“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope
Everyone of us expect certain things in life. Some expect good jobs and salaries, some expect gorgeous spouses and some expect to live happily ever after.
For the lucky few, they would probably get what they expected but for some, it's just sheer disappointment.
Similarly with people. We tend to expect that people would behave in certain way or manner and when our expectations are not met, we get extremely disappointed.
Let me give you an example, when we do something good for someone or if we helped a person in need, we would expect that this person to be grateful and thanked us but when she or he doesn't, we get visibly upset. Similarly when we do something for families or friends, we expect that they would reciprocate in kind but more often than not, they don't and that leaves us feeling utterly devastated and in murderous mood!
Well, I'm no different. I too had expectations on how people should behave and often I get hurt when my good intentions or acts went unappreciated. The problem lies in 'expectations'
Once upon a time ago, I was babbling on to the Wise Owl about my hurt and disappointments and how some people can be so ungrateful. The Wise Owl looked at me calmly and said, "Sister, I think you need to re-check your intentions". I looked at him in confusion. "Errm.. What do you mean? My intentions were to do good, so where did I go wrong?". I asked whilst squinting my eyes. I was getting a little bit defensive.
The Wise Owl smiled and replied, "Yes, your intentions were to do good, which is noble but sis, you were doing it to please others. That's why you got disappointed when they didn't react in kind. Try this. Try doing everything for the sake of God Al Mighty and to please Him ALONE. You will find that when you do that, you will get the satisfaction regardless of how the recipient of your deeds reacts. Whether they thanked you or not, becomes irrelevant because your expectations are not from them but for the rewards from Allah SWT. Don't expect anything from human because they will disappoint you. Just be content that you are doing it for God's sake".
It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs 'Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say:
"Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for."
Related by Bukhari & Muslim
Errrrr...Ouch! Talk about slap on the face! As much as I hate to admit it, what the Wise Owl said is completely true. If I had set my intentions correctly, I wouldn't be complaining in the first place.
So moral of the story is, never to have expectations from fellow human beings. More often than not, they will not meet your expectations and that can jeopardise the relationship between friends and even families. Some people are just difficult to please so don't even bother. Do everything for the sake of God Al Mighty and be assured that He won't disappoint you or let you down.
Rasūlullah SAW said, “Allah said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. If he comes to Me walking, I go to him hastily.
Sahīh al-Bukhāri [121:9 #7405]