RESET EXPECTATIONS = 0 for Happiness in life!


RESET ‘EXPECTATIONS = 0’ for Happiness in life!


‘In the sea of expectations, one can only drown.’ 

We live in the sea of expectations of all forms and sizes – small or big, simple or complicated, less or more, high or low, and many more. Our whole life we struggle to meet the expectations of everyone around us, including ourselves, and end up being disappointed, frustrated and pained when these expectations are not met. 

Everyone is very much aware of the fact that in this ‘Sea of Expectations’ there is no way out but only sinking. Expectations are like demons who would finally drown you but instead of making the sea demon-free, we populate it more with our endless expectations, without realising that it only increases the chance of our drowning. If we could sum up all the causes of hurt, pain, and hatred in one word, it would be expectations

Is the amount of disappointment directly proportional to the Expectation? Expectation leads to disappointments but the amount of disappointment is not proportional. It is highly contextual depending upon the persons from whom you have the expectation. Many times even a small expectation can lead to a large disappointment. Expectations of a birthday gift can spoil the day of the person. Not being able to pursue higher studies in a premier institute, not fulfilling your parent's dreams, or having a beautiful life partner or owning a beautiful apartment, may lead to high disappointment. We keep expecting from all and everything in the surroundings, only to get into a vicious cycle of disappointments. 

The expectations are multi-dimensional. It can be from relationships, materialism, ideology, society, government and many more. But it is at the relationship level which emotionally impacts us most. High expectations burden the relationship and are the prime reason for the stress in it. The love simply vanishes if your partner goes bankrupt. You become a loser in your own eyes if you do not land an MNC job. Expectation leads you to become your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you. 


Let us go one level down to understand the relationships that affect us most. They are primarily at two levels  – 1) with ourselves, and 2) with others.


Expectations from ‘Own self’

Most of us set our benchmark of performance, what we want to see ourselves. ‘I want to be the best version of myself.’ is another most used phrase I see people using. This is again setting the highest expectation. The word ‘Best’ is the most misused one. Why do people want the best out of everything? The disappointment of not having the ‘Best’ can lead to failures at many levels.  You must start loving yourself for everything you are, with all your flaws and your Pluses.


Expectations from ‘Others’

But it is not only the expectation of one own self which leads to disappointment. We also set high expectations from people who are close to us– parents, spouses, children, friends and colleagues. Our pre-conceived expectation in every relationship leads to disappointments, and many times breaks the bonding. 


The root cause of the problem starts from the day we are born. Parents set high expectations from the child before its birth only – boy or girl, fair or dark, healthy or not?  From day one on the earth, the child is aware of the high expectations from him.

Further, in the growing age, the child is burdened with an overdose of expectations – 100% marks in studies, excellence in sports, or high performance in curricular activities. Parents' expectations get into the psyche of the child, and the child goes beyond his capacity to meet the expectations of his parents.  Later, when the child gets into adulthood, these expectation translates into his own because that is what he is being conditioned on from the day he was born.

By the way, expectation is not one-way but bidirectional. When we chase to meet the expectations from us, we too expect the same in return. like a trading system, we get into profit and loss. For example,  it is not only the parents who have expectations but the child too has expectations from his parents, for example – to get all that his friends have. The child's expectation to get the best slowly translates into him setting expectations from his ‘own self’.

One must understand, that too much expectation may lead to continuous scrutiny of the relationship which then leads to frustration. If one is disappointed with oneself, then it would lead to depression and loss of interest in every aspect of life.


So what one must do?

As humans, we will keep expecting and will be disappointed when our expectations are not met. We have to live in the ‘Sea of Expectations’.  But the secret to happiness is having low expectations.  The end of expectation is the beginning of happiness. 


Here is a simple mantra one can follow– ‘Continuously RESET EXPECTATIONS =0’

This means one must proactively, and continuously set his Expectation counter to Zero. A bit of software language but that is what it is  😉

But this is not as easy as said. It needs training in the mind. Whenever you feel disappointed, just tell yourself, This is all because of my expectations, I need to reset my Expectation counter to Zero. Keep reminding yourself.  It works.

In case you forget the mantra and get disappointed, the best way is to put a poster in your room or inside your wardrobe, which has a Zero drawn on it. Just a look at it and you would feel lighter, back on your feet.

As Lord Krishna said in holy ‘Geeta’, ‘Do your duty, without desiring the rewards.’ which essentially meant one must not have expectations of a desired outcome. Don’t expect things to happen the way you want.

The trick to staying floating in the ‘Sea of Expectations’ is not to let these demons breed. Keep reminding yourself to continuously reset expectations = 0. 


Rakhi Sunil Kumar





  • Rakhi Sunil Kumar

    Rakhi Sunil Kumar has published three fictions – ‘Dancing Mirrors’, ‘Bougainvillea Anywhere Everywhere’ and ‘Songs of Water’. She has worked in IT for 30 Years, and now pursuing her interest in Creative Writing!

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