Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Dissatisfaction

Are You Expecting Too Much? Is it time to evaluate or eliminate unreasonable rules and expectations.

When we are feeling a bit dissatisfied with the way life is, we tend to make judgements about other’s actions that are somewhat misaligned or skewed.

We might miscontrue their intentions, place expectations on others and inadvertantly set up rules for how life should be, when there may be an alternative explanation.

Do you ever catch yourself thinking:

“He was late, so he must not care about me.” – Or –

perhaps he just got caught in traffic.

“If I can’t do this correctly, then I must not be smart enough.” – Or –

perhaps you just need more practice.

“I haven’t heard back from my doctor, so the test results must be bad.” – Or

– perhaps the lab is just really busy and your results aren’t available yet.

Marc and Angel

Inventing rules like these about how life must be, based on stubborn expectations, may lead to dissatifaction. We must deal with the world the way it is, not the way you expect it to be. 

Life is under no obligation to give you exactly what you expect. 

This isn’t to say that you should never expect anything at all from yourself and others such as diligence, honesty, ambition, but rather that the rules that govern your expectations should not steer you toward unreasonably negative conclusions.

Just because it didn’t turn out like you had envisioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what you need to get to where you ultimately want to go.

Marc and Angel

If you feel dissatisfied or let down by an outcome, then you might have been thinking or expecting something quite different. 

Were your expectations too high/narrow?”

“What new truths have you learned from this experience?”

Keeping an external focus allows us to find a lesson somewhere from every experience. When we find the lesson, we can grow from such an experience, rather than retreat into misery or unhelpful mindsets.

We must be careful to see and accept things as they are instead of allowing ourselves to be upset that things are not as you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. 

Acceptance can be empowering.

43 thoughts on “Dissatisfaction”

        1. I would not say that I was a Dickens fan, but I did enjoy Great Expectations, probably because of the historical element that is connected with Australia. Some of his stories are depressing. Not a Proust fan either.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There was a television adaptation which extended the original story. That had more about the convicts who made their fortune in colonial Australia. I can’t remember how much of that was in the book.

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  1. I did not know you read Marc and Angel. I read so much of their stuff years ago and loved it. Expectations are the root of suffering, is I think a Buddhist philosophy. I want people to be honest, kind and respectful but I must be that first. That will draw those to me. But when you get a daily dose of it, I think it’s time to move away and let them be what they are. I can only change me. I still find myself judging myself on occasion but catch it quicker now. Great post, Amanda.

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    1. I read Marc and Angel almost 10 years ago. Their ideas are timeless and practical.
      You are so right on the Buddhist philosophy and we do need to practice it ourselves first.
      Interesting that you mentioned: “being thoughtful and respectful can draw like-minded folk to oneself.” That bodes well. There are, as you alluded – limits to this. It overlaps with self-protection and where one finds the line to draw between giving and caring and then also – helping others. There are times when the best help is to let them be, giving them space walking away.

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    1. Living in the moment is something I try to do. It helps to keep perspective. The future and the past are only constructs of the mind, aren’t they 100 Country Trek?

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    1. For those of us who are inclined to think negatively, it is extremely hard to just suddenly think ‘positive.’ Do not feel that it is a failure if you can’t do this. After all, those negative thinking pathways have become entrenched in our brain’s circuitry for some time.
      I wonder if starting to think more positively in one small area of life, or for a short time frame, each day, would work. Say, for 30 minutes each day you decide you will refuse to think negatively – even if you don’t fully believe the positivity vibe at first. It will take a huge and consistent effort to think differently at first, as those circuits in the brain are not used to being used and our thinking will always follow the easiest route or neural pathway in the brain before trying to create a new one.
      Last year I conducted an experiment to think I was going to have a lucky year. I had no pretensions that it was going to work. But I just decided almost to prove them wrong – that it was all claptrap. Despite this, I decided to just ‘expect’ luck to come my way and I did that for a month. Lo and behold, there were lucky moments. I began to notice more and more lucky moments, so much so that I extended the experiment from a month to several months. I continued to have good fortune. Things just fell into place and instead of worrying about them, I began to think – I don’t need to worry because just for this year, it is my lucky year. I was blown away that it worked. in reality, I imagine that my life DOES AND DID HAVE lucky moments and I never noticed them previously, because I was too busy worrying and thinking negatively. In the end, my husband got on board, as he started talking about expecting luck to come our way too.
      This strategy of thinking on a more positive note is not perfect and one blogger I know feels guilty that he cannot think positively.
      It is very important NOT to EVER feel guilty if you can’t do this. It is not for everyone. I was forced to begin to think differently in order to save my son from depression and suicide. I had to create a really positive atmosphere around him, so I had to do this, I had to start thinking a different way. It did help and in doing so, I believe I changed my brain chemistry somewhat as well.
      I hope it works for you. I hear that you are already halfway there already, because it sounds like you have a level of acceptance in your words?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well said. I’ll definitely practice what you outlined. Thanks a lot for your kind words. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I need this badly at this crucial juncture. I’m moving to a new job in this chaotic scenario. All types of unhealthy thoughts are floating around. I badly needed a whiff of fresh perspective.

