Nurture Your Intentions, Not Your Expectations

06 April, 2021
Sometimes, you wait for things to happen the way you want them to, or to be treated the way you think you deserve. However, reality doesn't do what you want it to. It doesn't take your wants and desires into account. For this reason, instead of waiting for things to magically happen, go and seek out what you want and make it happen.

We’re all experts at building our own expectations. You create fictional realities that you frequently end up believing. After all, everyone fantasizes about their future. However, while thinking ahead is undoubtedly important, you need to consider how you do it. In fact, it’s far better to nurture your intentions than your expectations.

Of course, it’s much easier to invent all sorts of possibilities, tell stories, and build fantasies than to actually fulfill them. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself with a whole load of intentions. However, you might be unaware that, to actually achieve them, you need to both pay attention to them and nurture them. Because nothing grows unless it’s cultivated. In fact, throughout your life, you’ve probably had a tendency to gather up loads of possible intentions. However, all too often you just end up abandoning them.

Nurture your intentions

The problem lies in thinking that life should work the way you want it to. Furthermore, that others should treat you the way you feel you deserve. Then, when it doesn’t happen, you get angry and frustrated and put yourself through a lot of pain.

You should ask yourself what you wanted to happen and what actually happened. If you can answer this question, you’ll know what made you feel the way you did when everything seemed to collapse around you.

In fact, you’re actually a slave to your own desires and you probably don’t even realize it. You forget the facts and the need to nurture your intentions in order for them to become possible. Instead, you just wait for things to happen while life passes you by.

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”

 -Stephen Hawking-

A girl in a dreamlike picture.

A web of expectations

It all starts with a belief. A belief that you feed based on what you’ve learned and been taught. In fact, what you expect things should be like. It might concern your family, love, work, or yourself. Expectations are inevitable. However, it’s the extent to which you believe and cling to them that determines how you actually feel.

When overly high expectations clash with reality, they can cause a multitude of unpleasant emotions. These might be frustration, anger, sadness, or rage. Indeed, putting your trust in something you hope might happen comes at a high price. This doesn’t mean that expectations aren’t necessary, though. In fact, they can often motivate you and broaden your range of responses. Nevertheless, they can also be dangerous, depending on the power you give them. However, as long as they remain realistic, they can actually be good for you.

A cognitive trap

It’s risky to continually feed off expectations that are unrealistically high. For example, thinking that everything will always be okay, or that your relationship will always be perfect. Or that your friends will be loyal no matter what and you’ll be friends forever.

This is a cognitive trap that you fall into when you believe that you deserve the best. However, what you’re failing to realize here is that what seems to be perfect isn’t necessarily the best. In fact, the best is more likely to be what you’re striving and working for on a day-to-day basis, to achieve a happiness that’s as tangible as it’s genuine. In other words, not something that just feeds your imagination, but also nurtures your intentions, action, and learning.

The web of expectations can be very wide. You only have to think about how many times you do what you think others expect of you. Or how many times you get upset because others haven’t behaved the way you want them to.

Indeed, unhappiness and high expectations often go hand in hand. In fact, it’s best to keep in mind the well-known saying “Never expect anything from anyone except yourself”. That can be a great help in your day-to-day routines, but above all, in your relationships.

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”

 -Brendon Sanderson-

A sad girl, she needs to nurture her intentions.

Create your intentions, nurture them, and take action

If you’re continually waiting for what you want to happen, for others to treat you the way you want, to be valued at work, or for your partner to realize what you need, you’ll wait forever.

As a matter of fact, waiting without taking one step forward is a great way to stop yourself from going forward and connecting with others. Above all, it guarantees continued feelings of frustration.

Others around you aren’t fortune tellers. Circumstances don’t take your desires into account, and the rhythm of life doesn’t adapt to each and every one of us. While getting excited about the future as you gaze out of the window might be a nice exercise in reflection and imagination, that’s all it is. Nevertheless, it could be the beginning of something. But for it to grow you need to act on it, develop it, and nurture it. Only in this way will what you’re imagining become a reality, in time.

Once you have a clear goal in mind, you need a way of achieving it. You won’t get it if you don’t take the necessary steps. For this reason, you need to define what you want, work out how you’re going to get it, and take the appropriate action.

Don’t forget that nothing ever happens by magic. You need to add more wood to the fire of passion, or it goes out, and your car won’t go anywhere without any gas. Just don’t get too hung up on your expectations.

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.”

-Epictetus-