The Gravity of Expectations
For reasons peculiar to me, the explanations of how gravity warps spacetime struck me as remarkably similar to how I’ve understood expectations to distort my view of reality. Bear with me:
Expectations… they’re like gravitational waves… bending and distorting spacetime according to the mass of the relationship they encounter. It seems that every body exerts an influence on every other body they’re in contact with. Mental and emotional distortions are not dependent upon physical proximity. We are tugged and pulled at… as we ourselves tug and pull at others within our spacetime continuum.
A stranger choosing to sit next to me in the subway expects me to move my foot slightly to accommodate their access. I expect them to watch out for my foot. Space and time become momentarily distorted. For a fraction of a second, we both behave as if this really matters.
My daughter expects me to have a ‘talk’ with her when she brings home a poor report card from school. I expect her to have a ton of reasons that won’t sound valid to me. Space and time warp this into a crises because I’ve come into her ‘room’ and want to get this over with quickly.
Two people who marry usually have the expectation of fidelity. If that expectation isn’t met, the union can collapse and create a black hole that distorts and traps all other emotions and relationships into a negative and lightless void.
Gravity influences more than just the motions of objects. Expectations influence more than just the emotions of people. The more mass of the object, the stronger its gravitational field and the more it warps spacetime. The more levels of expectation, the stronger the force behind them and the more they warp our perceptions.
And without belaboring the similarities any further, the truth is that most of us have yet to internalize (grasp), not the science behind these discoveries, but the implications and impact that they would have on our world view if we did. Most of us still hold on to what we were taught; a reductionist, Newtonian concept of the ‘outside’ universe wherein there were fundamental building blocks of particles and set laws that they obeyed. These were simpler notions, advanced notions for their day, that we could devise proofs for. Yet, they were incorrect, incomplete and misleading.
We have many outdated and misleading notions about ourselves still. Habits are one of them. Expectations are another. We still believe that having expectations in our relationships is OK, as long as they are reasonable. As you may already have realized, reasonable is a relative term. It’s a ready made argument just waiting to happen. Simply sprinkle a little bad mood onto it and watch it explode. So regardless of their reasonableness, all expectations have the effect of corralling us towards certain behaviors or responses. We eventually resent this. We usually come out sideways when we do.
Our expectations, unacknowledged and unspoken as they typically are, continually exert their influence in our relationships. By not considering or addressing their existence consciously, we often miscalculate where a given conversation or relationship is actually going. Our expectations distort reality or, more frequently, we warp reality to fit our expectations. The result is suffering in the form of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and frequent arguments.
Originally published: https://owningourselves.com/the-gravity-of-expectations/