Are Your Expectations Preventing You from Being Happy?

Happiness - Coaching

There’s a significant risk of being overly attached or having expectations of your happiness and well-being.

I meet many people who believe they deserve more and are in a state of unhappiness because of an attachment to how things should be…

It is a most liberating experience when you can live life with an attitude of no expectations.

When you have expectations, you have created stories or ideas of how things should be. A vision of things you should have and become attached to the concept of possessing will generate feelings of happiness and wholeness and positively impact your well-being.

Expectation creates pressure, worry, and doubt and rules all fear-based thinking(low state of mind), because you fear not having it.

When one embraces letting go of expectations, there’s a deep sense of flow, being indifferent to getting or achieving anything specific. It’s often described as peaceful, free-ing, lighter, happier, contentment, all love-based feelings (high state of mind).

Believing our well-being depends on a person, place, thing, situation or circumstance is giving your power and energy away to something outside of you. It’s a surefire way to find yourself in a dark state of unhappiness and possibly depression. Giving away our happiness, peace of mind, and well-being to things we have no control over is living a life seeking that next thing or fix. It leads to a life of wanting more and more. If you get that thing or achieve what you expect, you’ll want more, you’ll crave a better version, or worse, it’s not what you expected. This attachment is the emotional dependence we put on situations, objects, or people and can lead to addictive behavior—a slippery slope.

Living a life with a strong attachment to expectations can be seen in many forms— overindulgence in food, alcohol, sex, power, fame, and even opinions or ideas—and can manifest in potentially harmful ways, such as gambling and addiction.

It’s human nature to want more, and there is nothing wrong with wanting or expectations, but if you learn to be neutral or indifferent, it can shift your life into a much free-er appreciative, grateful space.

Suppose you’re overly consumed by the expectation of obtaining something and viewing it to provide some pleasure. In that case, that story or belief becomes an obstacle that can become an obsession to chase. This behavior can result in the destruction of healthy behavior, for the chase is now top of mind.

Our brain is designed to go towards what feels good and away from what doesn’t feel good so this can first be hard to identify in one’s self. This requires awareness and this is often done by someone non-bias, like myself, a life coach. I hear from clients pretty often they didn’t realize they were becoming attached to expectations. None of their friends or family told them. Of course not, they may not understand, and two, they likely are not wanting to hurt your feelings. Coaching is something that is incredibly valuable if you want to live a life that’s balanced, lighter, more productive, and in alignment with your personal values.

With expectation comes disappointment

Expectations and attachments to how things should be are incredibly powerful emotions that take a skillful professional to point out because those that live in this way often have a clouded view of their reality. From time to time, I find clients that resist change, for they have lived several decades or their entire life in this pursuit of how things should be and what they deserve. I call this a state of deep suffering without even realizing it. These individuals often believe happiness isn’t possible for them. However, if they drop their story and belief and become open, curious, and willing to learn, they discover happiness has been there all along. If not, well, they live a life with a victim mindset.

Suppose you want to take control back of your life it is learning to become empowered. Understanding how the mind, thought, and consciousness work together. It’s best done with consistent regular coaching sessions. Each session bringing one topic to the session that is context to how expectations weren’t met recently or how an attachment to a person, place, thing, situation, or circumstance is weighing you down. With each session, insights are formed, and between sessions, the learnings and discoveries are applied in real life, experimented with if you will, and deeper understanding is formed through seeing it play out.

If you chase pleasure, what do you get?

Excess of too much pleasure leads to many illnesses. This is why we have so many “diseases of affluence” in the modern world. They make us soft and dependent on things outside our control for happiness and comfort. And, if we overindulge, we may even become numb to pleasures we once enjoyed. As a result, we lose our power and our way and suffer.

What if you were to practice temporarily depriving yourself of things?

Perhaps imposing a three-month no-spending ban. Not buying stuff outside the necessities to survive. Another could be cutting alcohol out for three months. Possibly sleeping on the floor for a few days a month to value your bed more. One could take a cold shower once a week to appreciate the luxury of hot water. Detox from social media one week per month. It could be no sugar for one month per year. Another could be a week each month trading watching Netflix, for reading books. I have clients that frequently go camping with the bare minimum to appreciate what they have and to unplug and be in nature.

I have done a few of these, one that comes to mind as I write this was a caffeine detox for 30 days; it ended up being almost 90 days because I felt great. After the withdrawals, I slept better and felt less wired and anxious. However, I was consuming high levels of caffeine, and my doctors suggested I was to find a way to cut back on caffeine. This was a challenge but an enlightening experience as well.

If it is meant for me, I will have it; if it isn’t, I am prepared to receive something better.

What are ways you can practice temporarily depriving yourself?

Do you have high expectations?

Are you attached to a story in your mind about how things should be, or a strong desire to obtain something outside yourself?

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