Lost Expectations

I have been exploring the idea that happiness can only be achieved when we have no expectations.  I believe all the pain we have in life is from not getting what we expected.

Think about it:
Lost Love: You never lose love.  You simply lose possession of that person, which is something you never had in the first place.  "I am yours, you are mine."  We "give" ourselves to each other, but can never really possess each other.  If we simply LOVED, without expectation of marriage, perfection, children, cooking, cleaning, 24/7 support, sex, etc, etc, etc then we would be happy. 

Somehow we have come to believe that love is synonymous with happiness, and that the goal of love is marriage and being with "the one" forever and ever, amen.  When we love our FRIENDS, we don't expect them to be with us 24 hours a day.  We don't expect them to drop everything in their lives to please us.  The times they DO drop everything are so wonderful and we appreciate them so much.  So why do we put a different standard on our romantic relationships??  We EXPECT our sweetheart to stop their life for us.  To upturn everything so we can move in together and support each other and give up our personal space, our privacy, and 50% of our SELVES.

This is a wonderfully romantic notion, and for certain periods of time is an incredible experience.  But more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.  My guess is that of the remaining 50%, only 3 or 4% are actually happy.  Most people who are married are frikkin miserable most of the time.  We are always hearing divorced people say how much their relationship improved after the split.  The reason is that they no longer EXPECT anything of each other.  Therefore, they can actually APPRECIATE the time they have together and TRULY love each other, simply for who they are.

In other areas of life, expectation is pretty much the main thing that gets us hurt.  In school we expect - or are expected to, lol - get good grades.  We are dissappointed - or dissappoint, lol - when we don't.  If we are meeting someone and they are late, we are hurt because we expected them sooner.  We get angry if that new toy isn't on the shelf.  We are upset when the computer crashes, or when our team loses, or when we stub our toe, because we didn't expect these things to happen.

If we would just live life truly in the moment, for the now, appreciating what are experiencing in each second of the day, instead of having expectations of what it means and where we're going we would never be hurt.

Even getting lost in the car is upsetting because we expected to know the way, or get to our destination at a certain time, or whatever.  So instead of appreciating where we are, we focus on where we're "supposed to be".  That getting lost may have saved you from a four-car pile up.  It may bring you past an antique store you never knew about.  It might put you in front of your dream house.  Or it may simply have given you a little extra time with your friend, or your thoughts.  But we miss these blessings, these wonderful experiences, because we are so caught up in the dashed expectations of where we thought we would/should be at this time.

How many people give up on life because they are a certain age and think it's too late?  It's only too late if you are dead.  Stop expecting things and just live.  Stop letting others impose their expectation on you!

You are never lost.  You are simply where you are. Just be.

HeWhoPleasures HeWhoPleasures
41-45, M
29 Responses Oct 19, 2008

When we set expectations, we get hurt
When we dream, we feel stressed
If we stay simple, we are just fine
I am just going to enjoy what i have in my hand right now and thank god for it

i have been trying for having no expectation...but than i dont want others to expect anything from me as well...i m tired of living for others& now i want to live fr myself

love the last line...you made my day...brought in me a new sense of life~<br />
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"You are never lost. You are simply where you are. Just be." thank you

I couldn't agree with you more that our expectations are often set ups for disappointment. I set out to live in the "now" about 2 years ago after I almost died from side effects of medication and trying to live up to everyone else's expectations. It has improved my life greatly over all, though I seem to have gotten a bit off track recently.<br />
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I also agree with your ideas about loving without traditional expectations or motivations beyond knowing and being known and loving and being loved. <br />
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I have to admit though expectations of respect, safety, and other similar notions always come into play sooner or later in life and I think these are examples of expectations that are unavoidable and perhaps not dispensible for me.

I don't know if "true love" can really happen. Most people are in lust and when the fun wears off, they are done.I try to live minute to minute and enjoy each one. Im trying my best.

