Future events in general and person specific specially have always been a matter of concern to people. Hopes, fears, expectations and disappointments all relate to or are the outcome of future events on which people have little control. But, being part of human psychology they greatly affect people’s well- being. Hopes and expectations describe human anticipation about future events mostly personal that might have bearing on their life. The two words are generally used as synonymous, but they differ in many ways while having some similarities as well.
Hope is defined as: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. To desire with expectation of obtainment. To cherish a desire with anticipation.
Going through the different definition following points come out:
Hope is an internal human process giving rise to anticipation about some future event that is positive for the one who is anticipating and is likely to cause some good to him.
Expectation is defined as A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. A belief that someone will or should achieve something.
If we analyze the definition we again find that it too is an internal human process relating to an anticipation about some future event that is positive for the one who is anticipating and likely to cause some good to him. But, here we can see the presence of two important words, i.e. “belief” and “achieve”. While belief signifies an element of certainty, achieve indicates some action that has been taken, which helped in producing the expectation.
Hope is seen from two different angles, positive as well as negative. On the positive side it is taken as a great strength that helps humans in facing difficult challenges. It keeps them away from negatives of hopelessness and provides confidence that there is always a chance of divine intervention in their favor. According to G. K. Chesterton “Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.”
On the negative side hope is seen as something based on non-genuine feelings created to provide negative satisfaction as the person hoping is exclusively depending on divine indulgence without any tangible effort on his part. According to Edgar Watson Howe: “There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing, but we all do, and call it hope.”
Expectation is mostly seen as a positive phenomenon as it is based on tangible efforts and is taken as a great tool of growth and development. According to Charles Kettering: “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.” Horace goes to the extent of saying that life is largely a matter of expectation.However, there is also a view that too much depending on expectations is dangerous as it may create a situation where if expectations are not fulfilled fully or partly it may cause disappointment and frustration of a very high level. The advice of William Howard Stein “Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs” points towards this important aspect of expectation. But, William Shakespeare’s view about expectation looks to be very extreme when he declares: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
COMPARISON OF HOPE AND EXPECTATION
In hope the anticipated event is not based on any act of the person concerned, but is more based on divinity and with uncertainty about the event taking or not taking place. The famous phrase “Hope for the best and prepared for the worst” depicts this situation.
In expectation on the other hand as the expectation is based on something done to get the anticipated result the chances of happening are taken to be more than it’s not happening.
In hope not happening of the event has greater chances of acceptance without any misgiving as no tangible act of the one who is anticipating preceded the hope. But in expectation, however, if the event does not happen there are greater chances of frustration for the one who took tangible steps for it and was sure of its happening.
In hope everything is left to God, therefore, acceptance is more forthcoming while in expectation as it is based on the act of some other person misgiving or disappointment is bound to take place along with a feeling of injustice.
If the event does take place as hoped for it leads to relief, joy and thanks. If the expectation is met there is a feeling of achievement, fulfillment and rejoice.
Hope is a tool of contentment. Expectation forms the basis of achievement and growth.