Disappoints are almost always based on the failure of people, technological gadgets or public policies to live up to expectations. Therefore, the higher the expectations are, the greater the disappointments. Because we invest so much confidence and hope in our political leaders, we are invariably doomed to disappointment and frustration when they turn out to be merely fallible human beings.
We are always looking for that great leader, with the ability to justify our outsized expectations and hopes. The greater the electoral victory, the harder it will be for that victor to somehow justify one’s electoral success. So the best solution to ameliorate our frustrations and disappointments is not to set our expectations too high.
The fact that the companies that manufacture and market all of our new electrical and communication wonder devices advertise them in terms of perfection and ease of operation, only serves to disappoint us when those exaggerated claims do not match up with the reality of the product itself.
So we are constantly searching for the next iPhone that will achieve the required perfection that we expect…..resembling the racing greyhound dog chasing the mechanical rabbit around the track. I have found in my years of rabbinic experience that unrealistic and exaggerated expectations of one another often lie at the root of family and domestic dysfunction.
Never believe the sales pitch of the well-meaning shadchan. Except for certain rabbis, no perfect people exist. Realizing and accepting this as a necessary reality of life will go a long way in reducing the unnecessary disappointments that we often bring upon ourselves.
In the recently concluded season, the great cities of New York and Chicago suffered only minor disappointment when their respective baseball teams did not win the ultimate championship in the World Series. I happened to be in both cities when their respective teams finally lost the playoff rounds for the championship. The mood in both cities was less of disappointment and more of pride – even wonderment – that their teams had unexpectedly achieved so much and made it so far in their quest for the championship.
At the beginning of the baseball season, few in either of these two cities had any expectations that these teams would somehow be able to contend for the championship. Since the expectations were low, the disappointment at the failure of either of these teams to win the championship was muted and more easily taken in stride.
In the broader and more important areas of life, it is clear that people should not expect that marriage, a new job, or a new face in politics and government will somehow solve all problems and bring us to paradise on earth. We must have a proportionate and realistic view of people and events and not give in to wishful thinking, boastful hopes and completely unrealistic scenarios.
The creation of the State of Israel was and is a great historical and spiritual event. However those that thought that somehow it would end all of the problems in the Jewish world, raised expectations that could not be fulfilled. Hence, so many utopians today express disappointment in this wonderful state and its unbelievable achievements.
We had very high expectations after the Six-Day War…and therefore we had enormous disappointment after the Yom Kippur War. We repeated this cycle of euphoric expectation and later depressing disappointment regarding the twenty-year-old “peace process” that began with the Oslo agreements and continues until today.
By giving in to our hopes and wishes and not looking at the reality of our adversaries face-to-face realistically, we are always surprised by the recurring waves of terror that have accompanied all efforts at peace and mutual understanding and respect. I think that by now almost all of us have lowered our expectations regarding this issue of peace with the Palestinians.
Therefore the level of disappointment has also been tempered and most Israelis, if not most Jews the world over, have adjusted to the tenseness and difficulties and situation here in the Land of Israel. We wish things were different but we realize what the reality is, and we simply have to make the best of a very difficult and dangerous situation.
We should not expect any magic bullets or great political initiatives that some will solve our problems in one fell swoop. Instead it will require a gradual change of mindset and an acceptance of reality by all concerned in order to move forward in attempting to build a more stable and peaceful relationship. I have no doubt that this will eventually occur.