A recent event in my life had made me realize how lucky I was to have been through the stage of expecting too much out of reality, especially in social situations. Have you ever experienced buying new clothes for a party? You’re totally hyped to dress up and look awesome as if you can already imagine all the people there fixing their eyes on you as you walk pass them. You feel like you’re walking down the red carpet and when you sit at the table with your friends all of them would complement you on how amazing you look. But when you reached the party, they complemented you and looked at you less then you thought they’d care and you just want to scream for them to notice you because of how much work you put just to look that way.
Or how about throwing a party? You attend to the smallest of details and making every little thing count to make sure that your party will be the best one ever and imagine it to be the best night of your life where all of your friends are gonna be at awe with you and your event. Then at the time of the night, you began to be so frustrated when around six people sent you a text that they’ll be late, around two people says they won’t be able to come and you are so stressed out about that group at the back acting like they don’t care where they are. The rest of the night turned into a disaster for you and you just want it to be over.
Or when your organization holds a meeting where all the people will be there and being a prominent one, you eagerly want to come where everybody will make a fuss of your arrival and express their complete happiness of being blessed by your presence? Unfortunately you cannot attend at the meeting itself considering you have a previous commitment you had to attend to and you knew it’s a long trip from there to the meeting place but you still pushed to go wanting to experience that warm greeting and expect that they would wait for you even if it’s already 10 in the evening (and the meeting’s already done hours before that) and everybody is already so tired and has school and work the next day. A few students decide to wait for you and you feel that these people love you better than the tons of people who have proven their love way longer and way deeper than these few.
Or maybe you and your SO (significant other) will be celebrating your anniversary soon and you planned to have the best one ever by preparing the most amazing surprise dinner. But when he/she texts you that he/she will be hours late and your gift delivery got cancelled and will have to deliver the next day. You just heated up and broke down you wanted to cancel everything and celebrate another day where everything can be perfect.
See, the thing is, all of what we expect at these situations are really products of our own social needs such as acceptance and admiration from peers. It’s only natural for us human beings to have these types of needs but a continuous obsession to it is really exhausting and emotionally straining. Think about it, if you constantly keep up this type of lifestyle, are you really living happily because of what you are and how you live it or because of what people think you are and how you constantly want to surpass everyone’s expectations?
There’s certainly nothing wrong in getting all dolled up for a party, or in any day for that matter, and definitely nothing wrong of attending to the smallest details of your party or any event to make sure that everything will be fun. In any case, there’s really nothing wrong when you work on having the social life you want as long as you don’t lose yourself and the true nature of fun while working on it. Social lives are to bring us the enjoyment in life we have the right to attain, but it isn’t the center of life. If you keep living up to what your social groups think are impressive, remember your social circle doesn’t get smaller, you will soon reach a point where you just ask yourself what do you really want. Don’t you think that when we conform too much in the standards of society, we tend to lose ourselves and lose the true meaning of happiness? Happiness is supposed to be a celebration of good things in life that we find pleasing, not what other people finds pleasing.
As I have learned in a recent situation, expectations can only have two outcomes but only one at a time is attainable, either satisfaction or disappointment. Satisfaction is not bad at all, but surely you do not want your life to be filled with just series of satisfactions? We live life in pursuit of happiness! What seems happier to hear: “Oh yes I have expected this and I’m very happy it happened!” or “Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect this! I am so happy!” ? Just consider it for a moment.
I don’t believe that social expectations are purely bad at all. They’re healthy if we have a healthy point of view about it. But that consideration has considerable limits, and we have to assess for ourselves where it begins and where it ends. Expectations give us higher limits for ourselves, they make us seek the better and more of us, and that’s really great. But we have to maintain a healthy mental and emotional perspective of it unless we want to drown ourselves in the flood of our own crushed hopes and dreams. Because in reality, the most important acceptance we can ever have in life is really just accepting ourselves.