29 Nov Happiness is…in your expectations
Although I spend most of my time thinking about what makes me happy and more often even, what I can do to help others find happiness by appropriately utilisting the powerful and effective tools and strategies constantly emerging from the exciting science and study of positive psychology, I found myself recently contemplating something slightly different…what made me unhappy!
I should begin by noting that yes, I do experience unhappiness; it’s perfectly normal for all of us (even Dr. Happy!) to experience stress and sadness, anxiety and frustration, anger and regret but we don’t really want these too often and we certainly don’t want them to become too extreme or to last too long.
So accepting “negative emotions” is important but so too is understanding how and when they occur so hopefully, we can do something to minimise the extent to which they impact on our lives (we should also try to learn from them and to grow from them but that’s a topic for another posting!).
Now the answers to these complext questions will be many and varied; that is, different things will upset different people at different times but I think my reflections may well be common to many and so in describing them here I hope the solutions I’ve found might also be helpful to many.
In short, I came to realise that a significant proportion of my distress came down to having unhelpful and unrealistic expecations of others and of myself!
Frustration and irritation with my kids often comes from expecting them to “behave” all the time! Stress and disappointment at work frequently comes from expecting others to perform as I think they “should”. Getting down on myself more often than not seems to come from expecting too much out of myself and of judging myself far more harshly than I would ever judge others.
Have you ever experienced something like this? If so, what’s the solution?
Well, the solution is, in fact, relatively simple (although it’s also relatively simple to forget). Try to check your expectations of yourself and of others, at regular intervals, and try to ensure that your expectations are helpful and realistic. Although you might like to be a certain way and although you might like others and the world to be a certain way…is really like that? Are you really like that? Is it possible to be like that all the time? Asking yourself these and other similar questions can make a very big difference – and it can significantly reduce frustration and other similar emotions which clearly detract from the experience of happiness and positivity!
Eliminating unrealistic expectations
Well, we should probably begin by noting that it’s probably unrealistic to expect to completely eliminate unrealistic expectations! But there’s no doubt that you can minimise and manage them. If you’re looking for help to do this then check out the following…
- The Happiness Handbook and 100 Ways to Happiness both address the issue of unhelpful thoughts and what you can do about them
- If you’re in Sydney then Dr. Timothy Sharp & Associates offers evidence-based and effective psychological therapy with caring and expert clinical psychologists (if you’re not, then CHECK OUT THIS OPTION)
- Our coaches and facilitators run programs regularly, all over Australia, each of which in different ways also address these common issues
- The discussions on our Facebook page frequently include relevant and useful suggestions from us and the members of our “community” so join in and benefit (for free)
Don’t allow unrealistic expectations or any other unhelpful thoughts to destroy your happiness or chances of living a great life. Do something about it now and if you don’t know how then let us help you!