If you are facing disappointment in relationships, or know someone who seems to suffer consistent disappointment, then read this as it might help. This is simple and powerful. It’s called the “Hope-Expect Paradigm”.

The Hope-Expect Paradigm can be reconfigured to fit where you are at this moment in life… You can use it to get a handle on how you go about relationships without being set up for disappointment with them. These relationships include the one you have with other people, or even your own relationship with this amazing journey called “life”.

The Short Version

The Hope-Expect Paradigm comes in  two versions. Here is a brief explanation of both.

  • Version 1: If you are living in the most basic of survival circumstances, and you want to avoid disappointment in your relationships with other people (or your life for that matter), then:

It’s okay to hope for something. But it’s not okay to expect it to come. Do not expect anything. Just keep up a good attitude and hope for it.

  • Version 2: If you live with some confidence that things are going well for you, and you want to avoid disappointment in your relationships with other people (or your life), then:

It’s okay to hope. And it’s generally okay to expect things that seem to be reliable. Keep hoping. Go ahead and count on people or things that seem reliable, but don’t lean on them too hard.

Read on for some further explanation.

Real-Life Context: Disappointment in a Relationship

I spoke recently with my friend Dave, who expressed his disappointment in a mutual acquaintance of ours, Carole. Despite Dave’s honest attempts at expressing goodwill to Carole, she wasn’t reciprocating. Like Dave, I’ve known Carole for years. But I seem to enjoy a different kind of relationship with her. We speak infrequently, but when we do, it’s a pleasant and sometimes even joyful. Because of Carole’s different upbringing, she and I do not agree on certain things, but that’s okay with me.

While “chemistry” is definitely a real factor to consider in any relationship, how chemistry works into a relationship is difficult to discuss – let alone measure. Without going into further detail, I think part of the reason for my “success” (I don’t think of it this way) with Carole has to do with the level of expectation I hold toward her. My expectations are… nil – nothing – zippo. That’s right. I expect virtually nothing from her, and now I’ll say why.

But first, some background.

Hardship Brings a Ripeness for Growth

In the early part of my life I suffered at the winds of circumstance, at the hands of other people (some of whom definitely had well-meant intentions) who wronged me, and I eventually suffered an overall disappointment with life in general. I wallowed in this suffering for years, for as long as I could bear it. But then came the day when I knew I had to do something about it – to get out of this hole I had dug. Indeed I had dug this hole, and only I could help myself out.


Driven by the sharp pain of disillusion, I began to realize that my disappointment with other people, myself, and even life itself, stemmed from the fact that I had some unrealistic expectations. I went into pretty much any relationship expecting something in return.

I also came to realize that by “walking in fully armed” these up-front expectations, I was limiting the scope of interaction that I could have with the people I was dealing with. Even worse, it was pervasive. I was severely limiting the experience I was going to havewith my life in general. I was completely and utterly set up for disappointment. And I certainly got what I deserved.

So in a positive light, what about getting good things I deserved? After all, I could work hard and do a good job at something once I set my sights on it. How could I set up a great attitude when starting out on an endeavor, yet somehow not set myself up for self-sabotage?

I began to see that I had to find a balance in the way I conducted myself with others, let alone how I conducted this relationship with life itself.

The Hope-Expect Paradigm – Survival Mode

Over time a concept formulated within my mind. It brought about the resolution between unrealistic expectations and self-sabotage. I called it the “Hope-Expect Paradigm”. In simplest words, and in its first version – what I call the ‘survival mode’ version:

It’s okay to hope for something. But it’s not okay to expect it to come.

What this statement means is that for the sake of going into something with a good attitude as an attempt to make it work out well, it’s absolutely allowable to have hope. By not expecting something to work out at all, you will not be set up for disappointment. On the one hand, you go into something with a positive attitude, but your attitude is tempered, somewhat reserved, so that you are prepared for a possible non-outcome, or negative outcome.

To equate this paradigm to the Bob and Carole relationship I mentioned previously: Bob should be really positive in his communication with Carole. But on the chance he doesn’t receive what he was hoping for, he won’t be disappointed when the train doesn’t arrive – because he ultimately didn’t expect anything from Carole anyway.

Note: For people who are attuned to interpreting things within the human energeticchakra system, the “Hope-Expect Paradigm – Survival Mode” equates to the first chakra (root chakra, hindi: Muladhara), which is usually associated with primal instinct and survival – just getting by in life.

The Hope-Expect Paradigm – Higher Confidence Mode

In the most dire and drastic of conditions, perhaps the above survival version is a good guideline. However, over time I saw that this was still a little bit unrealistic. Unrealistic because once one gets beyond survival mode, things build up and get better – they even become easy. You start associating with people of higher caliber. You intend good things to happen, and they actually do.

With a reliably history of success about certain things, you can start safely assuming things will be there for you when you need them. So the original survival concept was surpassed, and it needs adjustment. Here’s what I got – the ‘higher confidence mode’ version of the paradigm:

It’s okay to hope. And it’s generally okay to expect things that seem to be reliable.

What this means is that if you see a history of things happening your way, then it’s generally safe to expect they will continue in your favor.

To equate this paradigm to the Bob and Carole relationship: Bob has started to get a favorable reaction from Carole. For example, Carole agrees to engage in conversation with Bob and actually starts to get into it, maybe even get emotionally involved at some level. After a few successful conversation with Carole, Bob crosses a threshold where he can start expecting Carole to engage with him at a certain level.

Notice in this version of the Hope-Expect Paradigm, the word “generally” appears. Use this word to remain flexible, just in case. For example, maybe at some point Carole decides to break off her interaction with Bob. (As they say, sh** happens!) By keeping his attitude for expectation the tiniest bit in check, Bob will still pretty much avoid disappointment, or at least minimize any pain he may suffer if things go awry.

Note: For people who are attuned to interpreting things within the human energetic chakra system, the “Hope-Expect Paradigm – Higher Confidence Mode” equates to the second chakra (sacral chakra, hindi: Svadhishthana), which is usually associated with the centre of being through which one connects with the essential voice of the self, the deepest stillness, wisdom, and bliss. This energy is very sensual, and allows the most mundane of daily experiences to transform into pleasurable experience. Many people associate this energy with sex, or express it as sex.

Conversely, the second chakra energy engendered by the “Hope-Expect Paradigm – Higher Confidence Mode” is also associated by some with the most basic of creative endeavors in their simplest of forms. Creatively abstract thinking or dreaming begins at this level, and this energy (if not used in sex) can lead outward or upward to further and higher creative endeavor.

Beyond the Hope-Expect Paradigm

It’s unnecessary to further define the Hope-Expect Paradigm beyond its second version.

By the time life travelers have developed themselves to a level of confidence where they can use the second version effectively, any further definition is inappropriate. When someone has developed themselves at a high enough level, their thinking, their energy, their relationships and indeed their very life rises to a level of abstraction that can no longer be served by the limited confines of mental concepts such as the Hope-Expect Paradigm.

Also like any transcendent system of thought, dogma, or concepts, the Hope-Expect Paradigm rightfully puts itself out of business. Assuming one wishes to go onward and upward, concepts such as these are mere stepping stones on the path of personal development headed toward infinity.

Leave a Reply

Notify of