Today’s Daily Prompt is Expectation and I am certain it was chosen intentionally for this day. Valentine’s Day is loaded with ardent idealism. It is most definitely expected that couples will go on a romantic date and/or do something special for one another today.
The danger is when it turns into:
I Expect You to Do Something Special for Me Because It’s Valentine’s Day
Well, hold on a second. Is something ultimately special if it was expected? I mean, if someone gets me chocolates because that’s their “obligation” on Valentine’s Day, should that really make me feel like I am so special and loved, when the action was motivated at least partially by duty? And if my lover doesn’t fulfill my grandiose expectation of how Valentine’s Day is supposed to be, does that really warrant me to feel unloved and uncared for – discounting the relationship as a whole?
I’m not saying that lovers should just skip Valentine’s Day while wallowing in cynicism. Though Valentine’s Day is certainly not a required stipulation for such romantic instances and gestures, I do believe it is a nice opportunity to rekindle the romanticism that may have gotten drowned by the banality and stress of daily living. It’s just that maybe it doesn’t have to be such a big deal.
Maybe it’s the little things that are most special. Maybe going out to an expensive, fancy restaurant isn’t going to make you “feel the love” more than making homemade pizza together. High hopes or an expectation for exactly how something should/has to pan out kinda takes away from the actual experience. The pressure of expectation only serves to distract the mind because it’s always comparing the present moment to the ideal (expectation) rather than being open and fully immersed in the moment.
Life never pans out exactly the way our preconceived notions plot it out. There are always subtle factors influencing what happens and we are not in control of all of them.
Most of the fondest memories of my life were not pre-planned. There is no formula for peak experience. Sure, there are ingredients you can throw into the pot that, based on a recipe or previous experience cooking, will more likely make a delicious meal, but you can’t know how it turns out until the moment you actually taste it. I’ve had instances where I was so looking forward to something because I had every logical reason to believe it would be the BEST…and lo and behold the food was burnt so it didn’t matter how perfect the ingredients were. We’ve all been there.
It’s difficult to let go of expectations. Perhaps we are afraid that if we let go of our standards then we will just end up settling and being miserable. But maybe it is actually the expectations that are making us miserable. Conditional happiness is a carrot on a stick.
So, have a Happy Valentine’s Day, no matter what happens (or doesn’t happen).