"My happiness is directly proportional to my expectations."
It would be nice if people, places and things did what I expected them to do. Placing any sort of expectations on the Humans and their erratic behaviour is especially precarious. The closer our relationship is to the Human in question the more currency the expectation carries.
We all want to be treated with respect. If some schmo walking down the street doesn't smile back at me when I walk by I may be mildly irritated at the rude behaviour - but it will be fleeting and mild. Now if I tell a girl I am dating I love her and she asks me to pass the ketchup I will lose sleep and my feelings will be intense and unpleasant. This is because I had an expectation of how she would behave.
When we do something to make another person feel better with no expectation of reward we are acting out of what I call Authentic Love. If I walk passed my child's door and I see that her blanket has fallen off I sneak into the room very quietly and pull the blanket up over her so she is warm and feels safe. I take great pleasure in this and I have no expectation of reward. In fact, not getting caught is essential.
For me, the inverse relationship between expectation and happiness is most acute in the Family. I have heard it said that "anyone who had parents suffered some form of abuse". Most of us have some sort of weird little neurosis related to our parents and our expectation of how we should be treated. This peculiar and common tension is further complicated by differences in values and respect indicators created by personality differences and generation gaps.
I believe that all Humans have the right to be respected. In fact, I demand a certain level of respect from those who I allow in my life. This presents another problem with family - we didn't choose them. So when my expectation of respect is not being met I'm forced to ride out the relationship to the bitter and miserable end.
Or am I?
When our expectation of respect is not met in a relationship that we are born into we have to rise above that expectation. I do this by doubling down on Authentic Love. Authentic Love fill's the hole left by my unmet expectations. In fact, sometimes the expectation fades away completely.
The act of committing random, secret acts of Authentic Love is the antidote for unmet expectations. And here's the secret - these acts don't even have to be perpetrated on the same Humans that are not meeting your expectation of respect. Any Human will do - the more deserving the better.
There is a magic that happens when we incorporate Authentic Love into our lives. The importance of the expectation fades and sometimes goes away entirely. Sometimes we suddenly realize our expectations are being met and when they are not we are able to feel compassion rather than resentment.
Eventually they will come around. In the mean time with all of us in the Edgosphere running around committing random acts of Authentic Love the World will be a better place! So keep you're head up folks and when the Humans fall short of your expectations just Smile and Wave.
Respectfully, From the Edge