The Problem With Expectations

2 Girls Unhappy with each other | problems with expectations | Happiness 2.0

Everyone wants to be happy, on that I think we can agree. But, most of us only experience brief episodes of happiness, fleeting glimpses of the state that is so important to us. Why?

There are plenty of reasons to be sure, however there is one tool that we use with alarming consistency to keep happiness at bay – expectation.

In our western society we are constantly encouraged to expect what we want, when we want it, how we want it and fast. We live in a world of express lanes, 24 hour service, instant messaging, customizable everything and 5 minute rice.

Most of us have yet to learn that action without attachment to outcome is not only its own reward, it is one of the great keys to our happiness. When we are able to let go of our expectations, the vast majority of which are completely self-centered, our perspective about just about everything shifts.

Think about your closest friendships for example. All that’s really needed to foster a loving, healthy relationship that can last years is to support, love and care for one another, that’s it. It’s the expectations that foul things up. “She forgot my birthday.” “He didn’t return my call.” If we can learn to simply love another just for being and without expectation, then disappointment vanishes and happiness moves in to replace it.

We can also take that same loving and mindful awareness to everything we do as well. Take, for example, the simple act of preparing a meal. Our internal dialog and expectations rob us of the simple pleasure of the act. We become lost in, “Will it be good enough? What if they don’t like it? What if no one appreciates it or says they like it?” Remove all of that clutter and just focus on the beauty of the task at hand and on doing it to the best of your ability. The selecting, chopping, preparing, cooking, the wonderful aroma and beautiful colors are all their own reward. The outcome is its own, not yours.

Do all you do as best you can, do it a with a grateful heart, let go of your egoic expectations and peace of mind will be your companion and THAT is the root of all happiness

~Edward G. Dunn

Check out the Happiness 2.0 Podcast – https://podcast.edwardgdunn.com/

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