Recently, I got into a fight with my mom and it ended with “you are no longer a child”. This spored me to think about this all important topic “expectations”. Everybody in all stages of life expects something from their neighbours. Let me use an example from a toddler who depends on her mom for everything he needs. When the toddler is in danger, it cries for help; when it is hungry, it cries; when it is in a mess, it cries. But it all they do, they can not describe with the words exactly what inconveniences them. It is expected that their mom or whoever stands in the place of a mom to find out and make sure they are comfortable.
As the child grows, responsibility is ascribed to the child but is it with the same patience? It is funny how this responsibility keeps growing even when the child is not keeping up with it. As a result, guardians starts describing the child as irresponsible only to expect the child to become wise enough or smart enough to know what in the mind of their parents.
Let us describe how these expectations are bringing dis-balance and crisis a in the relationship. For years now, men are regarded as the strongest and the breadwinner of the house but let me throw a light to those in a relationship where dating is involved. It is expected for the male counterpart to prove his manliness by provided for his girlfriend: makeup, paying for schooling, etc. In the end of which she decides to or not to marry him. Let us move in the married ones proper. But first let me correct the issue that the only person who knows what a married couple is suffering from is also a married couple. First, married couples may not be able to describe what happiness looks like. Second, married couples may not know what exactly they are doing wrong. Thirdly, they may think it already too late to change things. They may become complacent after all I have got what I want forgetting that the courtship continues.
The Nigerian situation whereby youths and adult alike sits back, waiting for the government to change the situation of living. Is the Buhari Administration wrong, when he said that the Nigerian youths are lazy? Personally, think even if he, Buhari is wrong, can we say that he is responsible for our success and failure? I think we attack that statement rather than his person, we may be able to understand that for every leader to build a bridge, he has to build his own house first. Expecting them to uplift you personally from your abject poverty shows your dependence. It may lead the learned to ask if the citizens of Nigerians are freeborn or just slaves in their own country?
Where as the christian doctrine insists that the only one who is worthy of dependence is God while man is full of deceit, I doubt that. Am necessarily negating the christian doctrine but justly attacking the philosophy. The idea is enslaving as it is the reason why abject poverty of the masses keeps growing. This ideology from my perspective is what causes laziness in the people. A lazy man always says that there is no business he hasn’t tried but all to know avail. Let me intimate carefully that in as much as few has tried and it worked out for them, it will surely work out for you and you need is just one more try.
There are far too many religions and people join them because they promise peace. But I say before you join one religion, make sure it matches your own philosophy. I have been able to understand and see that too many just live up to peoples expectations. And so just living life in hell as they cannot express their own thoughts and so they live in a dual world. Patrick Carnes a renowned writer: Out of the shadows; has described that expectations indirectly leads to the development of bad habits. Am going to use an example sited in that literature: a young man was taken to the priest for confession because of masturbation by his dad. He thought masturbation makes him a very bad boy and not knowing how terrible that thought makes him nothing more than to keep masturbating. He didn’t know masturbation runs in the family. Do you think the boy will be open up to his friends about it or even his mother may have no idea what going on under her nose. I can assure you that he was just caught by his dad. This kind of people simply behaves like a saint making sure to cover his tracks, but the bad habit grows to dominate his life and everything in his life suffers including his relationship. Why? Because he believes that he can not live with out indulging in his bad habits. He is alone and feels that the people in his live when they found out what a mess he is they will shut him out of their lives. Therefore, he shuts himself out.
It is interesting that the people leaving with addicts are themselves addicts. In fact, they are simply referred to as co-addicts. Lets use an example in a family living with drunkard father, despite what the man does the woman simply does not leave. Why? Because he is the father of her children. But won’t the children survive even better if the two separate? Many women leaving with related problems will say that the kids always has a better chance of surviving. In fact she will believe that she has a duty to help her husband stop his bad habits. When this linger she becomes frustrated but she has no idea that she is also becoming an addict to he addict husband too.
Permit me to use the theory of reincarnation. Reincarnation is when a person born centuries ago comes back to live again either in the form of man, woman, some religions believes animals or plants depending. Therefore, for women to believe that her children can survive a violent home means that she believes that what she bore is not just a child but an old soul who is destined to help this couple to solve their problems.
The issues of prayers are becoming another form of serious expectations which specially ruining the Nigerian State. Citizens are praying for peace and harmony in the community for decades and I am tempted to say that as a child of this community it appears the prayers are not working or that God is on vacation or on a tour pending when he will be back. Interestingly, the efficacy rate of prayers is overrated and ridiculed. Let take for instance, a man venturing into business and who has no common knowledge of that business. He goes to a certain rich man and begs him for some money to venture into his business of interest. I believe there will be some form of interview by that rich man to verify if the man in question knows what he is venturing into or he just doing what others are doing. Lets assume he knows and is unable to express specifically to the rich man what he wants, do you think that the rich man can trust the man in question? Am guessing the answer is no. What if he was able to express his intention distinctly but is asking for ridiculously large sum of money? Do you expect the rich man to honour that request? No. I believe for same reason prayers of Nigerian may not work because they are either not specific enough or they are asking for God simply can grant. After all, the world was not created in a day, so expect everything at once. Ask for your true want.
