Expectations, Hope and Assumptions

“You have got to have hope. But maybe you must learn, and it is hard learning, not to hope out loud … You must not let your hope turn into expectation.” – Wendell Berry

When we become attached to a particular outcome, we expect a certain result, this however, can be out of our control. When something is outside our control, there is the possibility that our expectations are unmet. It is normal to have certain expectations; these are generally acquired from our life experiences and relationships. When our expectations are unmet, we can feel frustration, anger or a sense of disregard.

When a person fails to satisfy our expectations we can ask ourselves:

  1. Was the other person aware of our expectation?
  2. Had the other person the power to meet our expectation?

When we assume, we convert our own beliefs and perceptions and generalise the world around us. We gain a sense of how the world should be. This can lead to disappointment when our assumptions prove to be untrue. It is normal to make assumptions; however, it can be misleading to make assumptions of other people’s actions and intentions.

When a person fails to meet our assumptions, we can ask ourselves:

  1. What is/was your understanding of the situation/task?
  2. What did/do you want to achieve?

Hope is different. Although when we transform hope into an expectation, we can set ourselves up for disappointment. On the other hand, if we let go of hope, we prevent ourselves from believing that there is good in the world.

Understanding different perceptions can be key to resolving conflict. Being open to other people’s viewpoint and opinions and accepting that everyone may perceive a situation differently helps us to envisage a more rational outcome.