Expectations is one of the biggest reason why people face problems in their personal relationships. It makes us believe that our spouse, partner, relative, friend or children always need to act or think the way we want them to. When it is not met, we feel irritated, hurt and dejected. Over time such relations become suffocating, as the other person gets tired of fitting into frame set by us. We forget that every person is different and they cannot fit in our defined frame all the time.
A lot of time we also confuse love and expectations. We expect our loved ones to act and believe in what we want them to act or believe. It can be stifling if it is one sided. In case this behaviour prevails between two people from both sides, it generally ends up in a disaster. In reality, love means setting the other person free and giving him/ her your best without any expectations.
In Bahgvad Gita Sri Krishna talks about an ideal devotee. He states
अनपेक्ष: शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथ: |
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्त: स मे प्रिय: || (BG 12-16)
Those who have no expectations, who are externally and internally pure, skillful, without botheration, untroubled, (and free from selfishness) in all undertakings are dear to me.
Expectations not only burden someone from whom they are made but also create a burden on the person who is expecting. Both are weighed down under this burden. Both feel bad and sour in case expectations are not met.
For a peaceful life, we need to minimise our expectations from people around us. This will not only make them lighter and happier, more importantly, it will make us more peaceful. In absence of expectations, it will be very difficult for us to get emotionally hurt.
If we have mostly acted rigid in past, based on our thought process, and never reflected on above parlance, it will be very difficult initially to reduce expectations. It is a skill and has to be practiced everyday consciously till the time it becomes our habit. If we are not able to make it zero, even some reduction will make us feel more peaceful. To do this, we should strive towards doing things how others want them to or allow others to act independently. The moment we consciously do this, our selfish ego gets a direct hit and overtime start becoming weaker and weaker. Soon you will see that you will become more selfless.
Another change that you will soon notice is that people will start reciprocating to your way on their own. Ofcourse you are not expecting it but this will happen. Every stimuli is going to boomerang back to you, this is law of Karma. So conflict boomerangs back as conflict and selfless service comes back as support, peace and happiness. Over time you will notice that you are no longer affected or dependent on behaviour of other people. At the same time this will generate a lot of satisfaction for you and ultimately make you more peaceful.
The key to a successful relationship is to always striving to put other person on priority with a humble attitude and without burden of ego and expectations.