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One Word That Keeps Us From Being Happy

One Word That Keeps Us From Being Happy

That word….?

EXPECTATION.

In the Hindu epic Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna exhorts warrior prince Arjun to “do what he must do, without worrying about the fruit of his actions.”

In real life, this valuable piece of advice is so hard to follow, is it not?

We work hard in the office, expecting to be rewarded. We fall in love, and then expect our lover to constantly demonstrate and prove his or her love for us. We even love our children—supposedly the most unconditional kind of love—with the secret or sometimes obvious expectation that they will continue to be controlled by us.

The result of all this expectation is pain and unhappiness.

Because more often than not, people don’t live up to our expectations. It is never a given that you will receive as much as you give, but we continue to hope and crave for that return gift of love, understanding, appreciation. When they don’t come our way, we tend to become resentful, bitter and unpleasant. Unkind words are spoken, hurt caused, and there is unhappiness all around.

The world would be a much happier place if we just worked, gave and loved without expecting anything back. There is an Arabic saying, “Neki kar, dariya mein daal,” which translates to “Do good, and then toss it in the river” (in other words, forget about a kindness you have done). Don’t let a good deed become a burden on the person to whom you have been kind.

Here are some beautiful thoughts on expectation. I urge you to take a few minutes to soak them in.

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.”
― Jodi PicoultNineteen Minutes

“The secret self knows the anguish of our attachments and assures us that letting go of what we think we must have to be happy is the same as letting go of our unhappiness.”
― Guy Finley

“I shall expect my husband to have no pleasures but what he shares with me; and if his greatest pleasure of all is not the enjoyment of my company – why – it will be the worse for him – that’s all.”

“If such are your expectations of matrimony, Esther, you must, indeed, be careful whom you marry – or rather, you must avoid it altogether.”
― Anne BrontëThe Tenant of Wildfell Hall

 

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

123 comments

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1:52PM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

Simply do what you know is the right thing without expecting reward in return and you'll be surprised as reward will come when completely unexpected x

12:36AM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

Excellent and very powerful. Thank you!

5:46PM PDT on May 27, 2013

I do not think that 1 word can sum up the emotional pain that many of us suffer. However, this does make sense to a great degree. I expect and people do not meet my expectations. I become hurt and walk away or strike back. Is this because my expectations are too high or because I am so sensitive that I do not feel accepted?

9:43AM PDT on May 26, 2013

very, very powerful spiritual message

7:27AM PDT on May 26, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:05AM PDT on May 26, 2013

Thank you :)

5:24PM PDT on May 25, 2013

Like it

2:09PM PDT on May 25, 2013

Not having expectations doesn´t mean that we don´t care, it only means that we will do the right thing (as best as our consciousness allow) even when it is not the most confortable decision, and we will accept what life brings. The no-expectation thing goes very well along with Santosha - contentment, when you learn from all aspects of your life and search happiness in what is happening right now. Be present in the present. That is a very yogic point of view.

4:28PM PDT on May 24, 2013

Thank you

4:07PM PDT on May 24, 2013

ty

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