Question of the Day – No. 342

How do you challenge your reasoning behind a negative expectation?

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26 thoughts on “Question of the Day – No. 342

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    1. Awesome! Today I’ve listened to Robert Greene to (hopefully) pick up some of his wisdom and I’ve heard him saying that his current condition is somehow positive (he had a stroke and he has difficulties coordinating his left side). If such an illness can be seen as positive, I guess that an potential outcome can somehow be seen as positive as well.

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  1. That is a good one! For me, The negative expectation comes from the insanity cycle. And when things are consistently the same I put myself in that rut to expect the negative response-I have to stop and remind myself that while this situation is similar to others it has not happened yet. And I have to take one moment at a time.

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  2. Why is the expectation a negative to begin with? What creates it as a negative? Our minds? How we look at it? If it’s a challenge is it not a positive anyway because we get to have that experience & learn something new? Hence we grow and evolve. Do we create negative expectations because we fear the unknown? We have no control? Is the expectations negative because we don’t have enough belief in ourselves or others? Why live with expectations at all? No expectations, no disappointments. But then aren’t expectations similar to our standards…. and we all desire to have our standards met, so would you not face expectations with the same frame of mind?

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    1. We probably have expectations because we fear the unknown or because we have some hurtful core beliefs (together with a low self esteem) that will create negative scenarios. Since the unknown makes everything possible, it’s easier for us to create negative expectations because of those negative core beliefs which are a bunch of strongly interconnected neurons. We need to counter them so in time those expectations can go away…

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    1. Sure! Let’s say you set up a meeting with one of your friends and in the very last minute that friend texts you that he/she cannot attend anymore without giving some clear reason. Let’s say that in that moment, your mind assumes that he/she is just not in the mood of getting in touch with you or that he/she has something more important to do and these thoughts make you think you’re not important enough for that person and you start feeling bad. The question is: do you challenge this assumption in any way? If yes, how?

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      1. Thank you for the example. Generally speaking, our thought works based on our assumptions. The moment my thought assumes “I’m not important enough for the friend” it starts triggering all the other so-called “bad thought” which I’m already conditioned with since the beginning. These triggered chain of thoughts are not just thoughts (mental images) but an amalgamation of physical as well as emotional entities inextricably intertwined with the originally assumed thought. Due to this I (loaded with my assumptions) together with my bodily reaction and emotional feeling am disposed to react or display certain behavior (call it bad if you will). It all happens so fast that we barely see the process and are left to deal with the consequences (in this case feeling bad).

        Now to your question. You are spot on to ask the question “do you challenge this assumption in any way?”. By challenging the assumption do you mean burdening or imposing my thought with another set of assumption (in this case not feeling bad)? In that case I will inevitably invite conflict of assumptions. When I said our thought works based on assumption that doesn’t mean we can easily replace the old assumption with a new one. It sure is not that easy I guess.

        Another way to challenge this assumption is to suspend it and not act upon it. By doing this I would be able (to certain extent) to stop that chain of thought (I was talking about earlier) triggering my by body, brain chemicals and emotions to behave in a certain way. I’m sure suspending my assumption would require great deal of attention. However, if lucky, I might be able to see how my assumptions (I’m not important enough for the friend) and not the actual event (in the very last minute that friend texts you that he/she cannot attend anymore without giving some clear reason) was responsible for me to be angry or cultivate negative or bad thought. Thank you:)

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      2. Thank you for this awesome comment! Yes, it would be great if we are able to see how an assumption triggers the emotion or the negative thought process, but the thing is that once the emotions take over, it’s harder to become aware of the process…

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      3. Exactly! It is quite tough to suspend the assumptions and observe them in literal sense. Let’s see, a friend of mine keeps me waiting at a restaurant for an hour. When s/he shows up, I angrily react (based on my assumption; “you certainly do not value my time”). A moment later s/he explains that the train was late and everyone was stuck inside the tunnel. My anger disappears (based on my assumption; “it was not your fault”). Assumption and emotion are closely tied together and respond even faster. If we just flow with them, it is certainly hard to be aware of the process. But if we try harder, it is possible to suspend your thought in action and look at the assumptions it carries. Guess what happens when a few days later I come to know that s/he was lying about getting stuck inside the tunnel:))

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  3. Assuming that “negative expectation” means an expectation of something bad, one thing we can do is examine whether the reasoning behind that expectation is actually reasonable. A lot of times, I think, we expect something bad because we fear it: fearing makes us imagine it happening, and then because we imagine it happening, it starts to seem like it’s likely to happen. But it might not be likely; we may be conjecturing blindly.

    Of course if it really is likely to happen, I sometimes try to find the opportunity in it. Instead of challenging the reasoning that the bad thing will happen, this is a way of challenging your reasoning that the thing necessarily is bad. Maybe what I’m saying is similar to what Eugenio Zorrilla said about finding how the scenario could be made positive/desired. Sometimes though, the opportunity can simply be to practice handling something difficult as appropriately as you can manage.

    I also like to remember something Mithrandir says, possibly to Frodo (it’s been a long time since I’ve read or watched LOTR): he says something along the lines of “Even the wise do not see all ends,” i.e. we don’t know how things will turn out in the big picture.

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    1. Thank you for this awesome comment! So you try to challenge the reasoning behind that negative expectation and if it’s not possible, you try to challenge the meaning of it. Just because something seems to be negative in the first place, it might actually end up very positive.

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    1. I definitely need to work on my wording. My question here is: if you have some negative expectations, what do you do to make sure the reasoning that led to those expectations have some real truth in them or it only comes from your mind?

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