It looked like I had it all – a beautiful family, career success, good health – all the things most people have on their list of life goals, and yet I couldn’t shake off a feeling of lingering unhappiness.
Every day I’d find a reason to feel like shit, like a failure, like less-than. I had no idea what was going on and was desperate to get through just one day of not feeling that way. My life was perfect, so why didn’t I feel it?
The answer – my expectations were all wrong.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, says expectations – both our own and the expectations placed on us by others – can determine our happiness. He explains in his new blog that having expectations that are too high or too low can mess with us equally.
Your expectations shape your reality. They can change your life, emotionally and physically. You need to be extra careful about (and aware of) the expectations you harbor as the wrong ones make life unnecessarily difficult. Be especially wary of the expectations that follow—they give people all kinds of trouble.
Those who have expectations that are too high can often be left feeling disappointed because nothing is perfect.
Those who have expectations that are too low can fail spectacularly by self-destructing.
Self-belief is good, but as long as it is realistic.
That’s where I was at, all about the highs and the lows. I’d imagine myself achieving wild success so vividly that mild success left me feeling disappointed. I’d be so filled with dread at the prospect of other things that I’d bomb out, like a sick, self-fulfilling prophecy.
Then a therapist and friend suggested to me – try having no expectations. Stop attaching outcomes to everything and just let events unfold. Her words changed everything for me. From that day on instead of allowing my internal voice to say, “This will be amazing” or “This is going to suck”, I’d just think…”I wonder how this will go? We’ll see. I can’t wait to find out. I’m just going to let it all unfold…”.
Take that The Secret. Manifest a car parking space. Seriously? So dumb.
Oh Kim K, we’ve all had days like this. Article continues after this video.