Managing Expectations

Did you ever heave your heart set on getting a particular gift for Christmas as a child only to be disappointed on the big day? If you are a normal human, you did. We all suffered this fate at least once in our life. Sadly, even if we got everything else that we wanted, we focused on the missing toy. This ruined the entire event for us.

Looking back over these times, what was the cause of our disappointment? Obviously, most people would respond by saying that their parents destroyed Christmas by not getting them what they wanted. This is a blamer mentality. It is also one that leads to lifelong misery since this habit is ingrained deeply.

The truth is that what was received for Christmas is irrelevant. When we experience disappointment in situations such as these, it is because we fail to manage our expectations. When our expectations are set too high, the natural result is disappointment. Therefore, the key to happiness is to lower our expectations.

This concept applies equally to situations, people, and companies. When we expect too much from another person, as an example, we are let down because they suffer from the disease called humanness. People will fail periodically. When they do, if we place too much on them, we will suffer ill emotional consequences.

Managing expectations is at the core of most spiritual disciplines. When we expect too much, we fail to be grateful for what we receive. At the same time, we tend to concentrate upon that which is missing instead of what is there. For example, how often do you expect to attend a fabulous party only to be let down when it isnt the blowout you pictured in your mind. The expectation created the dissatisfaction, not the party.

If you expect nothing, you cannot be disappointed. The happiest people in the world have the ability to "go with the flow". They do not get upset when things go other than planned. They remain emotionally flexible appreciating each moment. This is a recipe for happiness and peace.

Today, as you progress through your day, witness how your expectations impact your emotional state. Are there times where you get upset when things dont happen as you wish. Are you expecting too much of another (or yourself) which causes you unhappiness? How much happier would your day be if you simply accepted things as they occurred without a thought of how things should be? Witness your thoughts in this area for a few days while trying to cancel out some of your expectations. You will be a happier person.
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