Expectations and Happiness
How often have you had expectations of yourself or others that ended up in disappointment? I figured out several years ago that having realistic standards and living true to my values led to a greater sense of well being. While I still find myself having expectations, I try to keep them low key. That seems to minimize disappointment. Where does happiness come into this picture? The answer may be different for each person, depending on their definition of happiness.
I recently read an article on this very subject by Trudy Boyle. I’ve included a portion of that article here.
“We are often taught to have high expectations of ourselves and others and as a consequence we are frequently disappointed. The reality of life is that we can’t do everything, be everything or have everything. The secret lies in having reasonable expectations and going after those. This doesn’t mean low standards, rather it means realistic standards. Especially when it comes to others.
The Scandinavians score high on the world happiness index year after year. The word that might best describe this phenomenon is not the popular hygge (pronounced hooga) (a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being) but lagom.
According to a recent article in SLATE, The Grim Secret to Nordic Happiness:
“…lagom, the Swedish and Norwegian term which can be translated as “just the right amount,” i.e., neither too much nor too little explains the cultural ingredient (of happiness). Similar to hygge in Denmark, lagom is frequently thought to capture the essence of Swedish culture—its embracement of modesty and rejection of excess—but, in reality, these values characterize the entire Nordic region, and most certainly Finland. In terms of expectations for a good life, lagom encourages contentment with life’s bare necessities. If you already have those, you have nothing to complain about. Ergo, you are happy.”
What describes happiness for you? Is it contentment, a sense of meaning and purpose, helping others, spending time in nature? That is for each one of us to answer for ourselves. Of course, however each one of us defines our happiness, we are right.
Comments are welcome.