When Expectations Get In The Way of Happiness

When Expectations Get In The Way of Happiness



One hundred people will probably have one hundred different, unique sets of expectations about what constitutes happiness. When it comes to happiness the objective of an expectation is to line up what you think with what you want to happen; or what you intend to create in your life with your activity, action or behavior.  Life experience teaches you to expect different consequences from positive and negative behavior, so it makes sense that when you focus on what you believe to be positive actions you expect positive outcomes along with the feeling of happiness that ensues. The all- important question to ask about your expectations for happiness is where are they coming from?  Do you call on others to show you the way to happiness by their achievements or by what they think is right for you? Are you trying to make others proud of you? Do you derive expectations of happiness based on a reaction to what might make you happy? Or, do your expectations of being happy come from within?




What happens when your expectations are not met or when you have done everything you feel is right and the outcomes do not match your desires?  You put time, energy and focus into an expected happy outcome and got disappointment instead. The emotional weight of your dissatisfaction creates a huge imbalance in your life, and leaves you with a sense that you have let yourself (and perhaps others) down.  A good way to regain your emotional balance is to look within and find happiness with who you are and where you are; to open up space to examine your personal dreams and let your happiness deliberately start from connection your inner feeling of love and joy. It’s not that you shouldn’t try for that high-flying career or family, relationship or any of those things you dream about, but happiness need not revolve around doing or being what others or society thinks we should be doing.  When that unwelcome feeling of disappointment shows up it is prodding you to regain your balance, and to pay attention to the inner-side of the equation.  As a unique person you have the power and right to define what matches your inner happy.




Life is an ongoing journey of change, refresh, create and refine.  Contentment and happiness shift, twist, turn and show up in unexpected, delightful ways.  Spending your mental currency – your thinking energy on trying to figure out all the right moves can lead to burn out, disappointment and ill-health. For expectations to match desired outcomes thinking and emotions need to be aligned with what you want.   How do you shift your thinking to match your dreams for happiness? Focus on what you truly want. What are you passionate about? What is calling you to your greatest joy?  Relax more and get in touch with the dreams that bring smiles to your face, and give yourself permission to spend more time imagining you are enjoying those things in your life now. The power of your mind and heart joined in envisioning your happiness in this moment puts creative expression into motion.  When you start expressing the energy of happiness now you are not just going through the motions, you are riding the wave of aligned thinking and actually grows and attracts your dream into reality.

So what are your expectations for happiness?  In daily existence there are routines, habits, relationships and meeting the needs of yourself and others (family, work, etc.) Yet there are also the dreams and hopes for a deeply satisfying experience where you live in the greatness you imagine yourself to be – happy, fulfilled and in balance.   Being mindful of the things that are important to you and setting goals that are lined up with your authentic, heart-and-soul desires will help you to set targets to put e-motion toward things that really matter to you. That way you will retain a foundation of true purpose, passion and inspiration and keep your balance while engaging in the bigger picture of daily life.




Raise your expectations for happiness by doing these simple things:

  • Surrender the opinions and expectations of others and spend more time listening to the dreams calling you from your heart.  Use reflection to connect with what moves you from inner joy.
  • Recognize that if you want to be happy, it can also come in small and everyday ways.  Appreciate that what you are experiencing in this day is an opportunity to feel happy.
  • Be open to receiving happiness in unexpected ways and through new experiences. Fi you are flexible, curious and expand your definition of happiness you may enhance your sense of potential and opportunity in life.
  • Be compassionate with yourself, accept your strengths and release the inner critic when it shows up.
  • Do what makes a difference and has purpose or meaning for you.  Fulfilling a noble purpose (practicing acts of kindness, volunteer work or participating in charitable projects) gives your life mean.
Support Yourself In Times Of Adversity

Support Yourself In Times Of Adversity

Times of Adversity – You’ve Got This!

Start Where You Are

We all encounter dark times at some point in life, and undoubtedly when you experience hardship there are external factors at play.  However, while you are aware that those factors have played a part in your current reality, it can be hard to accept that you can’t change any of them now. What you can do is accept and acknowledge the part that you played and take responsibility for creating the solution.

First, understand that these things happen to everyone.  A divorce, job loss, relationship break-up, financial crisis or health challenge are instances when we have the choice to dwell in the problem, experiencing a deep, dark, lengthy period of suffering, or we can accept where we are and focus on shifting to where we want to be.

