Hope for the best, but expect less

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine. -Bruce Lee

A friend’s status update on a social media site: ‘Who hurt you? My own expectations.’

Yes, we all have expectations in our lives: what we want out of life and who we want to become. I believe one of the keys to happiness lies within the management of your expectations of people and circumstances. If you do not have expectations, you can never be disappointed. Often we tend to believe that the way we treat others will be the way we are treated in return. But, unfortunately, this does not always happen.

The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of misplaced expectations. This is especially true when it comes to our relationships and interactions with others. You need to make sure you enter into relationship with someone who has as big of a heart as you do. If you do not, you may feel as if you are being taken advantage of. You need to find people who appreciate what you do for them and who will reciprocate those actions.

There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations. Having realistic expectations will allow you to accept the flaws each person has. We need to learn how to take responsibility for our own lives and our own decisions before we can expect others to do the same.

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is learning to accept people for who they truly are. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change people, the better off you will be. Give without expectation, accept without reservation, and love with hesitation. Unrealistic expectations most often do lead to disappointment. Too many people are obsessed with finding the perfect career or the perfect spouse, and as a result become increasingly frustrated when this does not happen in reality.

Expectation is the root of all heartache. Try to remain confident while maintaining positive aspirations; just remember not to make the aspirations so high that they are impractical or unreachable.

Acceptance is an amazing trait that needs to be actively worked toward. When things do not work out the way we had planned, it is much more beneficial to realize that is how life works rather than becoming frustrated at the situation. Have hope rather than expectations and you will tend not to be as disappointed.

People rarely behave exactly the way you want them to. Hope for the best, but expect less. And remember, the magnitude of your happiness will be directly proportional to your thoughts and how you choose to think about things. Even if a situation or relationship doesn’t work out at all, it’s still worth it, if it made you feel something new, taught you something afresh.

Kindness Comes at a Cost

Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem ‘Kindness’ portrays the abstract feeling in a different light. We live our lives by being kind and by receiving kindness. But, is kindness all elegant, brighter and a beautiful emotion? Brighter the light is, the darker the shadow will be. In the same way, the journey to appreciate kindness is painful.

The first stanza of the poem starts by stating that unless we go through hardships, difficulties and excruciating pain, we can never feel kindness. We should feel our future melting away and dissolving like salt in a broth. We should feel every single block we had built falling apart one by one and should see things go crazy and beyond control. We should be wrecked and hopeless to feel and see kindness between the regions of dreary and forsaken landscape. When life feels needlessly long and dull, when everyone seems to be busy and no one really cares about what happens to us, the relief that rushes over by one extending hand causes kindness.  

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

To understand how valuable and serious the emotion of kindness is, we must see a man lying dead on the road. We must realise that such a death can occur to us too and we can also be abandoned like that man. We must see how the man was the same breathing living thing with plans and dreams before he could die.  

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Just as the lines below say, we must wake up everyday heavy with sorrow and talk with it to understand what kindness really is. We should confront our sadness and separate each of its strings and weave it into a sorrowful clothing to see how big our sorrow really is. 

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 

If we do so, then we will see only kindness in every little thing and every little action. It will be kindness which ties our shoes and gives us strength to step into the outside world and do our work. Even among the ocean of bodies and faces, we will spot kindness rising its head and calling to us, “It is I you have been looking for” and following us everywhere “like a shadow or a friend”.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,

These lines make us realize how we take kindness for granted most of the time. The kindness of the mother hidden in the packed lunch box, the kindness of the friend embedded in a lent pen, the kindness of a stranger who says ‘Have a beautiful day’ are slept on by us. Our mother might have lost her good sleep to pack lunch, our friend might have not even had a pen to lend or the stranger would have had a really bad morning. Thus kindness comes at a cost. When it comes, learn to appreciate it and give it back.