Are You The Mule of Expectations?

Jaibala/ September 26, 2015/ Musings/ 18 comments

If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”
― Jodi Picoult

We have all at some point of our lives pandered to expectations, other people’s and our own born out of what others expect out of us. It’s like a whole load of it waiting out there waiting to dump itself on someone foolish enough to carry the load. We have to deal with these best intentions of people most of the times from the day we are born. For a person born without any expectations that is a pretty big idea to deal with, our parents expectations.

If we survive the first few years without being shackled by a whole barrage of beliefs, it will soon be drilled into our heads, and we would all have the society to thank for that. And soon enough we learn to play this game, the ‘Please All Game’. Cajoling, satisfying and pleasing expectations not only bogs us down with the heavy haul, it also shatters any hope and dream we have left and reduces us to shamed minions of the fickle kind, leaving us beaten, lost and unsure.

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
― Paulo Coelho

So true is this line from the Alchemist. Paulo Coelho is one person who knows what he is talking about. I am a huge fan of his work. Look around us and see what we have done to ourselves, our relationships. The best kind are where we realise that we cannot goad, shame and force people into pleasing us all the while.

As easy as it may be to say, believe me I have had my faults to. I have expected and been disappointed, trusted and made to work towards pleasing a person’s ego based on that trust, and eventually erupted and spewed lava all around me obliterating relationships in its wake. Wow feels so good to admit that! But I digress, what I am trying to say is that the easiest thing is to be free and live free of expectations.

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” ― Donald Miller Click To Tweet

Liking people for who they are, eventually works out in our favour. That is when relationships go beyond truth and lies, good and bad, need and ego. Ultimately you decide who, what and when you want to please, and I think that person 99% of the times should be yourself. The answers to what you should and should not do all lie within you. You are not a Mule of Expectations, so don’t treat yourself like one.

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to… Click To Tweet

So go on tell me how high are your expectations, of yourself and others? How hard do you strive to achieve them?
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About Jaibala

Academically a Microbiologist, I am a Web Columnist for popular magazines and websites, Freelance Writer and a Blogger. Words define me and writing and reading compete to be the love of my life. My biggest belief is that there is something good in everything and I always looks to highlight the best in things. Creative writing is my forte.You can reach me by dropping a mail at


  1. Pleasing one and all an only keep us busy while others are happy. But there will come a time when we end up cursing ourselves for having wasted our lives on unimportant people and trying to please them. The faster we learn this lesson, the sooner we are able to find happiness.

    1. true that Rekha, and so well said. Our happiness lies in us being happy, not in pleasing one and all. So simple, yet not.

  2. Be strict with yourself, be lenient with others.

    This is one of the philosophies I live life by. But I have noticed that most of us have it the other way round. It’s important to demand highly of oneself. Only when we do that can we ever expect someone else to be better versions of themselves.

    And then comes the point of unconditional love – I love you for who you are, not for who I want you to be. – Difficult to practice, but important.

    1. I agree in that we should be strict with ourselves to achieve our best, and then we can expect everyone to be better versions of themselves. The standards to measure that though should be the individuals own, not anyone elses. That is when unconditional love can be possible. I feel the two are connected to each other, because it works the other way round too. Because I love unconditionally, I expect you to be the best version of you, not the best version I think you should be” Again Like you said, difficult to practice, but really important to do so.

  3. I have tried to meet the expectations of others and failed miserably. I couldnt do it simply because my heart was not in it. Good post.

    1. Thanks Lata. I know that feeling, it makes you feel and think less of your self every time you don’t meet someone’s expectation. That is when I decided to stop, when I realised that these expectations are not a measure of me.

  4. I think I am quite harsh on myself. I have a bunch of expectations from me. And then from my loved ones to be good human beings, not really in terms of success or money. In general, with others I expect decency and basic etiquette. Lovely quotes, Jaibala.
    Rachna recently posted…The Power of TouchMy Profile

    1. The only expectations that are worth having are the ones from yourself. As for others I have learned to not expect, maybe I was disappointed way too many times. I think you only control what you can do, so I draw the line of expectations there. As far as decency and basic etiquette are also so hard to find these days, but yes I do expect that.

  5. I love Paolo Coelho too, some good life wisdom:-) I feel sometimes, the less we expect, the less disappointed we get… Let it come whatever will come… Great post:-)
    Eli recently posted…Live your lifeMy Profile

    1. Live life in the moment and there is always something to look forward to. Thanks for reading Eli 🙂

  6. When it comes to me, I have no expectations at all. I find it easier to live that way. When it comes to others, i do expect basic stuff and niceties – such as courtesy and manners – but what they achieve or not, is entirely upto them. I’ll be there if they need me though – sometimes as support, other times as a silent competitor egging them to do better 🙂
    Sid recently posted…Airports, an Award and a breakMy Profile

    1. It is better to not expect rather than be disappointed. Especially when you don’t even get the basic – being nice to each other. I do agree about each one making their own achievements. and it is always great to have someone egging you on.

  7. I am not a very huge fan of Paulo Coelho, but these quotes looks like what I needed for the day. And I am glad that I hopped over to your blog Jaibala..
    They say, people like you for not being too perfect for them to handle..! And expectations! If only people stop expecting anything from others!

    Geets recently posted…#Friday Reflections- 99 Things I LoveMy Profile

    1. Geetika, I am so happy that my post could help. I like the way you put it “People like you for not being too perfect for them to handle”, So true that is. I agree people need to expect things for themselves rather than others.

  8. I have a varied set of friends and I love them for who they are. Mostly cos they let me be who I am. I do not expect them to change for me and I get to be who I am. Expectations are there but I try to keep them under check even with close people like spouse and parents. Sometimes, it is hard but it keeps me going.
    Great post to ponder Jaibala.
    Parul recently posted…Sunday Punch #42My Profile

    1. I agree keeping expectations out of relationships, especially the close ones that matter is really hard. Glad you can find a balance though 🙂

  9. Expectations are always there. I think it is when others expectations of our life are overwhelming our own that our life seems to wilt a little. As for expectations of perfection, that quote you’ve shared is beautiful.

    1. True Vins, Its so hard to not expect or not be expected of, na. I Feel we just need to filter out the noise. What matters are our filters.

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