Expectations — It’s one of the many things we get less fond of and less attached to as we grow older. We don’t blame ourselves for this. Instead, we blame letdowns, grief, and scars we’ve lost count of.
“Reality hits hard,” we say with resignation and acceptance, but without any trace of defeat. Our armor, we believe, is actually at its strongest at this point. This armor protects us from our head to our toes. But its thickest layer lies in our heart, which repeats everyday: “I’ve built a defense mechanism within my veins. I don’t hold on to expectations, and so I don’t worry. My blood flows freely, and I’m happy.”
Our self-defense against expectations and our hostility towards it stem from too much trust in ourselves and too little trust in the world. Though we gain a lot of good things from such a defense mechanism, we also lose a few that are far more important than what we gain.
Too little trust in the workings of the world means being less receptive to their charm and enchantment. It means closing ourselves to that innocent, special kind of optimism that lives only through ideas we often see in fairytales: glittery magic and sparkling wisdom. When magic and wisdom start to sound ridiculous and impractical, that’s the time we have to tap and bring out the child in us.
We were young when we first fell in love with wonder. Though we can never re-create the feeling that tickled us when we first learned how to tie our shoelaces by ourselves, we can re-create–as adults–the excitement that showed on our little faces when we tied our shoelaces the second time around, the third, the fourth, and the fifth.
When we let the child in us speak and do the work, we break the rope we tied around expectation. We allow it to breathe and we allow it to be the gateway to our future reality. Every expectation becomes magic our mind crafted; every expectation becomes wisdom our heart has set for ourselves. This brave take on expectations becomes the very motivation that pushes us to believe that we can break the barrier between expectations and reality.
We learn that it’s not “expectations versus reality.” It is, rather, “expectations equal reality” all along and in every step of the way.