With my most recent group of meditation students, we got down and dirty about life and the thoughts that govern our perception of reality. Evidently, the main source of distress amongst this group of exceptional humans was unmet expectations and comparisons with other people’s lives.
Naturally, having unmet expectations will lead to unhappiness, from the day-to-day to grander life vision. You come home from a crappy day at work and your beloved doesn’t greet you with a hug or a kiss like you so wanted. You thought that promotion was a sure thing but they gave it to someone else. You’re not making nearly as much money as you imagined you would at this point in your life. Your friend just bought a kickass house in the hills and you’re still scrambling at the end of the month make the rent.
No worries! We’ve all been there to some extent. It’s a natural human tendency to have expectations, to compare, and to feel disappointed when you don’t measure up or get what you want. Some say the answer is to have no expectations, then disappointment or suffering when they are unmet is impossible. True, but I have a different take on the matter.
It’s actually not about doing away with expectations, but shifting how you view them and what you prioritize. Here’s what I mean.
Rather than having expectations, have standards:
- For yourself, who you are as a person and how you contribute to your family, your community, society, and the world.
- For how you lead your life and how you choose to invest your time and money.
- For whom you choose to spend your time with.
- For how you live and how your care for yourself and those you love.
Basically, this is about knowing in your heart what matters to you most. This requires some reflection, ensuring you aren’t pulling from past thinking or from what you perceive others might expect from you. What are your standards for who you are and how you live your life? Let that be your guiding light.
Make your highest priority to feel happy everyday.
- Feeling happy on a daily basis comes from your internal landscape, not your external circumstances.
- If you make this your priority, you can feel happy right now, exactly as you are.
- This takes daily effort and conscious awareness, just like having a toned body takes the effort of working out and eating healthy.
- If happiness is your priority, your actions will align harmoniously with your standards, allowing one to feed the other.
The truth is, if I was still measuring my life by the expectations I had as a teenager, or the expectations placed upon me from my parents, I would be missing out on all that is incredible about my life right now. I chose to carve out my own path and create a life that serves my highest standards, centered on wellness and service. This means my life looks very different than what I initially expected and with a completely different timeline, but it’s the happiest I’ve ever felt! And I know it’s not going away because I work hard at keeping my happiness muscles toned and active on a daily basis.
Feeling happy with what you have right now is not complacency, and does not mean you don’t keep changing and evolving. On the contrary, it inspires me daily to stay in touch with what is closest to my heart, and inevitably, that means continuing to challenge myself and push the boundaries of what is possible. I see complacency in those that are dissatisfied and living only to earn a certain level of income or live comparatively to those around them.
I invite you to shift your life meter from one of expectations to one of standards, and make happiness your priority everyday. Examine if you are living according to your own personal standards, and if not, make changes that help you align with your own life priorities. Feed your happy meter daily.
Take a moment to reflect on your expectations and how you might shift to having standards that suit you. Share your reflections in the comments below.
Be sure to [fblike style=”standard” showfaces=”false” width=”450″ verb=”like” font=”arial”] [fbshare type=”button”] so that more people can examine what’s getting in the way of feeling good about their life.
P.S. Need more personalized guidance with this? Try my Meditation Tutorials and keep an eye out for my newest offering, Soul-Care Sessions, coming soon to an inbox near you. Be sure you’re a subscriber!