Let go of Expectations for True Inner Contentment and Happiness

Let go of Expectations for True Inner Contentment and Happiness‘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 doesn’t arrive! Ahhhhh……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 office/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, you expected your usually busy husband to be un-busy…etc.

What happens when you dont get what you are Knowingly expecting?

Expectation is the root of all heartache.” ~ Shakespeare

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. You are stressing yourself up with these known expectations which in your heart of hearts you know are ridiculous to begin with!

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 Expectations?

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

I believe contentment is 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 without expectations, in harmony with experiences, one has achieved the truest inner 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

No Expectations = True Inner Contentment = Happiness. 

And, isnt that what we all want ultimately…to be truly happy from within.

YOUR THOUGHTS -> Are you stuck in the web of expectations or have you been able to come out of it and find contentment? Do you think its essential to your happiness? Share your thoughts and your wisdom in the comments. If you’re reading this in your inbox click here to leave a comment.

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With Immense Love & Gratitude,

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19 thoughts on “Let go of Expectations for True Inner Contentment and Happiness

  1. Wonderful post Zeenat. Just what I needed today. I’ve been getting wrapped up in expectations. And then I’m resisting what is which is futile and painful! I’m wondering how or if you use goals? It’s a tricky balance between wanting more and contentment in the now.

    1. HI Brad,
      We all fall into the expectation trap sometime or the other. The trick is to stay focused in the now while working towards your big dreams/goals….with an open heart. That way you are ready for whatever comes your way…you level of acceptance is higher because of your openness.
      Constant practice dear one 🙂
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here Brad!
      Much Love~

  2. reflectingalife

    Great thoughts Zeenat. For me it boils down to respond or react. Either we own the circumstances or they own us. And all circumstances are really just temporary events, so choosing to stay happy, after maybe a momentary glitch, makes the most sense to me.

    Enjoyed your take on the subject very much…something for us all to ponder. 🙂

    1. Hi Elle,
      I love the way you think! Dare we allow the circumstance to own us…. We are in control and remembering that fact makes us prepared for anything, literally anything the future has to offer.
      So glad you liked this post. Thank you for your lovely comment here.
      Much Love~

  3. Zeenat, I’ve been blessed in being able to let go and let God. Instead of expecting, I simply look for His blessings in the every day, and watch for them. When disappointing things happen, I know I can run to Him for comfort and healing instead of lashing out at others or being mad at the world.
    If I expect anything, I expect it to happen in His time, and His alone.
    Blessings to you!

  4. Hi Zeenat,

    Expectations are as natural as breathing, as essential as success, as alive as us yet they bring discontent, pain and unhappiness! Isn’t it paradoxical? I wonder what our life would be without them! half of which is spent in expecting great, lovely moments of accomplishing something and the other half in watching our children grow into fine individuals!

    We are all stuck in the web of expectations because we are human…we are born with those sentiments, we can’t blot them out, however hard we try and when we say ‘I am bringing them down…I have stopped expecting…I am content’…we are actually deceiving ourselves.

    I think we can bring our expectations down but can’t annihilate them and it takes a lot of effort, self- confabulation and few bouts of depression to get out of this web which, we keep weaving around ourselves the moment we are born. However, Happiness is self sufficient, it doesn’t have to depend on expectations…rather many times these expectations bring a lot of happiness.

    Thank you Zeenat, for such a thought provoking topic!

    1. Hi Balroop,
      For me expectations have been a downer. Yes paradoxically they bring happiness when fulfilled and unhappiness when not. I prefer working towards my big dreams and goals with an open heart than be tied down to the expectation of the goals. In that way, we are going with the flow, while still working towards what we desire….but minus the heartache that comes from expecting it to be a certain way. For example, I want to buy a good car.Period. I don’t think, it should have this and this and also be that and that…..I just want to buy a good car. So the goal is open and so am I. No heartache cause my expectations aren’t attached to the nitty gritty details of how it should be.
      You cant block your expectations but you can certainly fine tune them into open goals…right 🙂
      Thank you for your beautiful comment here. So lovely to get to know you…
      Much Love~

  5. Patterson edemejaro

    expectations are what propell us forward but when in serious need of it, you experience the unexpected

  6. Lost in our expectations of a better tomorrow, we sometimes dont stop to observe and relish the wonders of today. Easier said than done though. Thats why all spiritual practices advise about living in the moment and not caring about the past or the future.

    1. A very wise comment Jaishree!
      I dont think our expectations propel us…its our big goals and dreams that do that. The only problem is we expect too much in the process of attaining that goal, which when not fulfilled leads to heartache. Hence being open to change and like you said living in the moment helps immensely.
      Open heart, go with the flow and see how happiness prevails 🙂
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here J!
      Much Love~

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  8. Lovely post Zeenat! If we let go of expectations and rather “be” in the moment…the possibilities become endless. A paper not showing up, can lead to meeting a new neighbor, or creating the start of a new morning tradition. Life is full of wonderful surprises, when we leave a little room every day for the unexpected!! 🙂

  9. Zeenat,

    Great example of those small expectations and how they can have such a profound influence on our lives. I’ve struggled with this very issue for a while. Trying to overcome the disappointment when expectations aren’t where I placed them. I think it’s great to have high expectations in myself, but when things don’t work out as I had expected, well, that’s something that needs work from me! 🙂

    Is it that sometimes expectations that we feel are place upon us by others lead us to do things that we don’t necessarily want to do? I think sometimes when we think about others’ expectations, our desire not to disappoint them can lead us to saying “yes” more than we really care to, and it can also lead us to going down a path of activity that may not be aligned with our values.

    This was a great reminder to temper expectations, and just to think about them. Thanks for another great message.

  10. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately. Every time I see sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. in my life or in someone else’s, I’ve started to ask myself, “What was the unmet expectation?” When you mindfully notice and ask that question, the answers can many times be completely unrealistic.

    We think that we’re in control of much more of our lives than we actually are. When the reality of our lack of control hits us in the face in the form of an unmet expectation, it’s frequently a surprise.

    Many of the things you’ve written about are why I do my best to avoid setting goals (it’s hard to squash decades of programming that said that I needed to be goal oriented). Life is so much happier, more content, when we allow things to be as they are and drop the expectations. That certainly doesn’t mean that nothing gets done. It just gets done without all the stress and negative emotions.

    Thanks so much for this! Big Hugs to you!!

  11. Hi Zeenat, I feel that expectations can keep us continuing unhappy when they don’t materialize in the way that we anticipate. Sometimes we get into routines and just that one time, when the routine is broken, we are so disappointed, and don’t think through how we have wasted so much energy on something that is most likely very trivial. The parents I talk to have expectation for their children. While their children, of course, are a big concern, letting go of those expectations can lead to more happiness and contentment for all parties involved. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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