“The secret self knows the anguish of our attachments and assures us that letting go of what we think we must have to be happy is the same as letting go of our unhappiness.” Guy Finley
What expectation could you let go of to experience greater happiness?
Question: What would be worth your time to read during this busy time of year? We’re all trying to get ready for Christmas or other celebrations? And, we all want to be happy. Here’s my thought: Happiness is the result of managing our expectations.
We want our clients to be happy with us and the service or product we provide. We know that to do that we must manage their expectations. Annie Pace Scranton in writing for Forbes.com writes:
- Be Honest from the Get-Go
- Under-promise and Over-Deliver
- Anticipate the client’s Needs Before They Know Their Own Need
- Constant communication
- Reports showing your progress on their behalf
This works for managing our clients’ expectations of us, but how do we manage our own expectations? First, let’s acknowledge that managing means the expectations exist. It’s unlikely we are going to be free of expectations. Thus, learning to let go of expectations is Learning.
Guy Finley continues:
“What’s the first sign of a lurking, hidden expectation you didn’t know you had? Pain! People don’t do what we want, things don’t happen quickly enough, the weather doesn’t cooperate, our bodies don’t cooperate. Why are these moments so painful? Because our minds are focused on a static, unchanging, me-centric picture while the dynamic unfolding of a broader life continues around us. There is nothing wrong with expectations per se, as it’s appropriate to set goals and work, properly, towards their fruition. But the instant we feel pain over life not going “my way,” our expectations have clearly taken an improper turn. Any moment you feel resistance or pain, look for — and then let go of — the hidden expectation. Practice giving yourself over to what “you” don’t want. Let the line at the store be long. Let the other person interrupt you. Let the nervousness make you shake. Be where your body is, not where your mind is trying to take you.”
So, my Five Tips for happier holidays are:
- Take a deep breath, frequently, and let it out slowly. This helps to control the fight or flight hormone Cortisol.
- Become aware – feeling pain? Ask, “What is the hidden expectation I’m holding onto?”
- Acknowledge it, and let it go. Stop trying to be God
- Give thanks, in and for everything – there’s something of value in the moment. Take it by faith even if you don’t see it yet
- Let people and things be imperfect, yourself included. Practice letting people not measure up to your standards. Practice letting yourself not be perfect too.
Most of us see what we expect to see. What are you expecting? How would your holiday experience improve if you couldn’t hold onto that expectation?
Guy Finley, born February 22, 1949, is an American who grew up in wealth, among children of celebrities. He became a songwriter and musician, and left it all to find something more, something deeper. His pursuit of the spiritual took him to India and the Far East. Upon returning to the US he now writes and teaches classes at the Life of Learning Foundation in Oregon.