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  • Writer's pictureFiona Feeley

The trap of expectation

It’s no longer enough to be average – it’s become associated with dullness, failure and mediocrity. We all have to create a legacy – a life paved with success and wealth, a relationship of twilight proportions, a sculpted body, acquisition of qualifications and career progression, a mansion to come home to and an Insta-worthy social life. Our conviction of entitlement to greatness sees us pouring money into the hands of coaches that promise us happiness and success.

And yet our expectations are the source of so much unhappiness. Now that’s a sweeping statement that perhaps requires a little clarification. There is nothing wrong with wanting great things for your life. We all need to work to the full of our potential; we deserve to feel of value and purpose; to feel appreciated, loved and desired. We should seek to educate ourselves, to do meaningful work and to care for our mind and body. And social awareness is essential, to connect and to adopt a philanthropist attitude in as many ways as possible. However, these are ideals and virtues to work towards. When we see them as a set destination, we lose focus on the importance of appreciating the day to day intricacies that make up our life. Happiness and achievement are not permanent states of being and when we place all of our sense of worth in what we are conditioned into thinking will get us there, we are neglecting acceptance for our lives for what they are, in this very moment.

Our ultimate goal should be to find peaceful acceptance of whatever our current reality is. And yet we don’t sit easily with this as it involves embracing the average, mundane, humdrum highs, lows and middle-ground that is life. We have to accept our fallibility and failings and find solace in our limitations. We have to work at our relationships with no guarantee that they’ll survive. We will struggle, suffer and let ourselves and others down. When we have unrealistic expectations for a continuous stream of happiness, we are setting ourselves up for ongoing disappointment. Now again to clarify, there is nothing wrong per se with working towards happiness however when we lose sight of the bitter sweet beauty that is our current reality; we deny ourselves the potential for a peaceful contentment that is conditional on nothing.

If you are fulling dissatisfied, perhaps another accolade or experience is not the answer. Maybe everything you need to be is already inside you, just waiting to be acknowledged, accepted and appreciated. And perhaps the beauty in being amazingly average lies in its simplicity in a world of complexity.

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Twitter: @fundamentallyfi

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