Contentment through Letting Go of Expectations

‘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…..

No-Expectations=Contentment=No-Expectations

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.

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10 thoughts on “Contentment through Letting Go of Expectations

    1. Hi Swathi,
      Then that is not contentment…its procrastination! Its the lie we tell ourselves, that we will do something tomorrow or later. Or make up some plausible excuse ..eg “I’m so content with….that I don’t need to do…” So there is a difference in contentment and procrastination. Contentment leads to calm, while procrastination leads to inner guilt and turmoil.
      Does this make sense to you dear?
      p.s. I’m so happy to see you here after so long ❤ ❤

  1. Megan Eaton

    Terrific post, Beautiful Zeenat! I laughed about the chaos that ensued when the paper wasn’t where it was expected to be. I remember times in my life (that pre-dated meeting you!) when those unexpected blips would send me into frenzies.

    These days, I feel much more contented with life because of the practices I put into place along the lines you’ve suggested in other posts. Meditation has played a big role in keeping my mind centered (especially when sh*t storms start swirling!). A centered mind, for me, allows me to react to unexpected occurrences with curiosity rather than anger or frustration. One of my favorite expressions when something unexpected happens is “oh golly, what’s this about now?” Usually there’s a message, lesson or some special spiritual gift in the occurrence for me.

    Loving you and your words of wisdom big time!

  2. Debbie Hampton

    This is such a wise post, Zeenat. It’s those unknown expectations that seem to get me every time. I acknowledge and work with the known ones to adjust, be reasonable, and open. Only to find out, almost every time, that there were some hidden, subconscious ones too. Then, I work with those. It’s scientifically proven that lowering your expectations leads to less anxiety and more happiness. 🙂

  3. This post tells such truth Zeenat. Thank you for making me think more about how expectations can set us up to feel angry, hurt, stressed…letting do of expectations is something we can all practice in our daily lives.

  4. I’m smiling as I write Zeenat, because the morning paper with the first cup of coffee is sacred in our household and yes, the day after Diwali or Holi is painful because on those 2 days there are no papers!

    When my father was still alive, we would have our own game of grabbing the Times of India paper to do the crossword and try filling it up before the other. At one point my Mom suggested we get 2 copies of the same paper so each one of us could do our own crossword and we both got angry because doing separate crosswords would not be as fun.

    Some habits can create bonds that can’t be explained but I also feel approaching relationships without expectations often results in stronger ones than starting out with what we expect.

  5. Love it the picture of you waiting for the newspaper wasn’t. A Match for me maybe that’s because I don’t read newspapers maybe on Saturday occasionally and can’t remember when I started day with s coffee 😊
    Yes I Feel I have let go if all expectations maybe not all judgement though had to catch myself love you 🙏🏽💜

  6. Nick Grimshawe

    Hello Zeenat,

    I enjoyed this post about our expectations and contentment. It is interesting that we attach so many expectations in our lives and then when those expectations suddenly don’t occur like your example of the newspaper, in a way it’s like a little wake-up call, or a call to become more fully awake.

    We add expectations the same way we add periods to the end of sentences. We don’t really think about them, yet they are there. And to detach from making these expectations requires we live at a higher level of consciousness that allows us to be and to do without expectation.

    When we can break free of expectation we start to inhabit the landscape of the infinite present moment.

  7. Elle Sommer

    So true Zeenat. When life doesn’t turn out the way we think it should we experience all those things you talk about. You made me laugh out loud that we get all worked up over the non-delivery of our newspaper. And it’s so true.

    I think you’re spot on contentment is inner tranquility regardless of what’s happening outside of us.

    Love this article.

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