Though it’s just a simple word, ‘expectation’ is one of the greatest influence in the human minds towards almost all and everything in the impermanent and selfless life existence. It gives motivation, hope and the sense of achievement and meaningfulness to many people.
Expectation from oneself towards oneself, towards the physical and mental ability or achievement, one’s effort and the outcome of one’s effort, and all kinds of relationship/connection with different beings and things.
Expectation from oneself towards other people, the society, the environment, or the world, to be the way that how one would like it to be, that one thinks and believes how it should be, and not to be the way that one thinks it shouldn’t be.
One might also being bound/determined by expectation from other people/the society towards oneself and unwittingly want to meet up with the expectation from other people/the society towards oneself, in order to earn liking, love, attention, respect, praise, compliment, agreement, acknowledgement, support, friendship, companionship, and etc, from other people/the society.
To many people, ‘expectation’ is a positive necessity or important motivation for making progress/improvement or to excel in the life of human beings. People think and believe that human beings need to have certain degrees of expectation from oneself and/or others to push oneself and/or other people around to progress, improve or excel in everything of life, throughout the different life stages of childhood, adulthood, parenthood, middle age, old age, education, learning, building social network, friendships, relationships, career, family, or contribution towards the society, the world, or life existence, and so on.
To those who see the truth of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless, ‘expectation’ is unnecessary when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, as ‘expectation’ is merely part of the egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and comparison that relates to restlessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration, anger, hurt, greed, fear and worry, which leads to the accumulation of physical and mental tension that gives rise to tension/stress related physical and mental illness, abusive behavior towards oneself and others, family and relationships problems, social problems, and etc.
Those who have some basic correct understanding towards life existence that is impermanent and selfless, who know the ability and limitation of their body and mind, who are endowed with dispassion, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving/aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and intentionlessness, being unattached towards the actions and the fruit of actions, they don’t need any ‘expectation’ from oneself and/or others to motivate or push them to perform necessary and wholesome actions, to do good or improve.
They don’t have expectation towards other people, life, the society, or the world, ‘hoping’ or ‘expecting’ that everyone and everything to be in certain ways, but they just do their best according to the ability and limitation of the body and mind, make use of the available knowledge, skill and opportunity to perform necessary and wholesome actions through the body and mind for the well-being of oneself and/or others, but they allow the result of their actions or efforts to be there as it is, being undetermined by their actions/efforts or the fruit of their actions/efforts.
In the worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, there is intention to inspire or motivate one to perform actions, then expectation towards the fruit of actions comes along. If the mind can realize the truth and be free from this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, that’s a great liberation, even though the life existence of the body and mind is still bound by the law of nature – Cause and effect, impermanence and selflessness. If the mind doesn’t realize this and is determined by this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, then one is not free, even though one can attain all the relationships and things that one would like to have in life, as one will always be disturbed/dissatisfied/disappointed by something that is not the way that how one thinks it should be, that one doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with.
Ask ourselves honestly about what is the motivation/intention that makes us think and feel that we need to have ‘something’ or ‘someone’. And once we have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’, naturally we have expectation towards that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ to ‘deliver’ what we expect to be ‘getting’, to ‘fulfill’ or ‘gratify’ the motivation/intention/reason/desire of why we need or want to have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’. What are we so afraid of if we don’t have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ being there existing in our life, or if we lose that ‘something’ or ‘someone’?
“Do good, because it makes you feel good and happy.”
“Give, and you will receive more in return.”
“Do good, and goodness will return to you.”
“Be nice to other people, other people will be nice to you too.”
“I did this for you/I gave you this/I helped you, you should be grateful and thankful.”
“I help you, you help me too.”
“Be generous and help other people, and people will return your generosity and help.”
“Pray to God, and God will bless you with what you desire.”
Why not just be kind, be friendly, be generous, be helpful and be supportive, or just pray to God, without any intention/motivation/expectation?
Those who know, they will be kind/friendly/helpful/supportive towards all and everything according to one’s ability, without discrimination of ‘friends’ or ‘not friends’, and there’s no motivation/intention/expectation to be receiving something desirable/help/support/kindness/goodness/friendliness/friendships in return for being kind/friendly/helpful/supportive.
Those who don’t know, there is fear. Fear of not getting what they want and fear of losing what they want or getting what they don’t want. Fear of the unknown, nothingness, hardship, difficulty, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, helplessness, unloved, left-out, companionless, non-acknowledgement, and so on. There’s is this idea or thinking – “I deserve this and that in return for my efforts/kindness/helpfulness/friendliness/generosity/contribution.”
“I want to be good enough for myself and other people. I want to be able to accept myself being the way that I want myself to be, and I want other people to accept me being the way that they want me to be.” But why do we think that we need to be good enough/be in certain ways in order to be accepted by ourselves, or other people, or the society, or the world? We don’t have to.
Those who know the truth, who realized unconditional love and peace, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or being free from attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, longing, judgment, comparison, expectation, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness or suffering, they don’t need to do something, or be someone, or have something, to make them feel good, happy, confident, meaningful, thankful or grateful. All their actions are pure actions being performed out of compassion and selflessness.