Thank you all for your love and thoughts! I typed in exactly those words in the internet, I am lost! And this came up!I hope you ca help me. I am doing bio-energy shaking from ratu bagus in bali. Its very powerful, gets to the route cause! But brings up lots of process as you enter closer to light energy. It has been teaching me to let go, live each moment! To get on my right path. That creating from love is te most powerful thing you can give. All that was happening around me was crumbling away.like i was emptying myself before filling up. I saw that what I was doing was not right, in my work. That I was relying on what I did as a job to bring me balance and happiness. I feel my lie is not fullfilled untill I get thi purpose sorted. Deep down I feel I have an important mission, you know te feeling, but I feel like it culd be my ego, or I am not being courageous enough. thIS CONSTANTLY MEANS i PUSH MYSELF IN PLACES i think are important.<br />
The struggle to find out what I am doing has been going on for 6 years now! And I am driving my self very sick. I wake up feeling sick of the day. What to fill it with to avoid having to be in silence. I have tried just being still, and letting myself tap into my passions naturally. And I found something I like, or I thought i loved as a child 1) wood working making toys and 2) helping people wake up consciously. As soon as I felt this I jumped on it, started developing projects...and now I have lost passion for it. I watch a film called august rush, it is a film about a child's love for music. its this love I live for. I do not want to do anything unless i DO SOMETHING i really love. Being so lost in it, not doing because you think you have too. This is where i get stuck. I dont know what I am doing! I dont know how to love what I do, and when i get there I don't believe it will last. I am still trying to quickly find something so I am not faced alone with my pain any more. And yes, all of this means I miss on all the experiences of life. I am constantly angry and insecure around others, in the mind.<br />
Any ideas?

you are simple where you are. just be. i found it boring just to be where i am. i belive that i if you jsut be, you won't feel the joy of life, but its still much better then givin your life away pointlessly.<br />
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"there is always somthing going on" thats from "peasfull warrior" i enjoy this frase a lot)<br />
anyway thanks for your story, i enjoyed reading it))

What a wonderful and fresh way of looking at things! <br />
The only part I could pick at, is that, I don't think that people should loose their expectations purely to avoid being "hurt" in life. I think that by the time we reach adulthood, we need to accept that 'yes', we will all inevitably experience some degree of suffering in this life. It's naive to think that it CAN be avoided or should be avoided, because sometimes in a strange way it can be beneficial for us to "suffer" a little and bear that suffering. It can make us more humble, compassionate, and grounded in life. Telling yourself that nothing can hurt you anymore because you have no expectations in the first place, to me seems like a "bottling up" of emotions, and we all know through experience that it's all going to be released one day sooner or later- someone just needs to press the right button, then "ka boom". I think the advice offered here, is best taken as something to keep us in check when we feel life is off it's course, a reminder that can give us some perspective on our circumstances, and not as a means of numbing and avoiding pain. People grow the most when they are facing hardship and difficulty. If life was rosy there would be no motivation or impetus for us to grow. REALISING that you are lost, and experiencing uneasiness with where you are at in life, forces you to reassess and begin searching for what is missing.

i found ythat we create our own reality from our conscious and unconscious mind i put everything i found out on a website .. films, books and articles so others could find it ... on manifestingalchemy.yolasite.com.... check it out its ancient wisdom its everywhere start small and create the world as you see fit.

Love it!

where to find help when you dont know how

When you take your vows they are public declartion of devoted love.Look up the vows from around the world.They are about being one and doing whats right by the other person.if you are not your word. what are you;Do not take vows if your intentions are to move on when it suits you.Stay single. Do not make a pledge when you know you can not stand by them.Know matter where your are in life be you at all times.Let people know the real you,and you will find like minded people.Expectations are what you make them.Its how you conduct yourself when yours are not met your true self will be there to see.By all means expect nothing from others but let them know to expect nothing from you.Humans need love and need to express love. There are various types of love. All the best in your quest.

Whether we like it or not... what you said is so true...

I agree with the basic principles of what you are saying. The thing that trips me up is that life on this earth is so incredibly short. It's hard to not expect that certain things will happen out of what you are trying to create. It is in your hands and is ba<x>sed on the choices you make to a certain extent...but when you continually try your hardest and things still don't go your direction it is hard to just "let it unfold".

thinking i'm on different page still . . . . . enjoying you.

