Excessive Expectations Keep Us From Enjoying the Little Things

· January 20, 2017

In life, we tend to want more and more of everything and this goes on until it is an impulse to obtain everything we desire. Expectations are subjective and biased, and we absolutely must not confuse being ambitious with have excessive expectations. Often we realize that our expectations are based on idealization of our friendships, relationships, and undertakings.

Expectations are a double-edged sword that we must know how to handle to our own benefit. Sometimes they are the necessary incentive to help us move forward, and other times, the most direct route to a personal letdown. Having positive expectations about something is a way to feel hopeful, helping us anticipate the satisfactory outcome of a situation. The danger comes when we are overly optimistic, although it would be more appropriate to call this unrealistic.

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

-Denis Waitley-

Humility, the prescription against unrealistic expectations

Humility can be defined as the awareness of our own weaknesses and limitations and acting in accordance with this knowledge. We can feel proud of ourselves when we recognize our successes and improvements without feeling superior to the rest of mankind. We should all make an effort each and every day to cultivate our humility.


Cultivating humility will distance us from disproportionate pride. A haughty or overly proud person hides his lack of knowledge to face certain situations. A haughty person feels better and more important than those around him and as such, his goals must always be greater and better than those of others, sometimes leading him to create rather incoherent goals with his overestimated capabilities.

Girl in Lotus

Humble people are authentic people, without complexes, with high self-esteem. They are people so sure of themselves that they do not need to shout how great they are from the tallest mountain every hour of the day. They are people who draw us in, infect us with hope and passion, and who enjoy every day of their lives.

“The secret of wisdom, power, and knowledge is humility.”

-Ernest Hemingway-

Practicing gratitude will help us appreciate the little things

Practicing gratitude is one of the most important activities that we can undertake and a great source of well being. In addition to feeling better about ourselves and making others feel better, it will allow us to undergo changes and improvement in an aware and serene way, distancing ourselves from all urgency.

There are people who seem thankful for everything that life puts in their path without any apparent effort on their part, and yet there are others who find it incredibly difficult because they still haven’t learned how to do it. Complaining and permanently unsatisfied attitudes lead us not to be happy or satisfied with what we have.

No matter how much we achieve or have, if we only focus on what we do not have instead of being thankful for what we do have, we will be condemned to unhappiness. Gratitude is an attitude that is born of humility, which is why in order to be thankful, we first must be humble, a quality that permanently unsatisfied people tend to lack.

Eye Drawn With Plants

Expressing gratitude, from a simple smile to a “thank you,” letting the other person know that their presence, their words, or their actions are important, and that they help us in some way with the things they do. It is a matter of showing respect and appreciating what others do for us independently of what their motivation is for doing it.

If we expect to wake up each morning, we are not very likely to feel thankful to be alive.