• Annette Nilsson

Hope and Expectations

While you may hope and trust that there are people out there who care about and love you, the moment you attach expectations to that hope, you create pressure and the chance for disappointment.

Any form of condition, often expressed as ‘if…then’ should be carefully considered as relationships between people should not underly the laws of causal action. Of course, if I do something, I have to bear the consequence. But that is part of human action, all of our actions will have consequences, good and bad.

What I mean is that if we put this form of conditions on our relationships, disappointment, disagreement and conflict will be the result. The reason why we have expectations is to excert control, over others, and our lives. We want to know what is going to happen, we need constant reassurance that we are good and the life around is is going according to plan.

Now, more than ever in recent history, it is clear that life is totally not going according to any plans, and almost every day, we have to adapt to new circumstances, findings, rules and restrictions. And we all struggle with this, as we cannot trust that the plans we make will be put into action. The resulting disappointment costs us a lot of energy.

In yoga, we practice to stay in the here and now, in the moment, and to let go of expectations. I find this the hardest part, to be honest. My mind wanders off to all the things which I need to do, organise, the people I need to contact, my mind itself confronts me with constant conditional clauses. And I want to know what will happen if I do something, or if I do not do something. We all want to know how things are, we want to find solutions and to know the truth; doubt and undertainty give us stress.

One way I try to deal with my self-made stress is to replace expectations by hope. Hope is quite different from expecations as it leaves more room for the outcome. Writing blogs can be a daunting business if you expect other people to like them. If you write what is important to you and you hope that some people like it, get inspired or find what you wrote useful - that is a totally different story, pressure decreases, chances for disappointment are less, and as a result, courage and creativity can flourish.

Before information technology allowed exact forecasts of the weather, of stock market etc, the human condition was uncertain. We had to hope for good weather to bring in the harvest, we had to trust that our money was safe in the bank, we had to hope that the person we made an appointment with will show up. When we made phone calls, we hoped that someone woud pick up the phone, and if not, we would try again. These days, we sent messages and apps, and if those are not answered in due time, we are disappointed, sad, lost, unsettled.

In these times, I believe we are all united in the hope that this year will bring back our freedom to travel, to meet, to go out and enjoy a movie, concert or dinner. And I take great comfort sharing my hopes and also worries with my network, without expectations but just feeling that I am not alone.

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