Do Expectations Control Our Happiness?

When our emotions fluctuate throughout the day, it is often as a result of a circumstance not meeting our expectation. For example, think of the last time you were well prepared and on time, waiting for a friend/co-worker, but they were late. Your expectation was that you would meet at the agreed upon time, but the circumstance (that the other person is late) has changed. In turn, your emotional state is altered. How do you feel when this happens? Annoyed? Frustrated?

The same can be said of traffic. In the morning commute, you expect traffic and are used to it. Your expectations are met, and despite the annoyance of traffic, you are emotionally prepared for it. However, you may go out on your lunch break for an appointment, and assume you can be back quickly because there should not be any traffic at that time. If you get caught in sudden traffic at this time, your expectation is not met, and your emotional state changes again, perhaps to anger, frustration, and annoyance. Yet, the circumstance, which is traffic, has not changed at all. Your expectations have.

I’d like you to think about your expectations… of yourself…of others…of your life. The good news is…we can change our expectations at any time.

I encourage you to monitor your expectations. While they do help you plan out your day for the most part, if you become too attached to them, your emotional state will always be full of extreme ups and downs. Your expectations can really take over, and can sometimes prevent you from noticing the good. If you expect that a family member or co-worker will always be negative or annoying, you probably won’t notice any other trait in that person.

Try to strike a balance. Monitor what you expect from others and from your day. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than always disappointed.

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