I disagree with this. Yes living in the moment is something that must be done as you can truly begin to enjoy something. It helps you forget your worries etc. But surely much more of a persons happiness comes from there expectations. The expectation of a close friends company when they come visit, the expectation that someone who loves you will be waiting your return. Yes you may be let down but I believe the ups far outweigh the downs. Expectations are as much a part of happiness as anything else. To me it's the same as giving up hope. To hope for something is to somewhat expect it to happen even though you know it may not. Hope is a massive part of who we are. It gives us strength and courage when we need it and is indispensable. Living a life without it is not a life I want.<br />
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But then of course I could be wrong lol, who knows

I believe all the pain we have in life is from not getting what we expected. But i also believe that we need to expect certain things to obtain happiness.I need to have certain goals and expectations to feel achievement. I can very seldom achieve and feel reward based on the spontaneous, and even when this does happen I am expecting certain things out of the spontaneous and its associations. <br />
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I simply believe if you dwell and get upset and stuck on things that do not fulfill your expectations then the human condition of unhappiness occurs due to the feeling and association of failure to obtain what you wanted from an experience within yourself.<br />
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The only way to rid of these terrible expectations and ideas of what we are told is right and what should make us happy, would be to rid of the idea of expectations all together which involves isolation from society and the system which is an expectation itself.

Lao, excellent points. Confucius disapproved because he EXPECTED something. Buddha was sad because he didn't like that his negative expectations were met. Lao simply accepted what is, without expectation. Go Lao!<br />
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I'm not saying we shouldn't experience life. Not at all. What I am saying is that we will experience MORE of life if we don't limit ourselves with our expectations. <br />
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Here's an example (admittedly trite, but were you expecting deep? hahah): How many times have you gone to a movie that got GREAT reviews only to be disappointed, but then went to a poorly reviewed movie only to fine you loved it? You were free to love the "bad" movie because you had no expectations, so you could simply enjoy it for what it was. But you went in with such high expectations of the well-reviewed movie, there's almost no way it could live up to it. (remind you of any marriages?)<br />
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Whether you go into a relationship expecting it to last forever or not, you are still going to experience the pain of separation and loss when you part (whether by breakup or death). But that relationship will probably last a whole lot longer and be a whole lot happier if you aren't expecting the other person to be who you WANT them to be instead of who they are. Of course experiencing pain in life is important, but is it really all so friggin painful that I didn't take the garbage out? D'ya see my point here?<br />
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ContantIsChange, I have to disagree. Of COURSE we can live in a world where people don't expect things of us (in personal relationships. - I agree that there are practical expectations on the job that we can't avoid... assuming we think we really need a job, but that's a whole other story).<br />
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Personally I resent the whole birthday thing. We are CONDITIONED TO EXPECT stuff on our birthday and that is why it hurts when people forget. During the first 12 years of my marriage, I LAVISHED love on my wife EVERY SINGLE DAY. I appreciated her and told her, and showed her, and did things for her, and bought things for her and treated her like a queen, EVERY SINGLE DAY. But if I ever forgot her birthday it would have been the end of the world. 364 days of love and appreciation shot to ****, because the anniversary of a day wasn't celebrated on the day. (I never did forget, btw, but she always EXPECTED me too.)<br />
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As for people creating great things... those situations aren't really about expectation. They are about dreams and goals. If a scientist or inventor went into it EXPECTING success, they would soon kill themselves. Edison tried 1000 (or some such) times before finally getting the light bulb right. He didn't bother with feeling hurt or dejected every time he failed. He knew he would fail many times before getting it right, so he simply never gave up. He tried new things. He was open to failure. <br />
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When we put expectations on other people (and often ourselves) we are not open to failure, but we are certainly doomed to achieve it. <br />
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By all means, work toward goals. But with determination, not expectation.

Hmm....never be hurt....never be disappointed....never experience emotional pain...so never fully experience being human....<br />
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There is a Taoist painting of the three schools of thinking which inform Chinese beliefs. Buddha, Confucious and Lao Tzu are standing around a huge vat of vinegar. All have one finger in their mouths (they have tasted the vinegar).<br />
Confucious has a disapproving look on his face because the vinegar is bitter. Buddha has a sad look on his face because of the bitter taste (Life is suffering). Lao Tzu has a smile,almost laugh on his face because the vinegar is bitter (its vinegar, that's how it tastes). My thought is that regardless of expectations, we hurt, cry feel lonely and conversely feel joy, inspiration, love, because life is all of these things and we have been given the capacity to experience the full range of emotions. Truely living in the moment also means experiencing the moment's pain,sadness or loneliness because there are such moments. However, I do agree that it is a comforting thought that the moment is but a moment and there are other moments to follow. I think I got lost back at that sharp bend awhile back (LOL).

