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“Remember, disappointment is caused by unmet expectations. Disappointment is cured by revamped expectations.” – Max Lucado
I read the other day that the majority of people wouldn’t describe themselves as “very happy”, and only half of them would own up to “happy.” That left me feeling unhappy, so the ranks grew in the wrong direction!
Seriously, I’ve noticed that a great number of people aren’t happy lately – and they’re saying with their mouths and screaming it with their lives. Wanting to keep my card in the “Change the world” society, I tried to get my mind around this depressing situation.
The first thing I thought was, “It’s the war on terrorism, combined with hurricanes and other disasters.” Then I realized, these sorts of things have always been a part of life. You can’t find very big chunks in history when there weren’t any national conflicts or natural disasters…..while the economy hummed along blissfully and all God’s people had all they wanted and more. There’s been trouble in the world since Eve batted her first eye lash and Adam’s jaw dropped. Nah, it’s deeper than that.
The main thing I’ve come up with, after thinking so much that my head buzzed is that it boils down to expectations. Where, along the way, did our collective expectations get so freakin’ high? Was it from the explosion of self help books? (How ironic would that be?)
I really think that most of us expect…
- To see a face in the mirror that looks 10 years younger than it should.
- (F) To fit into Nicole Richie’s wardrobe while sporting Beyonce’s impossible assetts.
- (M) To look like a cross between Denzel Washington and James Dean.
- To make a million by 30 and another one by 50.
- To have children who make the Little House on the Prairie crowd look like the Osbournes Uncensored.
- To have a “paper back novel” love life.
- To be not only good at what we do, but to be the best at what we do.
- To drive the hottest car in town and pull it into the driveway of the biggest house in the county.
….and when we come up “short,” we come up frowning. Do we not realize what expectations such as these are doing to us? They’re setting us up to fail and putting a bullseye on our psyche. If there were such a person as the one outlined by these expectations, they’d be such a colossal bore and would lack character and depth to the point that people would run the other direction!
I think that we also are expecting the wrong thing when we think of the word happiness. Happiness isn’t smiling from the minute you get out of bed right up to the minute you fall asleep again. It isn’t having laughter behind every word you utter. It isn’t a day without problems or a year without multiple trips to the mechanic. (Oops, my life snuck in there, sorry.)
It’s a feeling of contentment and peace. Accepting who you are and feeling blessed for what you have. It’s realinzing that your circumstances aren’t going to be perfect, that you aren’t going to be perfect, and that the people around you sure aren’t going to be perfect!
It’s a life of looking at the places that are filled in your life as opposed to looking at the spaces that aren’t.
That’s happiness. What did we expect?
Make each moment count double,