In general, I am pretty good about living with a grateful heart. I strive to remind myself on a regular basis that I have a good life, especially on a material level. There is no doubt that I live a more comfortable life than many people in the world. As I live my life I try to appreciate everything, big and small, that makes my life better.
Where I struggle is having expectations of life and people when almost every spiritual tradition tells us to have no expectations about anything or anyone. The source of much personal unhappiness is having expectations about life and people. As a result I am often disappointed. To be fair, I subject myself to these same unrealistic expectations and therefore I am often disappointed in my own behavior as well.
It is very difficult to have no expectations. We all want things from life and other people. We may even need these things. Too often I expect life, other people, and myself to be at peak performance. More often than not, life and people, including me, seem to under perform. I am rarely surprised by other people’s behavior. At the same time, even though I am now 67 years old, I continuously fall into the same dysfunctional patterns of behavior and thinking. Keep in mind that I am a man who has spent much of his life consciously trying to become a better version of myself. Less I appear too unkind and lacking compassion towards my fellow men and woman, I am as guilty as anyone.
How do we live better lives? How can we live in such a way that doesn’t disappoint most of the people around us, whether it be at home or in the work place? I honestly don’t know. Many times I feel like a failure in this great experiment called life. I am sure I must disappoint some people on a daily basis especially since my reputation is sometimes greatly enhanced by people.
I think we can be happier if we have no expectations. Without expectations we are rarely disappointed. When we have no expectations every good act or deed is a surprise to us. We are probably most happy when we are surprised by life. If we are constantly disappointed, only sadness can follow.
I apologize to anyone I have disappointed by not meeting their expectations. The reality is that I am a very flawed human being.
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