Hope and Expectation


After attending a meeting where the topic was hope, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between hope and expectations.

It is a fine line, in fact, some dictionary definitions of these words reference each other in their definitions:

hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

expectation: an attitude of expectancy or hope; anticipation.

As a person in recovery, these definitions are a bit disturbing. I believe that hope is good and necessary, however look at the definition. We are taught that “expectations are future resentments” and “desire is the root of all suffering”. These words cannot possibly be used in a definition of hope, I need something more.

I try to think of hope as a general feeling that things will work out, without attachment to a specific desired outcome. Expectations are a bastardized version of hope that are tied to a specific desired outcome, often placed upon other people, places, or things. I can work with that.

What are your definitions?

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About A Beast Within

Trying to find myself, battling alcoholism, and other personal demons. Sharing the journey. View all posts by A Beast Within

4 responses to “Hope and Expectation

  • sneakpeek2013

    Nice ! I discovered hope today, have a look.

  • mishedup

    Love your definitions.
    My expectations are always being dashed, as i guess they should be.
    And my expectations ALWAYS are on people, not on how a situation will play out. And where there are expectations there are invariably resentments…what a vicious cycle.

    But in recovery I have hope. Which is to me, grounded. Assurance that, if nothing else, things will be different.
    I can live with that, and I never have to make amends about what I hope for!

  • byebyebeer

    I agree with your definitions. Hope feels almost like an overall state of optimism and expectations more geared towards specific outcomes. I don’t think all expectations are bad, but having hope makes me feel peaceful and expectations often lead to frustration and disappointment. As MIshedUp points out, that’s probably because I’m trying to control what I can’t (other people).

  • carrythemessage

    Hope to me is tied to faith. Having faith in something brings me a true sense of hope. And having a true sense of hope gives me a sense that something positive will come, even if I don’t know what it will be. Having expectations about something gives me a sense of false hope, and/or ties me down to an outcome that I already have played out in my head. And that is what brings me to resentments.

    But for sure, your definitions are wonderful. Great post.

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