Expectations Reduce Joy – So Reclaim your happiness!

“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.”

Expectations reduce joy is one of the mantra I learnt in a course by Art of Living foundation headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji. I attended this course more than 20 years back. It is a very simple statement but it truly holds a lot of meaning.

Over the years this statement has had different meanings for me. It started as being just a statement and as I got married and came across the complex situations in life, a reminder of this helped me sail out of times that were otherwise weighing heavy or holding me back in life.

For a long time I would question, How in the world can we let go of expectations? Should I not even have expectations from people I love and who claim they love me too? But the truth and the answers to my questions always came to me in the form of this simple statement – “Expectations reduce joy”

As a rule now whenever I feel that something is making me unhappy, I look back and see what was it that I was expecting from the situation and that did not turn out as per my expectations. I almost always realize that there were some expectations that I had and that was pulling me down.

In fact one must not have expectations even from themselves. Do the task you are supposed to do or that takes you towards your goal…. but do not be centered in the results.

Now that I am reading Gita, I see why Krishna asked Arjuna to give up the fruits of his hard work and just work with no expectations in return. This is in fact the secret to a happy life. It brings us in the moment.

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”

Stephen Hawking

But this does not happen easily. It has taken me years of practice and reminder and yet I know even with all this knowledge sometimes I fall prey to expectations. It is a part of our nature and it is something we have to win over. For me I believe meditation also happened me in making my mind stronger. The results of meditation are experienced outside the the meditation. If you have never meditated and would like to know more do read this post I wrote for beginners of meditation.

You may also get in touch with me for a meditation session.

Coming back to expectations and how they stole my joy in life, or might for you. When I was married I had long years of separation from husband due to his occupation. My life was perfect otherwise in ever aspect, yet I was centered around those expectations and I found myself sulking.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”.

Similarly we walk in a relationship with certain expectations from the other person which does no harm to that person but to ourselves.

Now I do not say make do with whatever you have. It is important to know what is acceptable and not acceptable, but you cannot totally define how the other person will be. If a person totally crosses the lines, is a bully etc, it makes sense to walk out of the relationship. But to expect your partner to know you expect surprises, or expect him to be the man/ woman of your dreams, is actually going to only take away your happiness.

When it comes to relationships, my advice is you do your best without any expectations. People are different and accepting rather than expectations make for a beautiful relation.

Similarly we have expectations from life, but life surprises us all the time. Like this past year plus must have been terrible for so many of us because this was something we did not expect in our wildest lives. In fact it took away our not so perfect life and made us sit on a roller coaster.

Life is full of surprises and living with expectations is only going to make us miserable. Letting go and living in the moment is the key to a happy and rich life.

In the end it is all about controlling your mind. About saying the right things to yourself. Expectations are thoughts and thoughts are in our control

“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”

Lisa Kleypas

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z and this post corresponds to letter E!


I am a health enthusiast, healer and an artist and apart for these most importantly i am mommy to an angel and wife to a gentleman. I use to teach management graduates but post my daughter happened my time at home gave me chance to explore my other passions. Now as she is 5 year old I am still not ready to leave her and return to work.

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4 Responses

  1. Sabiha says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Expectations definitely reduce joy and impact your sanity. Nicely written

  2. Satabdi says:

    It is quite hard to give up expectations, I’ve found, but it’s the only way to get peace.

  3. Expectations in fact do reduce joy. So true.

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