Remember the Charlie Brown song “Happiness Is…”?
Growing up, happiness seemed like something I was born to live (and it’s true!) Somehow through the years it eroded with mortgages, workloads, family stress, divorce, and life. When you watch the evening news it is easy to see that happiness is not the mainstay in society but the road back to it can be as simple as the Charlie Brown song.
For me, happiness comes when I remove expectations of others.
This takes away a lot of the disappointment I used to experience when I expected something of others. Without expectations, there is room for positive surprises. Yes, I realize that life is an interconnected web of people, places and events, but it is in discovering my own pure worth where I find happiness. Reliance on anyone else to achieve my happiness is a surefire way to failure.
I believe Einstein’s quote:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
The inverse of this is also true: sanity is doing something different each time so that you can expect different results. Makes sense doesn’t it.
In my first half of life, insanity (from an Einstein perspective) ruled. Now that I have tried the sane route (different things), I have gained new results. I would like to share with you my different ways of looking at things that brings about different results.
- Hope for the best in others, but never expect it.
- Never make anyone a priority for whom you are only an option.
- You can only anticipate (and count on) you.
These are new adages for me! In prior posts I s, I used to think that the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would like them to do unto you) was a universal law, but I know today that it is only an ideal. People do as they please in spite of or in the absence of me and of you! Just because your actions may be giving and considerate does not mean that anyone else will behave or treat you well.
Let’s explore each adage:
Hope for the best in others, but never expect it.
Today more than ever, people are necessarily self-centered and foraging to make ends meet for their family. So, unless you lend them money or give them a high paying job, you are likely a bit player. Expect nothing from others, and it will remove your disappointment. In fact, should another respond positively, it is a bonus.
Instead of expecting that people will be considerate of you or treat you well, remember that you can hope for the best, but know that this may not happen. Expectations lead to disappointment – lower your expectations to none, and your disappointment will slowly disappear. People will either live up to your new expectations (which are none) or do better. (Yes, I know that supporters of the Secret would argue that the way others treat you is your own manifestation – but this is utter b.s. You can only manifest your OWN behavior.)
Never make anyone a priority for whom you are only an option.
This is my adaptation of a quote I heard a few weeks ago by a dating expert. As female (and some male) colleagues know – we often over-give our energy to others, prematurely. We fall in love completely and genuinely and begin to take care of another (and even make him/her a priority in our life) before there is mutuality.
Some partnerships end up with one spouse taking care of the other (with good intentions) and the other taking care of him/herself. This can be prevented by following the adage and taking care of oneself first and foremost. Side dishes may be good at dinners, but not in relationships.
This realization came late for me as I spent too many years in a relationship where we both prioritized his needs. Fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me! Never again will I make someone a priority for whom I am merely an option.
You can only anticipate (and count on) you.
This is one point I have included in prior blog posts but is worth repeating. We can only ever change our own behavior, and live in our own heads. As such, every other person we meet is governed by his/her own beliefs and directs behavior.
Since we have no control over anyone else’s mind (except in the case of temporary hypnosis), we can only take responsibility for and anticipate our own behavior. Removing this illusion of control from our lives frees us up for happiness.
Happiness is… no expectations.
Do you agree?