Chen Tian - Authorchen.firstname.lastname@example.org
"When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing", it says in the Bible. Whether you are religious or not: having no expectations could give us true freedom, right? No expectations - no disappointment. But is that even possible?
I recently joined a team building camp. One of the sessions we had was called "fast dating", where team members give each other feedback using the "fast dating" method. We just emulated the world we live in - we constantly receive projections and expectations from others, while at the same time we also put our own projections and expectations on the people around us. Sometimes that is really helpful, it can help us to be more aware of ourselves. Sometimes, however, it is the main ingredient of disappointment.
"Projections - Expectations - Separations - Judgments - Rejections". Have you ever entered into this circle with the people closest to you? Have you ever thought of escaping from this circle? We prepared some interesting questions and reached out to some students on campus to find out what they think about these concepts. We hope the thoughts they shared can give you some inspiration.
What do you think of the idea of having “no expectations” in different areas of your life?
Karl: "I think that you should have expectations in most cases; you should have expectations in order to reach certain goals and standards, particularly when it comes to school, for example. As expectations mean, thinking certain things should be a certain way, having no expectations could mean that you "let things slide"."
Sandra: "Having no expectations could in some ways be beneficial - you're not setting yourself up for disappointment, but it also feels like taking the easy way out."
It would be interesting to think outside the box, just deciding to say no to expectations as much as you can. Sometimes we are stressed with the expectations from others, especially from people close to us. Do we dare to live out the life we would like to live?
Do you think it is hard to live without expectations?
Karl: “We humans think a lot, it can be hard to suddenly not think about something. We have a strong tendency to let our minds wander, picture certain things a certain way, and to actively try to not think about it will only make it harder. We can't really think "don't think about it".”
Sandra: "Yes, it's hard to have no expectations. I feel like there is a line between having low expectations and no expectations, and crossing that line is very hard."
Paul: "I think it is natural to have expectations, but if the expectations make me unhappy, I wish I could lower them.”
Are there expectations you have on yourself or others have on you that are stressful?
Karl: "Yes, most expectations that apply to yourself are the more stressful ones, because they are usually high. We tend to want to do a good job and so we put high expectations on ourselves. Stress comes when we don't meet them."
Paul: "When I entered high school, I became bad at mathematics. I could feel the disappointment of my father, because I just could not meet his expectations. I felt that my father would love me only if I met his expectations."
Expectations are expectations, and they might not be true. Love & relationships should never be based on it.
Do you have high expectations when it comes to your studies at KTH?
Karl: “Not a lot, since I don't really know how everything works yet, but I do expect the education to reach a certain standard, that I'll learn something and things will work as expected, that I'll meet people and friends.”
Sandra: “I actually expected that the schoolwork would be easy, that I would study all the time, be caught up on everything. Those expectations were not met when it came to that.”
And on yourself?
Karl: “I can be hard on myself. I think that's true for a lot of people, you don't give yourself the benefit of the doubt, you're not as kind to yourself and you don't give yourself the same leeway for mistakes that you do to other people. I expect a lot from myself, and that's not always good.”
How would you feel if someone important in your life said that they had no expectations on you?
Sandra: "That would actually be hurtful..."
Karl: "It holds a bit of a negative tone..."
Most of us want others to have healthy expectations on us. We’d actually feel hurt if people didn’t expect anything from us, even though we often struggle with our own expectations on ourselves.
How about adjusting expectations?
Karl: "I don't think that you should be afraid of changing and adjusting your expectations when you’ve collected more knowledge and experience. You should rather use them to set your expectations accordingly."
Paul: "Don’t be obsessed with specific expectations, it will put you at risk."
Having expectations is a very natural thing, all we need is to get a deeper understanding about them. When what we are expecting does not become true, try to accept the situation and make adjustments. For the people we love (including ourselves), lower your expectations! Accept people as they are - you are a human being, not a human doing. Your actions and how well they fulfil expectations don’t define your worth. Let’s end with some words from the book "Projections Expectations Separations Judgments & Rejections" by Gary Douglas:"If you're not doing the world based on your projections and expectations, you get to see what is in front of you and you get to change anything."