The women’s majlis: Expecting perfection in life needs a rethink

A wise person once said: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” They had the secret to life summed up in seven words.

A wise person once said: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” They had the secret to life summed up in seven words. What hurts us most is when our anticipations are drowned, when our expectations haven’t been met.

For example, a childhood wasted on broken promises: when a child believes that you will stick to your word, to take them somewhere or buy them something, and you end up not meeting the expectations that the child has built based upon their belief in your word.  

We all have expectations, big or small, and we end up building our dreams and planning our futures on their basis. The thing about expectations is that whether you build them yourself or you build them based on the words or actions of the people surrounding you, you end up mentally conjuring a fast track for a Ferrari ride to the boulevard of a broken heart. 

We can tell from the people around us, as well as from research, that the rate of couples getting divorced keeps on increasing. One of the reasons that this happens is unrealistic expectation. Being a woman in the UAE, we’ve all heard the famous line that our parents repeat over and over as an answer to every question or initiative we have in life: “You can do that when you’re married” or “Ask your husband when you’re married”. As a result, this builds unrealistic expectations in most of our women, and divorce happens when those expectations aren’t met. This also applies to men, but in different contexts and for different reasons as well.

The only way around this is to take a step back and relax. What is meant to happen will happen. Don’t wait around expecting. Our expectations shouldn’t contradict reality. We can’t change reality, but we can change the perfect image framed in our minds. The problem that we have with that image is that when reality takes its course, it ends up not fitting into that framework, so we throw away what’s real for an image that’s partially ­fiction.

Both men and women nowadays have a specific image of the person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. That person has a certain personality, look, figure ... basically a certain everything. But no one in this world has that certain everything. They end up disregarding every person that might or might not be that “meant-to-be” person, because of that. No one is going to perfectly fit your frame in reality, because it simply doesn’t exist, and if you think they do, then there’s something in them that you’re ignorant of but will end up realising sooner or later. Some regard this as settling for less, but in reality, you’re not settling for less; you’re settling for what’s real.

The only expectations that we should keep are those that we have of giving. It doesn’t hurt to give. What we should change are the expectations we have of what we will receive in ­return.  

We need to develop the ability to differentiate between reality and fiction or fantasy. A wake-up call is in order. We can’t bring a change to the real world if we aren’t really living there.

Shamma Al Suwaidi is a 23-year-old graduate with a business bachelor’s degree and is currently doing her master’s in international business law and diplomacy at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University.

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Published: May 8, 2014 04:00 AM


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