Trump should serve as a warning to all of us

I haven’t been even a little coy about my contempt for Donald Trump. He’s a tiny-handed, narcissistic, man-child still seeking his daddy’s approval and ruining our country in the process. But, he can do something positive for us. He can show us all how living a life filled with expectation leads to unhappiness.

It’s my belief that the happiest people are the people who have learned to live with no expectations. They don’t expect life to be easy, they just expect it to be what it is. Life isn’t fair. It’s not easy. It’s not filled with happiness all the time.

However, Trump and people like him expect that life will just unfold before him perfectly. I don’t know if it’s how he was raised (but I suspect so), but he acts like he expects everyone to just do what he wants them to. Like he’s what the world revolves around. He expects that his worldview should be or is the dominant worldview. He expects that money should get him whatever he wants. I mean, maybe it got him his wife, but I don’t think that’s working out for him as well as he expected it to.

And that’s the problem. Expectations rarely work out the way we think they will. We see things from our limited perspective, discounting the people around us, who all have their own motivations and expectations. We also can’t predict the world of larger events – things like natural disasters, the criminal or nasty intentions of others.

Our expectations also imply that we know what’s best on the grander scale. When we get focused on a set of ideas, and it blocks us from being able to see other possibilities. These possibilities could bring us rewards we never dreamed of because we couldn’t comprehend them, but we’ll never see them because expectations clouds our vision. It’s truly sad for us.

Because Trump has expectations, he acts out of fear that the expectations will not be fulfilled. Acting out of fear is rarely (I would say never) a good idea. It’s more short-sighted than allowing life to unfold, which means precluding a whole series of other potentialities. Fear is the greatest liar in our lives. Nothing cuts us down faster than fear.

And we can see what it’s doing to the United States. Fear leads to unrealistic nationalism, racism, homophobia, etc. It’s not the United States I love so much. It’s not a United States with possibility. It’s backward-looking and limiting. With our resources and population, we should be leading the world in science, technology, mathematics, economics, etc. But we’re not. Until our Dear Leader gets his head out of his ass, we’re going to continue to skid, out of control, backwards, to an era where equality was a dream.

Expectation isn’t your friend

Expectation is the root of most disappointment. I expected to be married right out of college. It didn’t happen and for years I was crushed by that. I spent hours and hours trying to figure out what was wrong with me that I wasn’t married yet. And then I met Mr. Lyndsy. Right out of college I wasn’t ready for what I have now. I wasn’t the person I needed to be to get married. I never expected my life to be what it is now, but I cannot express in words how grateful I am that I found Mr. Lyndsy and that our relationship is what it is.

It breaks my heart to see so many people I care about suffer because of expectation. They worry about the progression of their relationships because things aren’t happening as expected. The “right” Christmas gift isn’t gotten. It’s been two, three, or four years and there’s no engagement ring.

We get so focused on what we expect that we forget to look at what we have. All we see is what we don’t have. That perception of lack drives unhappiness and distorts our behavior. The people we care about may not have done anything to hurt us, but we lash out at them anyway.

We’ve created a situation of unhappiness for ourselves. Generally speaking it’s because we aren’t communicating well. So rather than getting an answer to the real problem, we’re stewing in our own shit. We assume the worst because we don’t give the people in our lives a chance to give us answers.

For more than a few people I know, engagement proposals didn’t come soon enough. It seemed like everyone around them was getting engaged, married, or having kids, and they were just chilling with a boyfriend who didn’t seem like he was ever going to do anything to take that next step.

My beautiful friends thought their boyfriends didn’t love them because they hadn’t gotten a ring yet. That was clearly not the case, or their boyfriends wouldn’t have been with them in the first place. All of those boyfriends had every intention of spending the rest of their lives with my friends. The men were just waiting for the right time to propose, some trying to meet their girlfriends’ dream proposals.

Panic set in for some, and their behavior told their boyfriends got a little dramatic. Instead of openly communicating with their boyfriends about their concerns about the future, they kept it bottled up. They were stressed for months for no reason.

If, instead of letting the pressure build, they had just had open conversations, their fears would have been alleviated so much more quickly and they would have been able to enjoy their relationships!*

Expectation is one of the reasons I didn’t love New Year’s Eve or the focus on the change of the year. I used to get so excited for NYE, expecting that the next year was going to bring me so many more wonderful things. Inevitably when the next year came around not much in my life had changed.

I suppose I should have realized that the flip of the calendar page isn’t what brings new and better things into my life. I should have known that it’s only me changing my mindset and working to achieve something different that will bring about the life I want to lead. It took me a long while to learn that the only behavior I can control is my own. I can decide whether I want someone else’s behavior to affect me, but I can’t affect a chance in how they treat me.

Expecting someone to behave a certain way or do a certain thing is a waste of time and energy. It’s not going to change who the person is. It’s not going to change how they behave. All expectation really does is show us what we think we want or what we think society wants for us.

We aren’t in relationships with expectations, we’re in them with people. I don’t want anyone else dropping their expectations on me. The only thing I want people to expect from me is that I will act authentically. That I will be who I am. I believe that’s why Mr. Lyndsy and I work so well. That’s really all he wants from me. It’s all I want from him.

The pressure of other people’s expectations can be overwhelming. I’m pretty sure my mom expected me to do something with my life other than what I’ve always done. For a long time I felt pressured to do and be what she expected. Until I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I was suffocating. I finally just had to be myself. As a result, I became a much happier person. I also got to experience things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve lived in places I never thought I would. Met people who have touched my life and made me a better person.

I try not to expect things from people or situations anymore. They are what they are. If I don’t like what’s going on, I leave. I can’t change them or the situation. I can just take myself out of the equation.

When I find myself having expectations, I work to get to the root of the situation. Usually the real root of the problem is fear. I’m afraid someone doesn’t care about me like I want them to, I’m afraid I won’t get something I feel I need or something I want. Once I realize that fear is the culprit, I can work to address that, rather than getting all bent out of shape at someone who hasn’t actually done anything wrong. My stress level goes down and harmony is restored.

How would losing expectations help you in your life?

*This all made me insane since I was single for so much of this time. I wondered how my friends could be so upset when they had a partner who clearly loved them, and I was sitting in my apartment, talking to my guinea pig!