed on such matters, you will only be spoiling your own happiness and disturbing your own peace of mind. In the words of William Shakespeare, “Expectation is the root of all heartache”. No expectations, no heartaches. As simple as that!

Apart from our relationship expectations, we should also keep our expectations from ourselves and our lives in check. Make realistic expectations and be aware of the fact that sometimes life may not turn out the way you expected it to. Do not put your stakes of happiness on future expectations. If you do so, you may end up waiting too long to be happy. Be happy now for what you have, but yeah keep improving and working for better. And as the saying goes,

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”

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