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Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Expectations are Premeditated Resentments


Expectations is one of the topics I like to come back to regularly. It's important for me to remember not to have any expectations -- either of myself or anyone else -- because all they do is set me up for disappointment.

If I don't expect anyone to act in a particular way, then I will not get angry or frustrated if they don't. Being judgmental of myself also comes from having self-expectations; Did I perform or behave in the ways that I expected to? And what about "anticipation"? That's just another word for expectations.

It is better for me to work on acceptance of whatever comes and whatever happens. But how is the best way for me to do this? How can I just "be" with whatever is?

Meditation has helped me learn how to do this. Just noticing what is occurring in my space and in my world is the first step. In doing so, I ask myself: what do I see around me right now? What do I feel, sense, taste, hear, etc? What is around me? Who is with me? What is happening right here and right now?

(Worrying about the future has no place in this, although I can have long range plans and dreams. Regretting the past also can wait for another time, and is not part of this practice).

Can I just "be" with all this? Can I just accept whatever is right now as being as "it should be," with the trust and belief that "now" is exactly what my Higher Power wants for me? Can I accept any discomfort that comes?

If I did not expect or anticipate things to be different than they actually are, then I cannot be disappointed by the reality.

I guess that acceptance is much easier for me when I realize that it is not blind happenstance. By this I mean that it is acceptance of the world and my place in it as being part of G‑d's (my HP's) plans. The world is not a haphazard place, and there is no need for me to fight and resist what happens. There is no need to fear that events are signaling things "going wrong."

When the director is running the show, the actors don't have to worry when he decides to change the scenery or lighting, or any of the other "special effects." They don't second guess him. They know that he has their best interests in mind and that whatever changes or adjustments are made, it is for the good of the whole cast, the whole show.

In this way, it is important for me to remember that whatever is happening to me and around me is meant for my good and the good of others. If I truly trust, then I do not have to argue or resist these.

This means that even when I don't understand what is happening, and it seems to me like it is not in my favor, I need to remind myself that I haven't seen the whole story plot, and I don't really know the "inside deal" about what's the "real" best situation for me and those involved.

Which leads me back to basic Trust and Belief. Either you have it or you don't. Well, I'm in. There were times when I acted so impulsively, it wasn't clear even to me if I really had this basic bottom-line belief and faith.

And even more recently, sometimes it may seem that I respond in ways that might imply less than total belief, but I want to state clearly that I stand tall on the belief and trust charter. I'm in the club.

Now, ask yourself the very same question: Even when things don't always go the way you planned, or the way you'd like them to, can you still claim membership in my 'belief and trust' club? Or is it only conditional on getting the things you want and in the ways that you want?

So I diverted from "expectations of others and self" to expectations of love and nurturance and acceptance from our HP. No matter, I'm still in the club. Are you?

Frumstepper is a Jewish Twelve Stepper who writes about how she is continually reminded that "G-d is driving the bus," and about her efforts to "let go and let G-d" in dealing with all that life throws her way. You can read more of her musings on her personal blog.
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Maggie York February 14, 2012

Grateful and in Recovery! Love this...a great reminder for me today! and everyday! Reply

frumstepper July 25, 2008

Answer to Bernard Hi There- In answer to your question, I will translate some of what R' Yaakov Kanievsky, The Steipler Gaon, writes in his book Eizos V'hadrachos; "Some people think that in order to be worthy, they have to be perfect in all their traits and talents, and successful in their deeds, and only this will
give them importance, And this is an error, and not what the Torah wants from us, because it was not given to angles, and therefore, for a person to consider himself undeserving, and to be too particular on himself until he has no rest from all he is doing, and that all his work will not be considered important in his eyes until it is done perfectly- these thoughts are against the purpose of the Torah, and cause, as those who understand the soul know, physical problems that have no actual biological or physical basis, but stem instead from the soul, which cannot work in its natural manner for each time it tries to do something, either spiritual or physical, it becomes overcome with fear and worry that it won't succeed, or perhaps that it might sin, because he does not value himself or his deeds until or unless they are perfect. And the wise one will try only to do the will of his Creator, according to his abilities and talent that G-d gave him, and will not look at others with jealousy, and not try to do as they do, or more than they do, because he knows that the "ikar", the real priority, is that whatever he does should be according to his capacity, and for the glorification of Hashem (shem shamayiim) and that he should not always be mixing himself up by thinking about himself so much. Reply

Anonymous July 24, 2008

Wow, God must have planned to resent man from the beginning when He expected Adam to keep the garden and His command! Maybe that is why some who claim to be His are resentful/hateful as well. It just filters down the line!

It seems though, with His plan to resent, He planned to reconcile as well. Wonder why His children do not? Reply

Yisrael Pinson, Blog Moderator July 23, 2008

Answer to Bernard Great question, I am glad you asked. I realize myself that this point might be misunderstood by many.
Judaism definitely encourages to set the bar high for ourselves. Which means that we should have self expectation to continually increase our acts of goodness and kindness, perform more commandments, speak more words of Torah, and think only positive thoughts
The part that we need to always LOWER our expectations, is regarding the OUTCOMES of those actions. I shouldn't have any expectation that BECAUSE of my increased level of spiritual action, I will feel G-d more in my life, I will be more accepted by others, good things will happen to me. Not even that my desire to use will go away, or I will become a more refined person. All these things are out of my hands therefore I leave them up to whoever is in charge of them - G-d. In recovery the only thing I control are my next thought, word, or action, not their impact on myself or the world. G-d controls the outcomes.
I hope it helps, i surely don't know if that is what Frumstepper had in mind. Reply

Bernard Lakeland, FL July 23, 2008

Low self expectations? All that I've learned so far about Judaisn -- and specifically what I've seen in Chabad teachings -- indicate that it is recommended to have high self-expectations; to always set the bar very high and shoot for the sky.

How does that work with what you write here about no expectaions?

btw, thanks for the wonderful new blog. I really enjoyed reading all the posts. Keep up the great work! Reply

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