Should you lower your expectations of people?
Lower your expectations? Huh?
Have you ever noticed that high expectations that aren’t met tend to cause you misery and disappointment?
Last week we talked about how humanity has always had a propensity to define and label everything and how this labeling creates strong beliefs about how people should be, do, and act.
However, these strong beliefs, particularly regarding people’s behavior, cause alot of friction between people because everyone has different ideas about what’s best.
It’s important to understand that what we’re talking about here is not whether having expectations is good, bad, right or wrong. It’s about examining your thought processes, determining where your expectations actually come from, then deciding if those expectations are actually benefiting you or just making you miserable.
Most people believe their expectations are reasonable and some might say that if you lower your expectations you’re just enabling people to be less than what they’re capable of.
But, hanging on to frequently unmet expectations will always cause you disappointment, frustration, and strain on your relationships. Even if your expectation seems perfectly reasonable to you, it may not seem so to the other person. If you keep expecting something and it never happens, you are the one always setting yourself up for unhappiness it that relationship.
But what if… You come to realize that your expectations are the main thing that cause you the most disappointment in life and you could avoid all that pain if you just focus on your own business and stop worrying so much about what other people do or don’t do?
The second half of Verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching talks about ‘Nurturing things without possessing them‘
Having expectations of someone is a kind of possessiveness. You possess an idea of how YOU think people should be or how YOU believe people should behave or act. When they don’t measure up, YOU are the one that becomes upset because of the idea you’re clinging to.
In reality, your misery isn’t caused by that other person. It is wholly caused by the idea you possess in your own mind.
What if, you lower your expectations, release your possessive attitudes about people, and instead simply “nurture” the relationships you have with them?
How would your life change? How would the dynamic of your relationships change? Do you think you might be happier?
How to Lower your expectations at work and be happier now
Read the last half of verse 2 again.
It says “he works, but not for rewards; he competes, but not for results. When the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever.“
What if you apply this principle to your work? You could lower your expectations by not focusing so much on what you hope to gain, recognition you expect to receive, or goals you want to reach.
Maybe this part of the verse is telling you to focus on enjoying the work you are doing right now in the moment.
If we are always focused on the end result aka the future, can we ever truly be happy right now in the present?
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What do YOU think? Comment below…
This is week 4 of our Saturday Morning Mastermind study of
“Change your thoughts Change your life” by Wayne Dyer
Read Chapter 2 – Living the paradoxical unity
and tell us what you think verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching and Wayne Dyer are telling us…
Tao Te Ching – Verse 2
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,
only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Being and nonbeing produce each other.
The difficult is born in the easy.
Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
Before and after go along with each other.
So the sage lives openly with apparent duality
and paradoxical unity.
The sage can act without effort and teach without words.
Nurturing things without possessing them,
he works, but not for rewards;
he competes, but not for results.
When the work is done, it is forgotten.
That is why it lasts forever.
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