Willow and C(h)K, rock on. those are huge realizations. <br />
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Enjoy each moment. We could all be dead tomorrow!

Your paragraph about expecting our romantic lovers to drop everything to be with us 24/7 really hit me. I'm in love with a man I've never physically met. And due to some obstacles, we may never be together. We have an amazing relationship now, friends, lovers, soul mates. And just reading what you had to say....well, you're right. Why do I need him here with me right now? All the time? I know he loves me. He knows I love him. We can just be. <br />
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Thank you, my friend.

Librastar, I think you think you are disagreeing with me, but we are actually in complete agreement.<br />
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Except for the part where you said, <i>"The problem with life is we naturally expect certain things based on our environment." </i> We do not NATURALLY expect it. We are CONDITIONED to expect it. But when we let go of those expectations, we have the power to change our environment.<br />
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I agree that the poor remain poor and the abused continue to be abused because they expect it to stay that way. But once they let go of that expectation, they realize that other options exist and they have a choice.<br />
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You cannot EXPECT things to change. You have to change them. You cannot EXPECT a person to change, you can only change yourself.<br />
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I am glad you got out of your abusive environment. Keep striving for something better. Just don't EXPECT it.

Well I also read that we should expect, or better said demand things and dreams to come true. And that is true that once you let go of expectations something starts to change. I think it is more to how we deal on failure! Also there is room for forgiveness, I feel I have a hard time with that. Allways something from the past pops up and I find out I am still hurt or angry of something that happened long ago and everyone moved on...I get lost in this things.

There are a lot of things I do not expect to happen, but they do and I deal with them. if you let the pain get to you then you dwell on what ifs. If I did not worry about the place I had to be I might of found my dream home. If I loved my wife more maybe she would not of left me. Feelings like love I agree should not be expected. Hate should not be expected either. The problem with life is we naturally expect certain things based on our environment. An abused person expects to be abused unless someone or themselves creates expectations in their mind that they should not expect to be abused. As a child I expected to have the crap beat out of me when I screwed up. This changed when that person left and I began to expect not be abused. I wish we did not have to expect certain things in life, but that is life. A poor person can not help but to expect to be poor unless their situation changes. If it does they expect not to be poor each day. To me it is how you deal with failed expectations that defines us. If we give into pain then we begin to expect pain every time our expectation fail. This just my view on the matter. I understand your point and many people can just be, but I have to be more than what I was yesterday.

This is a very deep thaught,and true to the part that situations do influence us and we do have a choice to change them. I am referring to the poor. There is a book from Napoleon Hill and it is explained how the mind works.He was poor but he himself didi not accept that situation to stop him from changing into a very rich person. When it comes to dealing with failed expectations and healing trauma it is every day work and and I am sure you are already more than you were yesterday. I can only imagine how much more you are than you can think , and YOU ARE ALLWAYS MORE THAN YOU CAN THINK YOU ARE! Try to thnk what and who you are and it turns out - no end,allways something pops up. That little boy that suffered abusing is still alive and cicking,survived, and so are you stronger and older and with a lot more you know now than you knew than. I think you have to congratulate yourself for beiing who you are and survived all that!

Keep calling me Master, and I might end up with some expectations of my own.....

Oh, so Zen, My Master. So beautifully spoken. But would I expect any less of HWP?

Dear MaiseIDontKnowHowToHumorouslyOrInsightufllyMorphThisNamedobbs,<br />
Thank you. I know your praise is hard-earned and I am humbled.<br />
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tas and gh... thank you. "Wisdom born of pain."

Interesting story .. thank you

Conscious. Yes. But like any of our bad habits, this gets easier, and more SUBconscious the more we do it.<br />
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Go... get lost. heehee

You're learning well, Grasshopper. <br />
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What you wrote is true, all too true, but as you know...there are days when it's difficult to put into practice. We have to make the conscious decision every single moment of every single day to live our lives like this.