Now expectations means anticipating that a promise will come to fruition or that belief that something will happen in the future. It may also mean standards. We can not separate expectations from prayer but there can be expectations without prayer too. In case of believing the society’s norms. A society has an influence on both men and women and those with a more vocal voice tend to pull the others towards their own mental philosophy thereby enslaving themselves and others. Husbands blame their wives and wives blame the devil but one thing is certain no matter who blames trust inevitably gets scarce. This is how acceptance can help to introduce patience to the plane as well as trust. Acceptance means forgiveness. Acceptance does not mean your are less or have accepted for less but rather for the moment.
Physiologically, acceptance means acknowledgement. A french psychologist, Emile Coue introduced affirmations or positivism. He and like wise most religious groups describes attitudes of failures as being something we tell ourselves. A well known scripture in the bible that “not anyone of the children of God shall say that I am sick” is widely acknowledged. This has made it look like the devil is the creator of diseases or other failures. Now if we examine the bible where it is written: honour your father and mother so that you may live long in the land which your God has given you. It will be discovered that there is a curse attached to it. It may well be thought that living long warrant being healthy because it is only in perfect health only can one live long. This may mean that sickness was not brought or created by the devil but as a way to punish the disobedient children. Affirming is like when the Nigerians pastors preaching prosperity to a man knowing fully well that he is not rich but that his enemies has been tying their destinies. This will surely not change a thing because lets take for instance if you are being punished by your parents and you are not crying instead you are saying things like am comfortable where I am. Am sure your parents might decide to add more just to make sure you are likely going to accept your mistakes and that you are suffering.
Some psychologist has detected some formulas on clearing negativity and when looking at it critically it is same as those prescribed by the church. Question yourselves, accept that you have made a mistake then ask forgiveness. In inter-personal relationships it may be more complex than that. Children for example are expected to be obedient to their parents, run errands as well as be able to determine what their parents rely want. And if these children does not meet up, then this shows that they have not meet up to expectations. This happens likewise to those who are in the dating world as well as those who are married, addicts and co-addicts, etc.
In intra-personal relationships, it peculiar for an individual to compare oneself to others. Several times the society has always tried to control this in it usual adage: all fingers are not equal. You find people setting high standards for themselves leading to competitions which always may lead to crime. This may be as a result of an imbalance in self esteem. People always tend to feel that they have a high self esteem. But it has been shown that both low and high self esteem is bad for socialization. For instance a person with low self esteem may decide to bow out of any frustrating situation while a person with high self esteem may loose his or her wit in form of temper but either way both does not end well. Except for the normal esteem who does not bow nor does give up. This also shows that high self esteem may result in destructive attitudes too.
Clearly, it may have been understood that expectations may not always be reached. So how do we manage our expectations. A boy who runs to welcome his father is not just running to say daddy welcome. In fact, welcome means welcome way bread? The usual Nigerian adage. It is pertinent to know that too much expectations ruins relationships. It is also important to know that not only the boy who runs to welcome his dad is expecting something but the dad is also expecting either that the boy will ask or that the boy will run to him therefore expectation is bilateral in nature. Same way a boy understands that his parent may not be able to meet all his needs so also his parent should understand that the child may not always meet their expectation, talk more of exceeding it.
We should be able to get it that standards are relative. For instance, when two people wants to eat Indomie. One may decide to eat one hungry man pack while the other may decide to eat two. But the size per body weight of the one eating one may look heavier than the body weight of the one eating two. So let standards be yours and let others keep their standards. Secondly, accepting mistakes or that people will not always meet your standards and giving them the benefit of doubt will always help to dilute some vexations. Trying to help one another by hearing them out and even supporting them will strengthen a lot of relationships. Lessening blame game will help one accepting his mistake leading to sorry which will not lead to further attack. For instance, a husband and wife got into a fight, because the wife questioned him about his activities. Instead, he tried to prove that he was the man and is above the law of the house. Was told that he is no match for real men. He decides to say that he is the father of her children which his wife quickly divulge that what if he is not. This may appear to calm the problem in the mean time but a lot larger problem cooking in which an extended family meeting will have to come in to settle. Finally, acceptance is not accepting defeat but a time for restrategizing for a better success next. Sometime, you might find it difficult to climb a wall. If you train harder you will discover that you won’t just climb that wall but a much greater wall. This means hitting a brick wall today should spur you to plan to soar even greater brick walls.