Great Expectations: Why you don’t love your life and how to fix it

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!


Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

13 thoughts on “Great Expectations: Why you don’t love your life and how to fix it

  1. Sasha, this is a great article. Superb job!!!
    This article surely heals me and truely makes me happy at the same time^^

    Thanks for taking time to write such a nice article.

    I luv this!

    luv, JUNG


  2. Ever since I was a kid…I had to be good at everything.. no matter what the circumstances were(I guess it’s the “Korean” pressure)
    I did enroll into college of dentistry, then passed my nat’l board, got my internship, did residency, then my fellowship, did my master, ph.D and constantly kept moving forward on a timeline basis…

    Recently, I have come to realize that God doens’t look at those things.
    He doesn’t want me to achieve grand, enormous achivements(what we usualy think they are), but really simple things like smiling, saying warm words and comforting and encouraging people, above all, like you said, “just being happy”!
    He now wants me to do less..

    I used to constantly have “things to do list” in my head every moment after I’ve accomplished something..
    but my goal now is to try to let them go and let life flow as it’s meant te be and try to be focused more internally.


    1. Jung, thank you for sharing this incredibly beautiful and insightful comment. Clearly you know exactly what I’m talking about! I’m so happy for you and so proud of you. I remember you doing your Korean homework on the weekends when everyone else was goofing off. You’re an incredible woman and an inspiration. Here’s to being in the flow! xo


      1. Sash, it’s so nice to have a friend who remembers my youth even after 23 years…
        Even my ulmatie half husband couldn’t be a part of this…
        As time goes by, I miss my frenz so much from childhood..They’re now scattered all around the world…
        It was sorta hard to get accustomed to the Korean environment after having lived in 6 different countries…cuz I was not able to find fantastic and encouraging ppl like you.
        Thank-you for remembering me…
        You made my day.

        luv, JUNG


  3. Right on Sasha! Recently I attended a public talk by Thich Nhat Hanh. He explained that he and the others in the monastery don’t run after or consume objects of desire to be happy. No private house, no private car, no private cell phone and no salary. No “American Dream” yet there’s joy and happiness. It’s about what is inside ourselves and not outside. Outside objects are a temporary emotion and a distraction. Changing your way of living will bring you a lot of joy right away and with mindful breath… healing will begin.


  4. Hi Sasha:

    Great article! Expectations can lead to disappointments. We have that need for belonging and understanding. You recall Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we have a need to belong. When we feel down or depressed, we shouldn’t blame people. When we start blaming people, we lose them and their respect. No worries! We can lower our expectations, and therefore avoid disappointments. We have to manifest love, to share love.

    I believe we have to “prove” ourselves to others. We have to prove that we are worthy of respect and understanding.
    I’m experimenting with having a life with no expectations. I fully love, and I fully respect because “I am love”. I tell myself everyday “I am” such as “I am kind”,”I am generous”

    Standards are better than expectations. Standards are about disapline, and obedience.One standard I have is to be calm.

    I believe we owe ourselves courage. Courage to be the best we can be. We expect people to respect us, and help us in time of need. Sometimes it’s always that way. We are so caught up in this materialistic world. We always want something. It’s not always a good thing.
    Taking responsibility of your heart if important. I always show kindness to strangers, and treat them how I want to be treated. Good Karma comes back to you in the end.

    I was born with Cerebral Palsy. Lots of my childhood experience was about people putting me down, that I CAN’T do this or that. I don’t look back at my past experiences. Right now, I’m on a path of success. I’m doing it myself. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

    “True” Happiness can only be achieved my expecting less or nothing at all. Expectations are just obsticles which lead to suffering.

    Thank you so much Sasha!!


    p.s. I will remember to “like” this.


    1. Thank you for sharing this David. Absolutely what we put out is what we receive in return. Ultimately, we are responsible for ourselves, our behavior, and our approach to life. I am glad that the principles of kindness, love, and generosity guide you.
      Blessings to you!


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