Early one morning I was dreaming about two random people I have never seen having a discussion after a high school English class. The teacher was a young, frumpy lady wearing an amorphous green muumuu-like dress. The student was essentially the same, but younger. The girl was having trouble finishing any writing assignments in class. After some prodding from the teacher, the girl shared that she wasn’t allowed to write about what she wanted because people wouldn’t like it, and they would make fun of her.
The teacher sighed and sloughed down into a chair next to the girl. Then she shared a similar story how she has wanted to write a book her whole life, but she felt that no one wanted to read a book written by a woman like her.
As I watched this scene unfold, a quote materialized, and as if I was watching television, a torn strip of old parchment scrolled through my vision like a marquee screen. Written fluidly with a quill, I read the following words in black ink,
“Society isn’t stopping us from doing anything. Only our perception of what society expects us to do keeps us from accepting the possibility of our dreams as reality.”
As I read this quote, the scene behind it dissolved into a deep green curtain, and the quote echoed in my mind. I slowly realized I was waking up from a dream, and listened as a voice resounded the quote again. I sat up in my bed, checking my clock to see it was 359am, one minute before my alarm was to go off. I slinked beneath my mosquito net, grabbed my journal laying on my bed stand, and quickly scribbled down the quote as my dream faded.
A few years ago, I was sharing some thoughts about life with a close friend. While we were chatting, I remember writing to him a thought of mine stating expectations are poison. I feel that the emergence of this quote in my dreams brings about an evolution of this original view regarding the potential negative effect of expectations.
Expectations about the way we want events in our life to unfold poison the potential of enjoying the reality of each moment before us. Rather, perhaps it is our connection to our expectations that bring about pain. It is ok to expect a certain outcome of an event, but to become attached to this outcome, something that isn’t even real yet, what use is that? Perhaps only once we have ceased to expect desirable (expected) outcomes can we accept each moment as it comes. Void of such expectations we begin to live in the reality of each moment, and I feel only then do we truly begin to live.
This quote suggests that the expectations with which society weighs us down impose a sense of self-denial on our daily life. Our perspective of society poisons our mind into believing that while we have freedom of choice in our life, we still have guidelines that society expects us to follow. These pervasive expectations of our society can easily make us forget that dreams are the impetus for change in this world. Unhappiness comes from the faulty belief that we cannot turn our dreams into reality. Do not let your perception of what society expects of you keep you from bringing change about in this world.