What is expected?

The world we live in today has expectations on everybody and everything. And by world I mean society as the collective being. People as the members of this society carry these expectations. Expectations set what is "normal". If you act accordingly to these expectations, you are a good members of the society. If you dare to rebel, you are perceived as weird, someone who doesn't belong to the group or doesn't understand how things work, or even stupid.

These expectations are ingrained in us. We have been receiving messages about how to behave and what is the right thing to do since we were born. At home, from friends and relatives, at school and other institutions where there are people. During growing up we've received thousands and thousands of this kind of messages, that we perceive this as truth. We often don't question it. We know that sky is blue, we can see it. We also know how you're supposed to dress when going to the wedding or work. We know that you should study hard and get a safe job. We know you have to strive towards a great career and a fancy title. We know we should aim to live a comfortable life by financial terms; it might even be the goal. Its what is expected from us.

Very often the value system we carry and expectations we follow were not chosen by us. Most likely it was determined already before you were born. It was decided before my birth that I will not be a muslim. It was decided that the first language Im gonna speak is estonian.
When we grow up, we accept the information and value system that is being communicated to us by the society (family, friends, school, tv and other forms of mass media etc). The acceptance to this information becomes so strong, we don't even question it. We might not even be aware that we follow a certain code of expectations.

People live their lives according to these expectations benchmark with each other. Be it the amount of money you're making, the size of your house, clothes you wear, your position in your company and so on. How well are you measuring up to the expectations the society sets upon you? If you are doing poorly, people can regards you as lazy, not smart enough, weird. You get punished. If you measure up well, you get rewarded. People like to get rewarded and don't like to be punished.

I'm not saying that everybody in the society follows the same expectations. Not at all. Society has different sub-gruops. Yes, there is the money-oriented subgroup that measures you by how much wealth you have - I think that is the most common, the biggest sub-group.

There is also the green sub-group, which sets different kind of expectations. Do you eat organic food? How many times a week? Are your curtains hand-woven in some non-sweatshop and made out of organic materials? How often do you do yoga or open up your chakras?

The number of possible small sub-groups is endless. Gang of thugs have another set of expectations. Members of very religious groups compete with each other who is more pious and a better christian (or whatever).

I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Its just the way things are and following some particular set can be noble and good.

If you don't belong to any sub-group, don't match with any of the expectations, you are a rebel and don't belong to the group. On the other hand if the number of rebels with similar value system and behaviour grows big enough, a new sub-group is formed and expectations follow its members.

I think it is important to understand which expectations do you follow. If you go after the rewards by blindly following a set of expectations, it might not be very healthy. Is it really that important to live according to these expectations? Does it matter in the end?

I know people that want to be like everybody else. I also know people who want to be different, rebels. Both kind of people can be very nice. I think what matters the most is that you are at peace with the decision you made.

You might wanna evaluate the set of expectations you follow - perhaps you want to make some changes. We don't want to feel empty and discover on the way that we have wasted a part of our life pursuing something that is not worth much.

The race is long and in the end its only with yourself, as somebody once said.


Martin-√Čric said...

This was one of your deepest post in a long time. I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I think that very few people realize that they spend all their life trying to fit an ideal that seldom represents anything they beleive in. The majority only realizes that at what is typically called "the midle-age crisis".

Peep said...

Thanks for your comment! I agree with what you said. And this "middle-age crisis" is often perceived as a rather negative thing, abnormal. Like it's weird to questions things in your life.