Stay Positive

When life throws a curve ball and forces change upon us we can respond by falling further or confronting our difficulties. Resisting and lamenting the reality of your present moment situation delays the process of recovery.  To get things moving in the upward direction try feeling appreciation for the blessings in your life right now. You can start by noticing the basic goodness of being alive – sunshine, water, nature, food, air and any other general supportive elements in life.  Engage in self-reflection and find ways to nurture yourself with exercise, journaling, and enjoyable music. Whatever your challenge you have the resources within you to take the first step by making a decision, being willing to feel better. Embrace your wish to be happy and define what that means for you.

Get Help

You may prefer to seek out and accept help.  Investigate quality blogs or forums online; explore charities or support agencies; invest in a mentor or personal coach.  Investing in the support of a coach is one of the quickest ways to get results and one of the best value propositions. Someone who has been through the same challenges as you is likely to understand the best means of shifting your situation quickly.  The price tag may well pay the biggest return on your investment in the long run and bottom line, you are worth it.

Pay Attention To Your Emotions

Finding emotional balance is a priority for feeling better and being able to plan for the future. Even at your most desolate, seeking solace and support is a sign that you are not ready to give up on yourself. I have faced dark challenges and refused to believe that a light exists to lead me out. When I stopped blaming others for my circumstances and faced my painful emotions I was able to see that my life was calling me forward to heal, grow and live more authentically.  Life is full of changes and trying to resist the ebbs and flows of life is futile.

Not every step you take to support yourself on the road to recovery will be a game-changer but it will bring you closer to knowing what you want as you explore different answers and solutions to your challenges.  You possess the power to choose to take positive steps forward and align your thinking, feelings and energy to support yourself and that is a beautiful thing! Follow your inner-most desire to be your best self, to live a fulfilled life.  When you are forced to make a change, rest assured that you have what it takes to deal with it. In the unending balance and rebalancing of life things change for the better.

Self-Soothing in Times of Adversity

To move-on, here are some ways you can support yourself:

  • Seek out the positive people in your life and spend time doing uplifting activities.  Laugh, go to a upbeat show, cook a good meal together.
  • Try something new.  Maybe there’s an adventure you’ve been thinking about – a rafting trip or hiking expedition.
  • Take some down time for you – to be alone and commit to self-reflection, meditation or yoga to feed your soul.  Get a massage.
  • Wake up and plan a random act of kindness for someone at work or a neighbor. Giving without the intention of a return lifts the spirits and releases a sense of appreciation that floods the brain with serotonin.
  • Join a support group and find some like-minded people to share your experience with, and receive encouragement.
  • Do not compare yourself to anyone else.  You just try to be the best you can be, and that’s enough!

My new course “Becoming Who You Are Meant To Be” is now open for enrollment! Visit this link to learn more or get started.

Be the Captain of Your Heart

Be the Captain of Your Heart

Be the Captain of Your Heart and You Will Be the Captain of Your Life

What kind of life do you desire to live?  All human beings want to be happy and live a good life, but what does that truly mean to you deep down?  I had the pleasure of speaking with a master and commander recently who, full of enthusiasm and expectation for a joyful, gentle, abundant and love-filled life (his words), explained to me how he had become not only captain of his ship but captain of his life.

I was impressed by the captain’s conviction that life was his for the asking and enjoyment of it, and I was curious about how he had come to his wonderfully enthusiastic perspective.

The commander told me that it hadn’t always been that way.  He had made a conscious choice to have a gentle, happy, easy life after losing a difficult battle with the sea while captaining his boat and a crew.  Following his ordeal, the commander isolated himself on remote islands off the coast of Australia, carrying a painful burden of despair. After going through some months of feeling distraught, questioning the value of his life, he discovered the voice of his inner explorer beckoning, becoming louder each day even as he focused on his pain. It took him a while to listen, he said, but soon his inner calling was just too loud to ignore.  He realized he needed to make some decisions about not only what he wanted next but how he wanted to feel. Would he continue to wallow in hurt and or use his pain as an opportunity to make some positive changes? Just that bit of soul searching put him on a better feeling trajectory where hope could enter his heart.

Pretty soon he was telling himself things like, “nothing but the best,” and “ignore the beast, follow the feast” (his words, again). That remarkable shift in the core of his thinking and feeling allowed him to slowly, consciously pilot his life forward; and that was the key difference – he was consciously piloting his life now. I could sense the power and truth of what his inner shift had led him to know because as he spoke to me I could feel his expectation of happiness resonate in my heart.

