Managing your Expectations: An Exercise in Happiness

When I go to a restaurant, order a meal, and discover that I don’t like it or am very disappointed by it, I have to recognize that there is nothing wrong or faulty with the meal itself. Other people might like it.

In fact, it’s not the meal itself, but my expectations around the meal, that create the sense of dissatisfaction.

In the same way, when falling in love, learning a new skill, starting a new job, moving to a new country… how can I be disappointed? Only if I expect things to be a certain way. If I expect A, B, and C, and don’t get them – I will be upset.

When in fact, I got D, E, and F, which are equally valid experiences and deserve to be treasured and appreciated as much as A, B, and C.

That’s not to say that each outcome will necessarily be positive. What’s important is to recognize that each outcome is still an experience of value.

  • Learn to live without expectations.
  • Learn to treasure the here and now, the present moment.
  • Learn to treasure what is, as opposed to what could be.

Too often we fail to appreciate what we actually have, because we’re too busy dreaming of more; of the ways it could be and “should” be “better”.

But we never really know, if our created expectations are actually the scenarios which would benefit, serve, and please us most. 

Sometimes, life has more in store for us than we could have ever possibly imagined.

Expectations are built on limitations – a limited world view which only lets us conjure up possibilities based on what we have already seen or experienced before. In other words – expectations are built on past experience and represent a limited picture of the full potential of all that there is to experience in this lifetime, in this world, in this universe.

So allow yourself to let go of expectations, to welcome the unexpected, the unknown. Reality might just vastly exceed your expectations anyway!


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