Thursday, June 4, 2009

Empath's Hopes & Expectations

"Hope for the Best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed."
~~Mel Brooks

What does this quote mean? And what does it have to do with being an Empath? It sounds really REALLY pessimistic, doesn't it? And yet it holds something you just might find you need one day. So lets start at the beginning.

The Definitions

1. to desire (something), usually with some possibility of fulfillment
2. to trust or believe

Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. Hopefulness is somewhat different from optimism in that hope is an emotional state, whereas optimism is a conclusion reached through a deliberate thought pattern that leads to a positive attitude.

1. the state of expecting or of being expected
2. something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for
3. belief that someone should behave in a particular way

Hoping for the best means that you desire/hope for an outcome that you perceive as the best ending to a situation. This takes on a very optimistic attitude because of faith in self, faith in others, and faith the situation at hand. To hope is to dream of future possiblities.

Expecting The Worst

Expecting the worst means that you prepare yourself, whether it is mentally and/or physically, for the inevitable possibility that the situation you are in will not go your way. In this context it might seem as though it takes on the aspect of a pessimistic attitude, but in reality it acts as a kind of buffer for the disappointment, anger, and resentment that will rise inside you, should the worst actually come into fruition.

Empaths With Expectations

Have you ever been in a friendship, a love relationship, or even a mentor/student relationship? Did you depend on your friends, even in the worst of times? Did they fail to live up to your expectations, which were that they give back in equal measure what you gave to them freely and full of love?

Each time this occurs to an Empath, or anyone else for that matter, it sets that person up for failure, because it chisels and erodes the Empath's ability to trust people. It also causes a deflation in self worth and self esteem through questions like 'What did I do to make them leave.', 'It must be my fault if they left', 'I must not have been worthy of their love/friendship', 'I am the garbage they must of thought I was to run away from me like that'.

Do you see it, its self defeating behavior based on the actions of those people we allow ourselves to get close to us. But its not their actions that are important, its the echo of those voice in your own head( which are you whispering in their voice) whispering a reminder of how worthless you truly are when you are about to succeed at something. This is what makes you pull back at the last minute and accept failure, because you can not see beyond the whispers telling you that you deserve no better.

What am I saying here? Is it to go and hide under your bed and be a recluse for the rest of your life? No. But if you stop holding expectations over others, based on what you so willingly give, and accept that humans are fallible creatures by their very nature, you will one day find that even the smallest of gestures, like someone acknowledging you with a smile and a nod or a hello, can brighten your day like nothing else you've experience before in your life.

Empaths With Hope

The Empath with hope, on the other hand, is always dreaming of the brighter things in life, because even as they hope and dream, they have no expectations of a specific outcome. Its kind of like buying one of those instant scratch off lottery tickets. One with expectation will expect to win lots of money and will then be angry, disappointed and resentful at not winning. While the person with hope, who also loves and dreams of the idea of winning, but has no real expectation of it. They are capable of taking such an endeavor in stride and enjoying the excitement and exhilaration of that moment when you scratch the card, so that when/if they lose, they can walk away with the pleasure they had in that single moment and live to dream another day. It could also be said that this type of person, if they actually did win, would appreciate the surprise of winning, as much as the prize, much more than a person with an expectation to win would.

Imagine being in a relationship where there are no expectations from both parties, thus no judgments rising out of either side. Instead there is hope that the man in the relationship will remember anniversaries and the wife will remember birthdays. Imagine how much less it would hurt, if that person forgot, simply because you held no expectations over his head that he would remember, but you hoped. And think how much more precious a gift would mean if he does remember, or if she remembers.

The Unrehearsed Play

The world is like an unrehearsed play, and yet, we still have the choice of how we will react based on whether or not you have expectations on others. There is no script but there is a choice at each bend in the road on how we will associate with others and how we will react to them.

To 'hope for the best' means that you want the best outcome possible, but you have no real expectation of it. And because of this, if you get something out of it, even if its not exactly what you wished for, it means all the more because you expected nothing to begin with.

In saying 'expect the worst', it does not mean to be pessimistic of about life or to stop trusting and opening your heart to people. It simply means that if you expect nothing in return for what you give, then the greatest joys in life will be the small kindnesses people offer up in thanks for your help, for your love, and for your support.

In writing this, I know how much easier it is for me to say, compared to anyone who chooses to implement it into their own lives. But it is well worth the effort. It changed the way I see the world and how I deal with people. It took the edge off being in crowds. And it eased my burden when it was growing so heavy I could barely walk beneath it. So think about it. ^_^

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