Challenges Are Opportunities

The captain commanded his desires into fruition because first, he came to understand and command the power of his own conscious, emotional awareness. Creative energy or creative expression is set through the energy of emotions (e-motion) and we have choices in each moment about how we feel. The captain recognized his inner power to feel good by lining up his emotional (or feeling) nature with his desires.   He made the important decision to keep his focus on inner (heart) happiness and from there everything else flows.

Beginning with just a slight bit of inner hope – the inner call to renew his adventure of exploring – and then openly questioning his path forward, the commander had simply surrendered resistance and became willing to recreate himself and his life.  The universe responded by offering evidence of the power of his decision to become a deliberate creator – his life is filled with wonderful new adventures but more importantly, his heart is full of the love that attracts all those adventures. He is a conduit for his own joyful energy, the same joyful energy each and every one of us can experience.

How do you become the captain of your heart?

Becoming the captain of your heart is not about the manifestation of things.  We tend to put our energy and effort into what we want to acquire rather than on feeling good first.   Captains of the heart are pleased with what they think about and feel as they come into harmony with their true, innermost creativity and desires.  That starts with being okay with where you are in this moment, here and now.

The captain made a decision to feel good in his experience of life, in the present moment where he was standing. That decision summoned the energy of hope and inspired him to use his growing conscious awareness to conjure his life on his terms.

The value of emotionally soul-searching for why you want what you want until you feel it is yours in your heart is that in the process your energy for creating your desires grows stronger. That is the eternal secret the captain discovered. Now he watches the manifestations of his joyful heart move into and through his life daily with surprise and delight.

Seeing With The Heart

In my new book, Seeing With The Heart, I take the reader through a guided journey of exploring and growing a heart-felt connection with their true self. Opening the door to loving oneself, finding compassion for where you stand and connecting with authentic power is the process for stepping to the helm of your joyful life. I invite you to take the next step and become the captain of your heart.

True Passion

True Passion

There is a bit of a debate going on about overuse of the word ‘passion’ to describe doing what you love.  It seems that it doesn’t matter if you are talking about a career, a relationship or an exercise routine, passion has become synonymous with feeling like you are “all in” to whatever excites you most. In my own life I have felt enthusiastic about many things but I am not sure I would classify doing them as my passion. So that made me wonder, what is true passion?

Perhaps the controversy over ‘passion’ has more to do with attempts to define it simply as ‘living your dream’ rather than delving into the emotional aspects of passion – that inner excitement that isn’t so easy to explain.  I am a big proponent of living your dreams, but if those dreams are not fueled by an inner personal connection to an undeniable source of delight (some may describe this as a calling), then roadblocks on the path to realizing them might put my dreams in jeopardy.  It doesn’t seem to me that something I am passionate about – something that feeds my very soul – should incur insurmountable obstacles or that I should have to struggle to experience it . However, I am not sure this distinction is understood in the current way passion is interpreted.

What is true passion?

I like the idea of passion feeling like a call from within; and knowing that I can become aware of the passion already inside of me. In the psycho-spiritual sense, passion is experienced as an all encompassing, joyful or happy feeling that flows from deep connection with your true essence, that higher consciousness of self, the feeling you have when you know you are on the right path, doing what you were meant to do.   My passion runs through my heart and soul waiting for me to align with it.

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Passion is a feeling that tells you: This is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. This feeling is so good that it cannot be ignored. I’m going to follow my bliss and act upon this glorious sensation of joy.”

Think of something that speaks only to you, something you feel intensely happy about doing. It can be something that feels meaningful or purposeful. Passion is that exciting, emotional fuel or energy from your inner spirit that drives expression of your unique purpose.  It lights the creative spark within as you open your heart and feel a tingling within you. It doesn’t go away. In fact, its force grows bigger the more you focus on the joy it offers. Passion is the wonderful feeling of your Divine spirit alive within you, awakened and powerfully flowing enthusiastic energy to an idea that feels like it has to unfold as you contemplate it.  Consider passion as a new way of experiencing your authentic self, one that moves beyond the trappings of accumulating things and the approval of others, to living with gusto.

Passion lives in us all

The fulfillment of true passion comes from enthusiastically sharing gifts of the authentic self as you engage in the activities of your life.  Everyone has the presence of passion within because each of us has unique gifts and abilities that we can align with, creatively express and experience as our greatest joy. Passion isn’t dependent upon money or family dynamics, and there are no excuses that can prevent true passion. Passion is the key ingredient in fulfilling who you truly are – aligned with the energy of Spirit joyfully expressing.

