Nothing creates more unhappiness than failed expectations. The job promotion that doesnít come through, the proposal of marriage that is postponed one more time, the image of an ideal family that never materializes.
Expectations are an attempt to control the future. An expectation says, ďI wonít be happy unless x happens.Ē Here we must be careful, however. Having no expectations is a familiar way of saying that life is empty and without hope. That is not the goal. Instead, itís a kind of openness in which anything can happen and be welcomed.
When expectations donít come true, the result is disappointment. You can enjoy your day more if you approach it without any expectations.
1. You can be more centered. When you are centered, you arenít so dependent on your circumstances. The ups and downs of everyday events donít throw you off.
2. You donít need to dictate in advance what a good day would be. One can never see the whole picture. Room needs to be left for the unexpected. In that way, when the unexpected comes, it upsets nothing.
3. You could let go of outcomes. The only thing any of us can control is our own actions. Outcomes are beyond our control.
4. You could take things less personally. Life comes and goes. The universe gives and it takes away.
Nurturing these attitudes in yourself helps you not to build up expectations. Iím not suggesting that you can totally avoid disappointment. Our minds are stocked with images of things that we identify with happiness, and by expecting those things, we expose ourselves to letdowns.
Your soul doesnít exist to fill a mental list constructed in the past. Its gifts are unexpected. The happiness it brings is fresh because it comes from outside our expectations.
Adapted from Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting The Soul, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2009).