September 17, 2014

Can Expecting Make You Happy?

"Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed!" -Unknown

That's a funny quote, with not so funny implications. It's true that not expecting anything is a sure fire way to keep from being disappointed when it doesn't arrive, but it fails to take into account the price we pay for our safety from disappointment. It's a high price. It's our happiness and fulfillment.

Another saying that comes and goes in popularity is "If you want to increase your happiness, lower your expectations." Funny! No, not really.

Our expectations are connected to our dreams and desires. They're messages sent from our soul encouraging us to aspire to our highest potential. When we ignore, disregard, and push back these messages, what we get instead is a feeling of hollowness. 

When was the last time your heart was set on steak and you decided a Spam sandwich would be just as good? Yes, sometimes in life, a Spam sandwich is what we can have - for now, and sometimes we even choose the Spam sandwich but that doesn't mean it takes the place of our yearning for a steak when a steak is what we really want. 

Expecting nothing is the ultimate sell out. 

In relationships it signals the beginning of the end. It's a sign of having checked out - disengaged from. To no longer expect anything from our friends, family or partner means to have lost faith in their willingness or ability to connect to our needs and desires. It's the beginning of disconnecting from our own needs and desires as well. It's like crawling into a hole and pulling the darkness in around us.

Further, expecting nothing from others is harmful to them as well. It's the opposite of inspiration. It sends the message "why bother" instead of "imagine what might be!" It tells them there is no need to be better or to strive. When we're not growing we're dying.

When we take into account that we are constantly teaching those around us how to treat us, expecting nothing pretty much guarantees that we will be left feeling lonely, unfulfilled, and unappreciated. In spite of what we would like to believe, the less we expect from those around us, the less we get. We may believe that we're just trying to be easy to get along with, or trying not to be a burden on others by our non-expecting, but how much of a burden on others is an unhappy person. Self assigned martyrs do not good company make.

Expecting nothing of ourselves is self confidence suicide. It's giving ourselves an excuse to fail without having given ourselves a chance to succeed. When we expect nothing of ourselves we're casting a vote against us. It's saying we can't - we're not good enough. It leads to things like living our lives vicariously through television, books, or others - any medium that will numb the deepening despair.

Yes, we can give up expecting but the one thing that we will still cling to is hope, and unfulfilled hope leads to hopelessness. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be disappointed!

I'm choosing expectation (along with it's possibility of disappointment!) I'm also encouraging you to  EXPECT! 

Expect miracles. Expect consideration. Expect to be well treated, shared with, loved, and remembered.

Expect the best of and from your loved ones. Don't let them slack off and be less than they can be. Don't let them wither and die on the "didn't bother" vine.

Expect the best of yourself and be willing to go the extra mile to deliver. Expect that you will sometimes fail and expect that you'll live to fight another day.

EXPECT! It's the surest way to insure REspect and SELF respect.

Who's with me?


  1. YES, ABSOLUTELY!! I love this post, and yes we most definitely teach others how to treat us..I expect the best; why not? why settle..I am learning this after many years...awesome!!, well said Anita!!!

  2. Thanks K Maria. Expecting is a new experience for me too. I guess sometimes we just have to wake up to things and probably it's when we're ready for them.