Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how can I detach myself from the disappointment that others feel when I fail their expectations?
Acharya Prashant (AP): The people are disappointed with you because you won’t fulfill their expectations. What effect does their disappointment have upon you?
Q: It makes me feel guilty.
AP: It makes you feel guilty. So first of all, they expect stuff from you, and then you expect yourself to fulfill their expectations. And the funny thing is that the expectations on neither side are being fulfilled. So they are making a mistake, and you are guilty that you could not live up to their mistake. Are you? Do you want to remain guilty?
It’s alright to expect from yourself or from others, but the only right expectation is that you or the other, or anybody would move towards peace, silence, Truth. If that is the expectation, and if that is what you could not live up to, then surely you are entitled to feel disappointed and guilty.
But if the expectation is anything else, then why are you promoting it or subscribing to it?
I repeat, this is the only expectation you must have from yourself or from others — that they will move more and more towards peace, and you will move more and more towards peace as well.
And if this expectation is belied, you are justified in feeling betrayed.
Why do you want to burden yourself with miscellaneous expectations? You are not obliged to live up to anybody’s standards. You are not obliged to live up to even your own standards. If there is one obligation, it is to adhere to the standards of the absolute. Your personal standards do not matter.
And all the standards that you know of, are all personal. The person behind them might vary. The system behind them might vary. Some of them might be purely personal. The others might now be socially acceptable. Some might appear coming from one person, and others might appear coming from a widespread network. It doesn’t matter where the expectation or obligation is coming from. How are you bound to conform to it? When did you internalize this…