Expectations or Contentment???

current-expectations-holding-you-back‘Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed’

~Alexander Pope

Every morning we wake up and open our front doors to pick up the newspaper  and enjoy the fresh news with a nice cup of steaming tea/coffee. Well, that is usually the ritual in my house. Now we have been having this ritual for years and years and i am beginning to think it was passed down from our forefathers…:) When one fine sunday morning (when we await the paper the most..) It doesnt arrive! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……all hell breaks loose. Tempers are lost, phone calls to the paper delivery company are made, moods go sour and finally the first few hours of the glorious sunday are lost. Why?? Cause the newspaper wasn’t delivered…NO No NO..Because the news paper wasn’t where we expected it to be..in our hands with our morning coffee. Now, why the paper wasn’t delivered is secondary, the fact that all that time and effort was unnecessarily lost for something as small as a newspaper is something to think about……

Now the above newspaper incident was just an example of our little, unknown expectations, which when tampered with can have adverse effects on our psyche. Everyday all of us have these little expectations which we don’t even think about, like the car will start in the morning when i turn on the ignition, the elevator at the mall will work, the grocery store will have eggs, etc….

Our Expectations can be of two kinds KNOWN and UNKNOWN.

Now unknown seems to be quite clear, but the known, now they are a totally different ball game all together. Lets say you were expecting a raise, you were expecting your daughter/son to get A’s, you expected the project you worked on would get you accolades, you expected sending a gift to someone would get you closer to them…etc.

Not getting what you Knowingly Expected gives rise to more intense reactions from your end. There could be anger, crying, stress, tension, anxiety. The worst part about known expectations is, the expecting per say can be even more stressing. At least in the unknown you were reacting after, but here your reactions are before and after.

Wow..ever wondered how expectations can engulf your life? Think about it now….

Not only do expectations have a life of their own..but they have an after life as well. Why oh why then do we have so many of them?

If you have noticed, there are people who are always smiling. In all the worst possible situations you might see someone always carrying a smile. Who are these people? Do they not have feelings?? How can they smile when something is so horribly wrong? I would like to think they are smiling at themselves rather than at the situation…That they have a certain acceptance of things in and around them that make them feel CONTENT.

Ask yourself if you’re truly content with yourself. Contentment leads to no-expectations. No expectations leads to a certain calm within our self. The fact that we expect not only leads to mental anguish but to physical pain as well. Stress and tension which in turn lead to blood pressure, heart ailments…the list of problems can be endless…but the solution is just one..



What is Contentment? Inner Tranquility. It is the freedom from anxiety, want or need. Contentment is the goal behind all goals because once achieved there is nothing to seek until it is lost.

When one can live in the moment with expectations in harmony with experiences one has achieved the greatest mental contentment possible.

The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.

~ Lin Yu-t’ang

Are you stuck in the web of expectations or have you been able to come out of it and find contentment?

Please share in the comments.


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22 thoughts on “Expectations or Contentment???

  1. I like how you explain expectations. I have had many a day ruined simply because some small, insignificant thing did not happen at the right time. At the moment it didn’t feel small and insignificant. I have found that taking expectations out of the picture has opened my life up to many gifts and valuable experiences.

    I would say that most days I wander on the path of contentment. Occasionally I let some expectation get in the way and I have to go over some rough spots. Thankfully, I find my way back to contentment.

  2. I have learned too that expectations can be very limited and do not allow to appreciate unexpected gifts.
    Expectations for me now represent a life like a train track that will not allow me to see what else there is in life.
    I am now looking for peacefulness rather than contentment. I peacefully learn to go with the flow of life, when I am peaceful things won’t upset me, when I am NOT peaceful they will and that will ruin my day.

    1. Hi Wilma,
      Yes, Peacefullness. Such an important part of ourself, that we sometimes forget about attaining it in the hustle of life. To me peacefulness means contentment, for the instant you are at peace with yourself you are in the true sense of it totally content.

  3. BunnygotBlog

    I feel if you think about expectations so much you will not become disappointed.
    This is a very interesting article. You did a wonderful job and sent a beautiful message.

