There’s an old expression in English. The expression in question is, “Quibble terms.” It’s so easy to hear a word, and decide that its definition is something entirely different than what someone else looking at the same word assumes it to mean.
I want to be clear when I say that, what I am not trying to do with this article is quibble terms. Rather, I want to take the time to point out something that is very easily missed. I’m going to use couple of terms to talk about this, realizing full well that the terms in question may well have different definitions to you than the ones I’m going to assign them.
Word one is desire. For the purposes of this article, we will use a relatively simple definition, “That which is wanted be it a person, place, thing, action or idea.”
The second word is expectation. The definition we’re going to use for this word is. “What one thinks it likely will happen, be, or be thought.”
The point of the defining of the two words, is to talk about an important distinction that people often fail to separate in their minds.
Let me attempt to illustrate. For a moment, assume that a part of what one desires in a mate, is someone who will at the very least take responsibility for his or her “creation of messes.” Another desire might be that the person in question is sufficiently adult to not assume “tit-for-tat” is a reasonable way to deal disagreement or conflict.
These may or may not be worthy desires. Nonetheless, desires they may be.
Now we should consider expectation. Over the course of sufficient time, one comes to understand that—desire aside—others may or may not be or do that which is desired.
Imagine an interchange like this:
A person walks through the door of his or her house. They greet the person with whom they are in a long term relationship. For this interaction, we’ll start with John and Jane.
John: “Hello Jane, how was your day?
Jane (throwing the packing from a mail delivery on the sofa): “Not too bad, a little tiring.”
John (wincing at Jane’s act): “Sorry to hear it was a little tiring. What do you want to do this evening?’
Jane: “I’m going to bed.”
John: “Jane, you may want to consider taking to somebody—maybe a medical professional—about the fact that you’re always tired.”
Jane: “I’m fine.”
John walks through the living room a week later and realizes the packaging is still there. He gets as well, that he could pick it up, but the problem is, each time he has done so, he has found Jane more likely than before to leave things where they fall or lay. As such, he decides to leave it where it is. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to do this, on the other, he has come to expect a pattern if he doesn’t.
John’s desire is that Jane will generally clean up after herself. His expectation though, is that she will not.
This is the distinction that I want to draw. There is a definite difference between what one desires and what one expects. This is the world in which we live.
When people talk about people “meeting their expectations,” or failing to do so, it should be understood that what is expected may or may not be what is desired. It should also be recognized that people will allow for their desires to go unmet in varying degrees.
I, for example tend to have very low expectations. That is in no way indicative of my desires.
Further unfortunately, my expectations often go unmet—much less my desires.
The point of all of this, is that you should understand that I think it likely there are a good many people out there just like me—people whose desires are seldom met, and even though their expectations are low, often find them to be unmet as well. This may even be more or less, the somewhat normal “human condition” where desire and expectation are concerned.
One way or another though, you might be surprised to find out just how many of the people you know (and maybe love?) are living with all but entirely unmet desires and are in fact, regularly see their expectations shattered (and not in good ways).
I get that you may be one such person, what I’m asking though, is for you to look outward. To think about how many of those around you may well be in this exact same place.
One of the funny things about this “discussion,” is that you may be tempted to look at people who seem to be “well put together,” well off (maybe even wealthy), and seemingly content with their lot in life, and come to the conclusion these folks are not amongst those who have largely unmet expectations, much less desires.
I assure you that making this mistake, easy though it may be to do so, would be no less problematic.
There’s a third consideration. That would be that some of us have come to the conclusion that our expectations and certainly our desires may never be met. We have realized that we have a choice. We can either wallow in self pity over our lot, or we can choose happiness and live in the hope that the day will come when some one or ones will come closer to meeting our desires or at least, our expectations.
What’s the important takeaway? Just because those around you seem put together, or happy, or content, or well off in whatever fashion does not mean they are not dealing with things untold and unknown to you. Perhaps the burdens they bear are far greater than anything you can imagine or envision. Maybe they’re harsher than anything with which you have ever dealt.
It’s even probable that for one reason or another nobody’s path is as easy as some make theirs look.
As a parting thought, remember this, when you fail to meet my expectations you may rest assured you are far below my desires. In this I doubt very seriously I am alone.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.