How deeply have you loved anyone? Your mother/father, your husband/wife, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your siblings/cousins/grandparents, your friends or your boss/co-workers and hey, your favorite cartoon character even.
Just how deeply? And how much have you expressed?
Have you felt that gnawing pain inside when that person has not reciprocated how you want them to? Say you wanted them to text you that they miss you, return your call or text, pick up flowers for you, appreciate something you did for them, appreciate the love you showered on them, et al.
I bet a lot of people told you how ‘love’ is selfless and means giving without expectations. They tell you, ‘Hey, I keep my expectations low in life and that way I am happy.‘ Even those, who advice thus, get hurt. Ever thought what those pearls of wisdom could really mean? In my opinion – not all those who preach and practice this even understand what it means.
Well, to be human is to have expectations, right? Expecting is not a bad word, it is not wrong. It is human to ‘expect’. What does this ‘expectation’ mean? Where does it lead? Satisfaction, maybe? Happiness, even?
So, they say keep your expectations real. Meaning, if you expect a particular individual to act a particular way during a particular set of circumstances, it would mean you have choreographed the play and if something goes astray, it would end up not meeting your expectations, ergo you get upset. Do you want to channelize all your energies into choreographing the moments in life instead of, say, ‘living’ the moment?
Contrary to what was said above, ‘love’ actually is the main reason we end up having these expectations. We do not expect anything from a passerby, even if we do, we do not get much upset over it. This happens due to the following factors:
- We have emotionally invested in the person. It is always hard to lose an investment.
- As human beings we are inclined to want to ‘fix’ things. The problem is that the other person’s version of what is “right” is different from yours.
- We are addicted to the ‘feeling’ (also read ‘happiness’ which we think is derived because of the other person). Love and lust are addictive emotions. When the source of those feelings are stripped away, one tends to try to do everything they can to get that person back, to even out that chemistry/equation again.
Instead, would you consider loving yourself exactly how you pictured/choreographed/expected the person you love to pay attention to you, to love you, to bring you those flowers, to give you that hug, to be kind to you, to treat you nice, to take you out, to take you travelling?
If you cannot consider the possibility of loving yourself or doing all those things for yourself, why should you expect another to do it for you?
Consider channelizing your energies into making smaller things a reality. Take a solo trip, maybe. Believe me, I did and I do! Or pursue whatever your interests are.
Tell yourself how no one can love you more than you love yourself. Treat yourself to those small little things: dinner/movie/scone/pastry/saree/jeans/the dance class you always hoped you would go to.
Most of all, be kind to yourself.
Accept yourself, be love struck about yourself, make yourself a priority, then you will automatically appreciate everyone around you and even look out to ensure your first priority is yourself and accept that the other person’s first priority is themselves.
Romantic relationship or not, these disappointments and the pain inside can be cured with a simple switch, a simple tilt of antenna towards yourself. Happiness comes from within! Have you told yourself lately that you love yourself? Have you done something nice for yourself? Try it.
Set an example and standard on how you must be treated. Set the standard as high as you are willing to do it for yourself. That, in my opinion, takes care of your love and expectations!
Priyadarshini Natarajan is a lawyer practicing in Chennai dealing with corporate and commercial transactions and litigations. Apart from lawyering, she also enjoys traveling, making friends and sharing inspirational ideas.