Home Opinion Op-Ed The Psychology of Hope, Expectations, and Disappointments in the Political Arena of...

The Psychology of Hope, Expectations, and Disappointments in the Political Arena of Pakistan

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Falak Zehra Mohsin |

Being an observer of the current political scene of Pakistan, it is safe to say that a lot of drama is afoot! Looking back at the Panama papers to the Avenfield case to the 2018 elections, the economic council controversy and so on, many experts and pseudo-experts have expressed their opinions and suggestions.

Imran Khan’s government is probably one of the most scrutinized governments of Pakistan. With the rise of social media and increased freedom of the TV and print media, no one holds back in expressing their views on each decision made by the government. Each move by the current government is dissected and evaluated by the masses and of course the opposition as well.

Many supporters of PTI and Imran Khan have high expectations from this new government.

Talking about the masses, this year many reports stated that the Independence Day of Pakistan was celebrated with more fervor and excitement than in the last few years. What’s interesting to observe is the optimism, hope, and expectations Pakistani masses have after the elections.

The concept of ‘Naya Pakistan’ and ‘Tabdeeli’ have brought about expectations that were previously absent in the masses. They now look towards the new government with positivity and expect it to live up to its promises.

Read more: The promise of #NayaPakistan

Before moving on, let’s distinguish between hope and expectations. Hope refers to the understanding that there is very little likelihood of an event or behavior occurring; however, expectations typically refer to the belief that a particular event or action/behavior will occur – we anticipate that it is bound to take place.

When our expectations exceed a realistic or practical criterion, they are not met and we hence experience disappointment. A reasonable expectation, therefore, is realistic (based on the circumstances) and meets certain criteria. Too often, we turn our hopes into expectations and when we have higher expectations than warranted by the data at hand, it leads to disappointments.

Expectations should be adjusted to the reality that major changes cannot be brought about by the new government instantly.

When we want something desperately, our mind tends to exaggerate the likelihood of its occurrence – going beyond what is realistically probable. As a result, we experience great disappointment. Reverting back to the politics, people currently have high hopes for Pakistan under the governance of Imran Khan – hoping to reduce corruption, be more inclusive, and so on.

These hopes have turned into expectations. These expectations have further been increased by some of the changes that can already be observed in the country, such as the accountability of corrupts and even the Billion Tree Tsunami Project carried out by Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Read more: A time for hope

Many supporters of PTI and Imran Khan have high expectations from this new government. They have built their expectations on hope, and when this hope and expectation fails, there is a great disappointment that causes a general outcry. There appears to be a disconnection between the hope people have and the reality of what is reasonable to expect.

Herein lays the scrutiny of each and every action by the supporters. When an expectation is not met, it leads to disappointment which is manifested via an outrage and anger on all media platforms. According to psychologists, the voting majority of America showed that their expectations from Obama were not met they were so disappointed that they looked for a new candidate who could fulfill their expectations – whether reasonable or not.

In order to minimize disappointments, it’s necessary to base hope and expectations on actual data and practicality.

Expectations should be adjusted to the reality that major changes cannot be brought about by the new government instantly. For any acceptable change to be introduced and implemented in the long term, they ought to fit the circumstances of the present political scenario and slowly be incorporated.

In order to minimize disappointments, it’s necessary to base hope and expectations on actual data and practicality. Failing, to do so leads to disappointments, frustration, and unhappiness. These emotions will definitely impact voting behavior for the next elections. In fact, research has shown that voting behavior is highly influenced by our emotions.

Read more: Imran Khan: the leader

I am not saying that as Pakistani’s we should not have expectations from the government, the only point to realize is not to have unrealistic expectations that can in the long-term impact the future of the country.

Falak Zehra Mohsin is Founder & Counselor at Holistic Minds (facebook page:@H0listicMinds), Visiting Faculty at IBA (Karachi). Twitter: @Falak_Z_M. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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