We live in a world of expectations. We are expected to work efficiently, be happy, own a home, have the perfect marriage, and so on. We expect people to act this way or that way. All the world is a stage…and we are expected to perform.
Expectations are based on our (mis) understanding of reality. Reality is dependent upon our thoughts and the nature of the physical world. We expect this or that, often against the nature of reality. People behave based upon their backgrounds and current mood. To expect any differently is to misunderstand human nature. We can’t always work at our peak efficiency at our jobs. We can’t look like models (they don’t even look like themselves). We can’t always be happy or social. Dating, for example, isn’t much more than two friends spending time together, but it has expectations associated with it. Dating is to be romantic. In reality dates are usually not much more than the beautiful mundanity that characterizes everyday life. A movie is just a movie after all. People point and whisper like a couple is a side show at a circus; they are just another part of ordinary life.
Expectations are based in our desire to break out of the ordinary routine. We are dissatisfied by ordinary life, yet ordinary is life. We want beautiful partners for our own enjoyment and to flaunt as a status symbol. We want to live in a television drama filled with perfect people and excitement. However, in reality we will find people who are a little overweight, have too large eyes, too large noses, or an annoying laugh. They are beautifully ordinary. When you think about a the extremely kind soul with the crooked nose is a break from the ordinary. Even excitement will get tired.
We don’t have to live with flaws, we have to embrace them. Expectations get in the way of true relationships. We each have an ideal vision of a partner and compare anyone that catches our interest against that photograph. It allows us to find people who are compatible with us. The label does not define a reality anyone can live up to. Really, would we want anyone to be that perfect a partner? Flaws are the source of love. They allow us to grow spiritually and not hold onto shallow and childish expectations. Flaws mean you are both alive and changing; they are a mark of experience. The most beautiful trees to look upon are those that are bent and twisted by their efforts to reach the sky.
Expectations lead to dissatisfaction. By their nature expectations are often impossible to leap. Expectations are demands to act, think, or behave this or that way. They are an obligation few can ever meet. We expect trust, or kindness, or happiness. Can anyone be trusting or kind or happy all the time? Lovers argue. We each have moments of weakness where we fall to our knees. We let people down. It is part of being an ordinary person. Is there any other kind? When we hold expectations on high, we will be dissatisfied with living in the dust and dirt of ordinary.
Expectations are unfair. What right does anyone have to force their vision of how things must be upon other people? Certainly some people are far too fat, and it damages their health. But, to expect everyone to be thin is too much to expect. To expect those dear to us to always be happy, kind, or calm is too high a demand. We have no right to dictate another’s life; no matter how beneficial we think our plan is for them.
Relationships will have arguments. People will be unhappy at times. People will be parted as they grow old. Expectations contrary to the beautiful mundanity of relationships will kill them. Reality is as reality is; it is beautifully ordinary.