    1. Hi Bunny,
      Glad you liked the article. Thats a very interesting perspective …that is you think about expectations so much you will not be disappointed. Its so true though, that being aware all the time will lead to lesser expectations in the first place.

  4. Roslinda

    Having expectation is natural. It is to my belief being constructed by our upbringing. Looking around on what we were scarce off and the urge or inspiration to have or do things and hope for a better life. It is good as a motivation and a real push to better ourselfs. But what that over-clouded us is that we never put our expectation at a level that is actually achievable with the influence of people and situation that surrounds us. For example, if we expect our children to be brilliant and scores A all the time, we never look at ourselves, our genetic history, our attitude itself towards our support for our siblings to achieve what we expect. Therefore we will always fall into the pitfall of frustration. To me before we put our expectation, analyse situation and set the level first.

    1. Hi Roslinda,
      Thats really perfect what you said…that before we expect we must first analyze the situation and then maybe set the level of expectation if required. The disappointment will surely reduce by that.

  5. Hi Zeenat,

    Years ago I read a book about expectations and how they set us up for disappointment – much like your first quote suggests. From then on, I tried to not put expectations on people or things. Although it sounded like an easy task, in some instances, I found it difficult not to expect more – especially as the kids were growing up and becoming adults.

    With age, I’ve gotten better at this. I find myself at peace most days. When something unexpected happens, I can shrug most of the time and just deal with it. I feel life is way too short to not just let some stuff go.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      You’re so right. Age and experience does make us learn as to how to handle situations. And life is indeed too short to sulk and not let go of unnecessary expectations…. for in letting go can we attain a certain calm within ourselves.

  6. Excellent article.

    We are full of “shoulding.” Life should be a certain way. Perhaps this what desire is, that life should be a certain way for us in the future. It’s interesting that if we sit with it, and try to release expectation, the mind fights back. It wants what it wants. It says, is life even worth living without desires? I find that if we can release that fear, we can see the truth about expectation and desire.

    Great insight, thanks Zeenat.


    1. Kaushik, I am so glad you liked the article.
      And yes Fear of letting go of expectation and desire is truly what is holding us back from reaching our true potential humanely and spiritually.
      Thank you so much for your insight.

  7. Wonderful post – love how you used a “little” example, since much frustration people experience is over all those “little” (dumb) things in life. My kids taught me about expectations – or rather not to have any!

    1. Glad you liked the Post Suzen. I know what you mean by kids teaching us…my little one is only 2.5 yrs and she has already taught me so much…I guess by the time she is all grown up i might be a lot smarter:)

  8. This is a great article! What you are saying is so true: When our expectations are not met, it can send us into a downward spiral of bad moods.

    I have often found that the more I can manage my expectations beforehand, the less the outcome can affect me. For example, before giving a person a gift, I try to remove any expectations I might have. I tell myself that they don’t “owe” me any reaction or gratitude. When we give without expectations, the gift comes more purely from the heart.

    1. Jay, what a great idea…to think about managing our expectations beforehand. It does help in managing the negative effects it can have on our psyche in-case the expectations aren’t really met!

  9. Hi Zeenat,

    Your example about the morning paper was excellent. It gives a real example of the little unknown expectations most of us carry within us.

    Realising that when we get upset, it’s got nothing to do with the ‘thing’ that didn’t go right, but everything to do with the way we think, is probably an essential step in finding contentment. I’ve become much more content over the years, from conscious effort. Yet you’re right that I probably have many little unknown expectations lurking somewhere… this is a good reminder to be on the alert for them.

    1. Daphne Welcome, Glad you could stop by and have a read.
      Conscious effort helps so much in managing our moods and letting us be content. The key is to practice consciously to control them.

  10. Well done, you hit it right on the nail! Too often I get trapped into my own expectations so much that I forget that it’s in these times I’m faced with something unexpected, that the situation presents an opportunity for me to grow and adapt to. I think if we thought of the unexpected as something exciting, it would definitely change the way we perceive things when they don’t quite go the way we’re used to.

    Rhythm Rob

    1. I do think too that we are all so devoid of excitement in our everyday lives cause of our unnecessary expectations. Thanks for reminding us all of how exciting life can be…its indeed all in our perception.

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  12. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..


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