Release expectations to be happy
Anyone doing serious self-work to be happy knows that expectations are a great challenge to our happiness. Although it might not be obvious, expectations can go terribly wrong. Extreme example is Miss Havishan from Charles Dickens’ book “Great expectations”. After being left at the altar, she was frozen in that moment and was carrying on hate and resentment to the end of her life. It is a fiction novel, but I am sure something similar probably happened sometime in the history of mankind.
So, what exactly does expectation mean to humans?
It mostly has a negative connotation, although it doesn’t have to be negative. If we expect from ourselves to accomplish something that can improve the quality of our lives, and then undertake appropriate actions to make it happen, it can then result in a good thing. However, expecting others to behave in a certain way or situations to develop as we would like them to, can in the end bring only disappointment.
For example, falling in love with a person who looks almost perfect in the beginning. Well, we all know no one is perfect and sooner or later we start seeing the true face of our beloved one. What then? Should we try to change them or let them go? Or should we become aware of our expectation who they should be and just release that expectation but keep and accept the person as they are?
How to release expectations
At the beginning we can practice reducing expectations since we know it is not good for our own happiness. It is a natural part of our psyche, however becoming aware of having great expectations can be a first step to eliminating it.
As with any method to become happy, awareness is the most important. Can we do anything if we are not even aware of our negative state of mind? Observe yourself. See what you want and expect. Do you expect from others to make you happy? Do you feel you deserve right treatment from everyone and expect people to act accordingly? Stop right there and see that it is impossible. Nothing and no one out there in the world are obliged to make you happy.
Second point is reprogramming the mind to reduce and possibly eliminate expectations. But to do that something else is needed to replace it. The perfect counterbalance is acceptance. Expecting others to be good? Accepting that they might not be is better option to keep peaceful state of mind. Expecting them to change? Better to accept that people don’t prefer changing much and they are who they are. Again, it will make you keep your tranquility.
Can we live without expectation?
Eventually some little expectation will crawl under our skin no matter how much we will practice releasing it. Maybe it is not possible to completely eliminate it, but it can surely be reduced, and should. Expecting something means we are clinging to a certain possible outcome that we are convinced will make us happy. Unfortunately, expectation is a waste of time really, as it is unpredictable and unstable. To expect that roads will always be straight and without holes or bumps is absurd.
So, Miss Havishan, you were left at the altar. Yes, your heart was broken, but is it really a good reason to stop living beyond that point? Can you see that you placed all your happiness into fiancée’s hands and expected him to act properly?
It all comes down to having expectance to be happy but also knowing that the person who can make it happen is you and no one else.