Focusing on setting Expectations for Joy
We do mean well when we hold certain expectations. Sometimes, as our thoughts, emotions, and imagination continue to fluctuate around those expectations and their outcomes, the tendency for our joy to start getting limited by those mixed feelings increases as our focus starts wavering. Here are three reminders as you set and refocus your expectations for joy:
Focus on your grander purpose: Do you use your expectations to wrap your happiness around the external life circumstances, or do you flex your expectations to still unleash your happiness from within regardless of the outcomes of those expectations?
Let us say you have decided to go on a vacation to relax, reflect, and have fun (grander purpose or reason). You have imagined and expected a classic experience- to have a great host, the best room with a big bathtub, excellent food. You get there but the bathtub was not big enough as you have imagined, or the food was not served on time. You now have the choice to ruin your joy at the moment due to your high unmet expectations or to choose to still unleash your happiness by holding on to your grander reason in the first place.
Focus on a shift in mindset (Paradigm Shift): While thinking about us in an ideal situation, we expect people to behave in certain ways and display similar behaviors. We do expect to be treated nicer when we treat others nicer. The golden law says, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you”. The unfortunate part is that this is not always the case. With this principle of “give and take”, frustrations and disappointments set in when we are not cautious.
Our expectations of others do not change them, but of course, we can restructure our attitude and maximize our happiness. When adjusting our expectations of ourselves and others, we can minimize the drastic feelings of disappointments, frustrations, stress, and this will free more room for us to unleash joy in the moments and focus on the things that truly matter.
Focus on flexible expectations: Cultivate the attitude of flexible expectations. In research published by a psychology professor, Sonja Lyubomirsky, it shows that only 10% of your happiness is based on your life circumstances. 90% is based on how you react to what happens, how you perceive the world, your attitude, and how you view the realities of things. Sometimes, we can change the way we look at things, and the things we look at will start changing. We can start fixing our mindsets, and our situations will start fixing themselves.