Time and time again, we find ourselves disappointed in life. However, what truly causes us to fail, and why do we continue to set ourselves up for failure?
Living a life with little expectation and choosing to merely act on the things this universe sends your way might sound hard but it is a lot simpler than you think. Buddhist people actually do their best to live without expectation altogether. Those who follow Buddhism know that even if we do not realize it we can be suffering from expectations in themselves.
Dharma Wisdom goes over the damage expectations can cause as follows:
I call it the tyranny of expectations. They plague your daily life, causing you to be irritable, disappointed, and disillusioned. Many times they lead you to say unkind words, act unskillfully, or make poor decisions. Expectations are so insidious that you can persist in maintaining them even after you have clear evidence that they are unfounded.
What is most amazing is that despite the suffering caused by your expectations, you hardly notice them most of the time. Sure, there may be a few big ones you are somewhat aware of, but even so, you only sort of notice them; you do not act to free yourself from their tyranny. Plus, there are countless smaller ones you never notice at all. It is only when you feel acute disappointment that you have any awareness of having been possessed by expectations. But for each of these moments of acute disappointment, you’ve experienced many hours of dissatisfaction, impatience, and tension that you never realized arose from your expectations.
Expectations turn up in many forms – from what we expect of ourselves to what others expect of us and we of them. You may have high, low, or even negative expectations. You also have large expectations and thousands of small expectations that arise in your life every day. Your large expectations have their own unique expression but are the result of the common strivings every human undergoes. As you learn to free yourself from these larger expectations, you can start to notice the smaller ones and not allow them to define your daily experience. You may expect that certain efforts will yield desired results, or believe you can be in control of your life, or be totally convinced that the so-called good life must have particular components. You may be enslaved by your expectations of what defines a good marriage, a good person, or success. More than likely, you expect to behave in a manner you know is right, and you expect to be treated similarly. Left unnoticed, these expectations become all-powerful. Just think of the amount of suffering – yours and the suffering of others – that comes from these unrecognized expectations; it is a call for mindfulness and for choosing not to be defined by expectations.
When it comes to moving on and freeing one’s self of expectations things are much easier said than done. You have to accept a different way of going about moving towards the future and get rid of the ‘wanting mind.’ The wanting mind is the mind that is driven by things like desire and so forth.
It is a mindset many of us fall into that pushes us to set expectations we will never be able to truly achieve. In freeing ourselves from expectations we will face challenges and experience setbacks, that is just how life is. In living through these expectations and trying so hard to achieve them we are living life through a looking glass, never truly experiencing but always watching.
Getting rid of expectations will also allow you to be more yourself. Do not feel discouraged that things are not happening as quickly as you would like for them too. You can manifest whatever you like if you really figure things out for yourself and end up living the life you were meant to live. Do not be someone that obsesses over every tiny thing, do what makes you happy and live more for the moment.
Have you ever looked into the wonderful world of Buddhism? I for one find it to be quite mind-blowing and very fascinating.
Image via The Ladders