Day 40: Enjoying what is.

The danger of expectations.

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“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.” ―Brandon Sanderson

Whenever I look back upon the moments in my life where I was either somewhat unhappy or altogether upset, I find that there is a common thread connecting the vast majority of those experiences. In the end, this connection boils down to just two words: planning ahead.

Whenever I am fully present in the current moment — that is, thinking only about what is happening now and not what could be happening later — I’m content. As soon as I begin to place expectations on the future, however, things tend to take a turn for the worse. But, as I am frequently reminded, this turn of events can often be largely (if not entirely) attributed to expectations.

The following passage from Pathways of Light does a great job of capturing the sentiment:

“Expectations are a form of grievance. By expecting events to happen a certain way, [you are] putting a condition on the outer world that determines whether or not [you] will be happy. [This] leaves [you] thinking [you are] a victim to the outside world. [You] can never experience lasting peace as long as [you] hang on to expectations.”

The next time you find yourself struggling to cope with a difficult situation, do your best to separate fact from fiction. Is the current situation truly that bad, or were you simply hoping for something better?

Jana Marie is a Croatian-born writer living amidst the restorative embrace of the Canadian prairies. Through her writing, she examines the interplay between self and society as she works to both illuminate and explore the power of contemplative thinking. She hopes that 100 Mindful Days, a 100-day project combining teachings from the worlds of personal development, psychology, and spirituality, will soon be her first book.

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