Great Expectations

I recently came across a post in regard to having expectations of other people. The author was feeling very down-trodden over the hurt of having said expectations thrown back in his face. He mused whether it was better to just have none at all… perhaps that would prevent him from being hurt and disappointed.

Just about every person in the world has at least one person that they have hoisted up onto a pedestal, be it conscious or not. Is it scarier to be the person with all the expectations, or to be the sap sitting way up yonder? (wow whoever thought I would use that word?) It is painful when the person you thought was tip-top suddenly topples over, and equally painful for the person who toppled. Is it really better to abandon all expectations, pedestals, and the like? (oh geez, if I type that e-word one more time…)

First of all, why do we have expectations (oh there it is) at all for other people? What purpose do they serve? To quote Gandalf from LOTR…”it is in man that we must place our hope.” Somehow putting faith in other people is one thing in life that gives us hope. I think we are all even a little bit optimistic, deep down. Why else would someone who has been hurt and betrayed seek out new relationships? They need to hope that not everyone in the world is a villain.

My very wise and wonderful friend Bina used to tell me that I couldn’t not trust anyone forever. At some point, I needed to believe someone…so why not just trust? Not every man is a dog looking for his next roll in the hay (mixing metaphors there), not every woman is a gold-digging tramp, and not every possible friend I meet who reminds me of Martha is going to be the same…we’ll call her “un-friend” to me as she was.

This is not at all to say that we should not have heroes and role models…we just need to remember that they are human, just like us, and prone to make mistakes. If and when they do mess up, we might want to pause a few minutes before shucking our expectations and booting them from their nose-bleed perch. And we should never stop hoping and expecting humanity to be better than it is right now. Keep the hope alive.

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