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  2. Well said. I used to expect so much more from people and was perpetually disappointed. Somewhere along the line I figured out that with my unrealistic expectations I was setting myself up for unhappiness so I became more chill. Now I attempt to take people as they are, and situations as they are, and me as I am. Works most of the time.

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    1. You discovered the secret, Ally! Acceptance that others are just doing the best they can at their stage of their own life’s journey, is such a useful life skill that has the potential reward of contentment. Good on you.
      When you say – it works most of the time, is in injustices or bullying/harassment that crosses a line, or something else?

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      1. Interesting question. I’d say that injustice is what brings me down the most. I know rationally that there are people who are cruel and intolerant, but I get irritated by such stupidity– even though I realize I shouldn’t expect them to be anything that they cannot be. They choose to be awful, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always let it slide.

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        1. Cruel or intolerant acts are very hard to stomach or understand the motivation and you are right not to let it slide. You say these folk choose to be awful. They need to be accountable for their actions but I wonder if their motivation for such acts is completely within their choice? Have they never witnessed a different way to react to situations? A different way to deal with anger/irritation/jealous emotions?
          One tends to lump difficult people in the “too far gone,” “just a mentally ill/ psycho/nutter/racist/bigot,” etc basket. Their behaviour is not acceptable, for we a society cannot function with anarchy. However, someone recently described poor behavious as having a background of “pain,” and that the motivations of such people are due to them as being so emotionally full, so full to the brim that they cannot entertain any other opinion or thought. It is only when they are prepared to let go of something that allows them to see another perspective/attitude/way of operating. Is this where a conscious choice comes in, or simply where they are in terms of their own emotional journey? Although their behaviour still bothers me and is unacceptable, are they doing the best they can with what they were given/ what they have in the context of their upbringing/experience/circumstances? I am still thinking about that.

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  3. Powerful last sentence. Acceptance to things we can’t change, it is a biggie. Dealing with the frustration of not being able to change something negative to positive is not easy. Mine has nothing to do with people’s behaviour, just insidious cancer.

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  4. Wow, Amanda, You have given me so much to think about. Then I began reading through all of the amazing comments.

    I have also been a fan of Marc and Angel for over ten years. Their wisdom and words are timeless and often arrive when you need to hear them. I ordered a series of their books years ago and I have “1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently” on my bedside table. As you and others have said in the comments, the important word/concept for me is “Acceptance” especially when relating to the people.

    The concept of “positivity” also comes up often, almost in a negative, Polly Annish way. I am very aware of the seriousness of many of the challenges in today’s world and always. My persona and my body cannot live and function in a 24/7 Negative mind set. I get almost physically ill. You sound similar to me, Amanda, on how we have learned skills along the way to frame challenging situations so we can move forward. Like you say well, finding the lessons is always important. I don’t know whether you and I have discussed how we are in “Earth School,” a common phrase I think from Gary Zukov years ago. A great, thought-provoking post!

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    1. I had to hold on from answering this comment so I could research Gary Zukov and the ‘earth school.’
      That was fascinating reading and viewing from his stints with Oprah, to his book, which I am going to see if I can source. His philosophy appears closely aligned with Buddhist thinking with a mix of cognitive therapy/thinking skills. Thank you for introducing him to me.
      I do not doubt that you could feel physically ill in highly negative environments. Possibly also you feel drained of energy as well? May I ask if you are in a negative environment and you cannot leave, say a work or extended family situation, how do you manage that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Amanda, I was not too sure where I had heard the term “Earth school.” Possibly in a few places. Gary Zukov’s book “Seat of the Soul” was life changing for me many moons ago. Your last question is a great question. Likely many levels to it and depends on specifics. My other favourite book over the years is “The Four Agreements.” I am not sure whether you and I have already mentioned it. It always helped me when I was working in the Dental field with many people(stressed our people:) And, of course also with family situations and dynamics. My latest thoughts with all that is going on is to try to deal only with my present day. Not look at what used to be, or worry about what may happen in the future. Easier said than done. Age old wisdoms. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. Take care.

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    1. Oh my goodness. That is completely tragic that your friend could not be happy with what she did have. Troubled minds can educate us not to make the same mistake or slip into the same mindset.

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        1. It is hard to think of that when we are grieving but in time, we can develop something positive. I had a friend who lost her husband at a young age and had a young daughter. Whilst devastated to lose her husband, she was never very close to her daughter as the husband had done everything for the little girl while she worked as a professional. When he passed, she found that she became very close with her daughter, something that would not have been possible with her husband there. The silver lining ….

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