Last updated October, 2018.
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Last month we discussed "demanding expectations." Here are a few examples:
(read the original article here)
Implied in demanding expectations is the desire for things to be different. It can be something small - "That dog needs to stop barking." Or, something big - "My partner has to change or I'm leaving him/her."
We want things to be different, and get lost in the mental drama that tells us happiness is not possible unless/until it is.
And while we wait for things to change, we usually wallow in a state of unhappiness. It's self-imposed suffering.
What's the root of this habitual behavior? Throughout our lives, we are led to believe that we need something to be happy. It's easy to spot these thoughts, because they are usually preceded by "If only":
We see obtaining or attaining something as the path to happiness. As such, we continually put off being ok with life until something is different.
We attach our happiness to external events, but forget those external events are usually beyond our control and always impermanent:
If we attach our happiness to impermanent things, we will never be consistently happy. We'll have fleeting moments, but there will always be something else over the horizon that we need to obtain or attain. There will always be that desire for things to be different.
Someone once said "What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it's supposed to be." This quote encompasses everything that causes us to suffer:
The next time you find yourself unhappy, examine the picture in your head of how you want things to be. Look at the stories you are telling yourself.
Become aware of thoughts, feelings, urges, and that narrative (inner monologue) running through your head. And, through mindfulness and meditation, learn not to get caught up in the mental drama.
You can't escape your mind...
Life seems to be a roller coaster of ups and downs. All of us are endlessly searching for happiness as we stumble from one problem to the next, trying to cope as best we can.
Are you ready to do something different?
If so, we wrote "An owner's guide to the mind" for you. Click here to read more.