WHAT DETERMINES 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.
FUEL EXPECTATIONS WITH EMOTION
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.
HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE HAPPINESS?
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.