Great Expectations

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I live on the banks of the river Narbada.

The river is lavish and generous to all her children. She lets you take as much water from her as you need. She’d never refuse you, on the contrary, she would love to give all you want.

She cannot be called sparing or miserly if you go to  her banks armed with a small bowl instead of a tanker. She didn’t ask you to bring a bowl. She’d have given you a tankful if you had asked her for it. You cannot complain that you were discriminated against and not given more. The fault was yours. Your expectation was too small, you context too narrow.

Your context is the vessel you take to the river of bounty. The content is the bounty you fill your vessel with. Unless you expand your context, your content will stay limited.

Your limitations and success will be based, most often, on your own expectations of yourself. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.
~ Denis Waitley

Having high expectations of yourself is scary business. By raising expectations, you set the stage for possible disappointment and heartbreak. It wounds the ego, breaks down self- confidence and undermines self- esteem. It is emotionally traumatic. It makes us feel terribly vulnerable and exposed. With vulnerability, fear kicks in as well.

This is why we have an entire culture advocating low expectations. Perhaps it works for some people. I tried making it work for me also, it didn’t.

Your expectations opens or closes the doors of your supply, If you expect grand things, and work honestly for them, they will come to you, your supply will correspond with your expectation.
~ Orison Swett Marden

Broken dreams, shattered hopes and smashed expectation create too much emotional debris. They drain and deplete. Their shards stab your skin, making it bleed. The pain runs out of your veins in prodigious abundance, staining everything in its path. It takes eons to clean up the emotional space again. What of it?Expectations

The alternative is to shrink yourself down to the size of a rabbit, lie down under a tree and wait for death. As you lie there waiting, you are bound to see people returning from the river with enormous tankers hitched to they shoulders, laughing happily. You will look at them and wonder why you were given a measly bowlful. You will wonder what they had that you were denied. You will wonder why you were chosen to bear the pain of this denial. You will ask yourself why the doors of heaven were barred to you. You will eat your heart out with envy.

The day you cry in a hoarse voice and ask Why me? I hope someone will tell you the truth. That truth will be brutal in its innocent nakedness. Will you have the courage to look at it?

When you lower your expectations, you sentence yourself to a life blighted by a terrible thirst. Your body burning, your lips cracked, your tongue swollen. Your pain so pervasive that you can do nothing but wait for the agony to end. Your life drips away in unlived drabness. You could never manage to shift your attention away from your thirst to make something of your life.

And all the while, the river gurgled a stone’s throw away, eager to give you all the water in the world.

The pain of shattered expectations is far smaller than the pain of having thrown away your life for no other reason but because you didn’t ask the universe for everything you needed- everything it was more than eager to give you.  To deny yourself a chance of making something beautiful of your life, merely because you didn’t dare hope is too terrible a waste to be tolerated. By protecting yourself from possible failure, you will have also have closed the doors to all possibilities of success.

Even if your expectations are smashed, what of it? Your broken dreams will become the soil from which new dreams will spring forth. Expectations don’t die, they merely change their form and morph into something even more beautiful than before. There really is no need to be so afraid of expecting wonderful things of your life.

But what if your audacious expectations, those colorful impossible dreams, that world filled with the light of hope were given to you because you expected to be given it?

What if your dreams come true?

2 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. phoenixritu

    The philosophy of Gita is more apt … have no expectations at all! That way, you are thrilled with the outcome anyway. You are not emotionally invested in the outcome …

    Reply
    1. Dagny Post author

      My understanding of the Gita is a little different I guess.

      To me, Gita advocates one to dream and to work towards their fulfillment with hope. I just recommends that you don’t attach yourself too deeply with the results of your effort.

      How we went from ‘don’t worry about the fruits’ to ‘don’t plant trees’ is inexplicable to me.

      Reply

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