I would say I’m a reasonably optimistic person. Some would argue and say otherwise because “optimism” is assumed to mean never doubting your future, or yourself, or always being Positive Polly. I’m definitely not always positive and have my moments of weakness, but I am always striving because I do hope for big things in life: love, success, overall happiness. I would say that I’m hopefully realistic. Doesn’t this give me access to Optimists ‘R Us, or do I fall short because hoping just isn’t powerful enough?
Half of you would be gatekeepers to this club turning me away because optimism to you means expecting things so fiercely that it actually becomes fruitful. So, which is the superior of the two: hope or expectation? Is there even a difference? And if so, which is, truly, the healthier one to have?
In my experiences I have found to have hope is much more difficult and certainly more “positive” than to have expectations. Why? Because hope allows your mind to want and desire without a brainwash that you will be satisfied. Many will argue this is an attitude of weaklings because it safeguards against the disappointment of failure. But I ask you to consider what having expectations really means. To me, I believe having expectations that you will 100%, undoubtedly get what you want from life is vain and almost alludes to an attitude of narcissism. You expect because you believe you deserve.
Who actually deserves anything? Truthfully, people take almost anything good for advantage. Let’s talk love for a minute. Every person in this world expects to be loved by someone or another, as if it is a God-given right. Yes, human instinct is to love but it is a seed that needs heavy reaping to bloom into anything substantial. I heard a quote from a chick flick once that put everything into perspective to me (funny how these things can be so profound sometimes). The lead actress tells her man who is seemingly terrified of being loved so deeply by her that he begins to push her out of his life, “Love is a gift – not an obligation.”
Love is something that someone literally gives you, and we are so haughty as to think that we can simply exist in all our hurtful tendencies and still deserve it? Herein lies the expectation of being loved: an attitude that so many exes, friends, family, even acquaintances carry around because they simply believe they deserve it. They expected to be loved by someone and weren’t, and in their minds, this is a injustice to them. But it’s not – how can you just expect someone to love you when maybe they just don’t?
So, then you take a step back and think about the last time you were hurt because you expected someone to love you and they didn’t. Or think about the last consoling session you had with your friend who was recently dumped.
“I can’t believe he/she left me. I’m so angry that he/she doesn’t want to be with me. Blah, blah blah. I want him/her back.”
But, why? Why do you want to be in any sort of relationship with someone who simply has no interest in loving you. What good does having that expectation do you?
So, don’t expect to be loved simply because you’re placed on this Earth. I’m not saying don’t think it will never happen, or don’t be hurt when someone stops loving you (or turns out never to have loved you at all) because that’s nonsensical and a bunch of angry-girl, bitter BS. But, move on from it and hope big that you’ll come across genuine love from other people, just like you hope for wealth and success and happiness. None of that’s guaranteed in life, so why should love be?
In my opinion, hoping is a humbling emotion because you work towards your goals: whether they be towards true love or a fantastic job – it will make you put in the effort to achieve.
Expecting seems to be a situation that sets us up for direct disappointment when things don’t happen. And what’s more – many people often resort to the ‘Why me?’ sob story. Well…why not you? You don’t ask that question when your expectations are (blessedly) fulfilled, so then there’s no reason to ask in a flipped situation.
So, to hope or expect? That is no question for me. Hope prevails here, and I definitely don’t think that makes me any less optimistic. It only makes me happier when my goals are achieved because I think to myself, “I am really blessed” And honestly, I can only hope for more blessings in life. I’m no fool to say I expect them.