How do you find something to be passionate about?

Take a moment to contemplate something that frees your passion. What can you be? Is there something you have been feeling called to do?  Write a book? Build a ship? Start a business? Perhaps you have a vision you have been carrying around for years. What wisdom do you have that gets your juices flowing? That’s all you need to know.  Be willing to allow your passion to speak up and feel the presence of your inner essence wanting to be active in your life. Give yourself some time to reflect as you think about your passion. Use a journal or a sketch pad to bring your passion forward in your imagination. Shape it into a vision – what does it sound like, feel like, look like? Let your enthusiasm create it to life.  Do not worry about how it will be accomplished. Just keep saying ‘yes’ to the feelings, images and the burning desire coming from within. Those are the signals your passion offers you to follow as you bring your dreams forward. You will find that you are propelled in a direction that seems motivated by a force beyond your control. Then when you experience good feeling ideas, or observe doors opening on your path be willing to act and take the next step.  Following your passion is the surest way to living a life of meaning, fulfillment and joy.

3 Steps To Tap Into Your True Passion

There is no need to struggle to tap into your passion. Passions can shift and change in intensity but in essence they are always with you.  Think again about that thing that gets you going and fills you with purpose.

  1. All the things you love to do, that motivate you because you fill up with a deep appreciation and love for them when you think about them are things that may ignite your passion.  However, you want to truly go to the depths of your soul to narrow in on them. Make a list of things you love and hone in on the top 5 things. You may start with a list of 25 but get it down to 5 by thinking about those things that you can lose yourself in; that make time, and the distractions of the outside world irrelevant to your enjoyment.
  2. Make it a point to express appreciation for the smaller passionate moments when you notice a feeling of joy flooding through you.  This can happen on walk outside in nature, or in the moment of a child’s smile. The more ways you appreciate passion the more passion you bring into your life.
  3. Tune into who you really are.  Act on the small things that excite you each day, that you feel inspired to do, without judging or measuring them against any standard except your own joy.  These are the threads that shed light on your path, connect you with your purpose and resonate with your passion. 


     Seeing with the Heart Guided Inspiration Journal.
    Available For Purchase HERE.


When Joy Leaves……..Invite It Back

When Joy Leaves……..Invite It Back

Joy Is Good For Our Health

It lifts our spirits and relieves our stress. Scientific research has proven the benefits of a joyful disposition. Overall people who are joyful have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, colds and flu, and high blood pressure. The brain of optimistic people is healthier, too. The part of the brain responsible for memory and concentration (hippocampus,) as well as the left frontal cortex is more active. There are no negative physiological or psychological side effects from joy.

Joy is also an essential emotion for feeling alive and living fully. It is our birthright; a natural state of being human that energizes us. Being joyful has an amazing power to connect with other positive emotions – freedom, inner peace, happiness, creativity, harmony – and inspire love for ourselves and our lives.

No matter what multitude of pressures have our attention in everyday life, full-of-joy is something we all seem to be desiring and striving for. The problem is we are so used to putting it aside that our default setting seems to be set to adding in joy only if we have some time. We treat being joyful as if it is an outside event that depends on circumstances or people lining up in a certain way before we give ourselves permission to let it in.

I have heard joy referred to as the oxygen of life and I really like that metaphor. Like oxygen, joy is ever-present and we all have access to it. When we give up expecting life to be a certain way, surrender inner resistance and struggle, and let go of the imbalance from constant activity, we naturally align with the reservoir of joy that is always available within us.

The Experience Of Joy

While we all go through challenging times, the good news is that inviting joy back into our lives doesn’t have to be a complete life overhaul. When life is hard, don’t run away from it. Use your emotion as an indication you may be blocking out the inner light of joy and make some small adjustments. Joy is an intrinsic quality of the authentic self that can be easily cultivated in daily experiences. There’s no need to have a special relationship, launch a new career, find a new place to live or really, to do anything special to experience more joy. The experience of being joyful is catering to the light that is already inside of your heart; what you already love.

When You Notice That Joy Has Left Your Life

Consciously invite joy back in by owning what makes you happy, by making space for it in your life, and living what speaks to your joy. While joy is a natural result of tuning into your good feelings, it is also the result of allowing it to flow through conscious choice to make it your natural inclination. In other words, practice it by appreciating the moments that inspire joy each day. It is up to you to see the loveliness of everyday things like birds singing, a creek flowing, the sun shining and flowers growing.

