Expectation vs reality. It’s a matter of what we think we see or what we want to see. It’s what we expect to see versus what we really see.
I walked in my kitchen to throw away some trash, and I stopped in my tracks. There it was. A HUGE, TERRIFYING…bug?
I know myself well enough by now (thank goodness) that I no longer jump back in sheer terror if I THINK I see a bug. Since I wasn’t wearing my glasses or contacts when I walked into the kitchen, I knew I had a 50/50 chance of getting freaked out over nothing.
I paused, turned around, and grabbed my glasses. That felt a little more sensible than immediately jumping back and calling an exterminator.
The mysterious object looked like a big, motionless ant once I got a clearer look. I thought it was some strangely-shaped spider threatening to hold me up while I emptied my trash.
Once I put my glasses on, I quickly saw it was neither an ant nor a spider. It was a huge piece of FUZZ. That big, scary thought immediately vanished. My heart rate went back to normal. I felt relieved, but it made me take a step back to think about it.
Our minds can easily paint an exaggerated picture (cue the giant imaginary bug). Or, we can learn to be patient, wait until we have ALL the information (in this case putting my glasses on) to see everything clearly, and then understand the situation to make a rational judgment.
Expectation vs reality can also mean we expect or even go as far to assume a certain outcome will happen. In reality, the situation might go in a completely different direction than what we thought.
Expectation vs Reality
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “expect” means to anticipate an occurrence, to consider it probable, and to consider it reasonable. However, we may not always be reasonable with our expectations!
“Reality” is “…the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.” Reality either affirms an expectation depending on how reasonable it is, or reality laughs in expectation’s face.
“(500) Days of Summer” provides a creative presentation of the expectation vs reality concept. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tom, a hopeless romantic. Zooey Deschanel plays Summer, a not-so-romantic at first.
We get a side by side look at Tom’s expectations and realities when at Summer’s party. He expects to have a great time with her and to be romantic with her. Tom also expects Summer to greet him warmly and spend some quality time with her. But reality quickly kicks in.
Summer welcomes him as an acquaintance, like she would welcome any other guest at the party. Tom and Summer don’t chat alone. They don’t share romantic moments at the party, and unfortunately Tom’s expectations are shattered by a harsh reality.
Expectation vs reality can be tricky. We should set realistic expectations so we’re not disappointed if it doesn’t work out. We should also take a step back if it’s a situation like the mysterious kitchen fuzz. Evaluate the situation before we react. Set realistic expectations. Don’t worry or make something out of nothing, and learn to laugh about it!