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Jeff Wolf

Writer / Adventurer

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Could the answer to our happiness be found in NO expectations?

Barry suggests, tongue-in-cheek, that the answer to happiness is low expectations. Could the answer be that happiness is found in NO expectations? While low expectations would mean you’re seldom disappointed, it also speaks to a person’s self-worth; I do not deserve more or better. Having no expectations doesn’t diminish my sense of worth and it does more than reduce disappointment; it allows joy and contentment in all circumstances.

If I work a long day and expect dinner on the table when I get home, I am disappointed (and possibly angry) when the expectation is not met. If dinner is on the table, it is merely what I expected. I may exchange pleasantries and say “Thank You”. But the experience is completely different if I had no expectation and found that someone had thought of me and taken the time to prepare a meal for me. My gratitude is real. My enjoyment is real. The experience of the meal is increased.

When I expect nothing, I am more than just “not disappointed” when I receive. I am pleased and thankful, even for the smallest things.

Topics: future happiness
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    Aug 24 2011: Hi Jeff I think adjusting expectations is a quite a good way to reduce negative feelings like anger in what you mentioned in the example. and i wouldnt think it is The answers to happiness since expectations is not much correlated with happiness.
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      Aug 24 2011: Hi Amily.

      If I don’t expect something bad to happen, it would also reduce fear (maybe all negative emotions can be reduced this way). Hmmm ... want to think on that more.

      I’m trying to understand how happiness and expectations are not correlated (others have said this too). It seems to me that the happiness I experience (regardless of definition) is reduced when filtered through co-existing negative feelings like anger, pain, fear, sorrow, dread, etc. I agree that reducing the negative is not a cause of the positive. But if it has an impact on my experience of happiness (increasing it), then isn’t there a relationship between the two?

      I see this is not the answer to happiness, but it seems to be part of the tapestry that creates a more positive experience of living.
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        Aug 25 2011: I see what you mean ,you are kinda exploring that ...

        It seems to me that the happiness I experience (regardless of definition) is reduced when filtered through co-existing negative feelings like anger, pain, fear, sorrow, dread, etc.-thats sounds to me you attributed the reduced happiness to presence of negative feelings.and you agreed the absence of the negative feelings dosent increase happiness.

        so its like A can have impace on B but B dosent necessarily have imapact on A.

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