Here are a few tips to get you started with inviting joy back into your life:

  1. Allow yourself to experience joy. You deserve to be joyful because it’s a natural state of being, an essential expression of human nature. We all struggle with negative emotions. You are not alone.
  2. Ask yourself: Am I working too hard at pleasing others, taking care of others, or creating situations so I can enjoy myself? If your answer is genuinely “yes” then you are too stressed to fully enjoy deep connections with others.
  3. Fill your cup each morning with reasons you are joyful. Think of these as reminders that life is good. Appreciate when you notice one of these reasons pop into your mind during the day.
  4. Make time for joy in small ways. Ask yourself: What speaks to me that is joyful? Dancing with the music turned up in the kitchen? Sitting outside at sunset? Smiling more often? When you prioritize joy, life gets better.
  5. Think about how you might welcome joy to lead to the way during your day. You can just as easily learn new things through joy and have fun at the same time.



Seeing with the Heart
Inspiration Journal.
Available for purchase HERE.

Springing Forth

Springing Forth

Spring Is A Time of New Beginnings

Spring is one of the most creative periods of life.  A time of new beginnings and rebirth in most world traditions, Spring metaphysically represents that period in the cycle of life when we re-emerge from darkness, ready for a fresh start. Awakened by the energy of increasing light stirring within, we leave winter behind and eagerly plant the aspirations conjured during the darkness. Spring inspires us to create anew and explore our lives in new directions.

In the northern USA, Earth’s magical rebirth is readily apparent in more daylight hours, a hint of warmer weather, fresh green shoots, pretty daffodils, and the return of chirping birds.   The changes on the landscape come slowly in March, and excitement for more green plants, more color in the fields, and more sunshine makes us a bit impatient for April and May.  However, if we observe the passage of Spring from a metaphysical perspective we will see things in a different way; especially the early stages of emerging of new life.

The will to live, the desire to grow, and joyfully, abundantly express the inner essence, or that potential for fulfillment that new life carries within, are the seeds of early Spring. The outer signs of new life appear once the inner energy is aligned set in motion.  The adventure of self-transformation happens in much the same way as we lovingly bring our dreams into focus in our hearts and then to fruition in the world.  We experience a time when not much may be showing up in the outer realms but can feel the energy of desire growing through attention and emotional excitement within.  As we might plan a garden, then water the seeds of its flowers and tend to them as seedlings, transformation occurs gradually as we shift into more and more clarity about our desires until we are ready to put them into the fertile soil to take root and grow. “Active-waiting” is what philosopher Gabriel Marcel called it. Guided by inner passion, creative spark and belief in the potential for more joy in our lives, we are rejuvenated and revitalized as signs of change emerge.  We are encouraged to persist in our dreams.  As new ideas or perspectives come into being our spirit lifts and we lean into the future with optimism.

Spring Is A Time Of Transition

Spring is also a time of transition, and transition can be stressful as we move from old to new. The key to transition is to remember to start where you are.  Make peace with the process of letting go of the past, giving in to the present and opening up to the new. Change is constant and Spring shows us that everything comes and goes, and is reborn into something new. Think of this time as a bridge to where you want to go.  Plant your seeds in the softening earth of compassion for yourself and trust in your inner calling to grow.

How much of this creative period do you miss each year? Don’t let Spring pass you by. Go out today, tune into the wisdom of your inner refreshed nature, and plant some dreams.

Here are few ways to enjoy Spring’s emergence and tap into the power of renewal:

  • Spring Cleaning
    • Clean out your closets
    • Rearrange your furniture
    • Ask yourself:  What am I ready to surrender, release and let go of?  This could be a habit, an old belief about yourself or a routine that isn’t working for you.
  • Start a Dream Journal
    • Keep it by your bed and record your dreams in the morning
    • Examine your dreams for opportunities to make some changes.  Is something new calling to you through your dreams?
  • Set Some New Intentions
    • Arrange a time and place for 15 minutes of meditation each morning.
    • After meditation when your mind is calm and clear choose a desire or a goal to focus on in quiet thought for 5 minutes.  Allow yourself to feel what it would be like to live your dream right now.  Brighten up the details by doing this each day for a week.
    • Create a vision board about your desire, journal about it or put a post-it note with your intention on the bathroom mirror.

Welcome Change Into Your Life With This Guided Meditation

Marilyn Decalo Logo, Phoenix

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