//Road to Happiness #3 : Close the Gap
Expectations

Road to Happiness #3 : Close the Gap

Hello and welcome to the third article Close the Gap and Expectations of Road to Happiness Series! In the end of 2nd article we asked the question: How can I reduce this gap? Now I will continue with some more places you can find your gap and then proceed with how we can close them. If you haven’t already read them make sure to check out the 1st and 2nd articles! If you are interested you can also check out my posts about engineering mechanics and mathematics. View in new theme!

Please note that this post, as well as the other posts here, is only for informational purposes and is not meant for therapy. If you experience psychological hardships please consult a professional. Mental health is important and consulting professionals is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Sometimes that MacBook looks so inviting. The thought of impressing that girl sitting across the bar is sometimes heart pounding. Why do we feel that? Why do we get the feeling of wanting something? In the following we will dive together in what I think are some of the main reasons behind desire.

First of the main drives is the expectations of people around us that shape our desires and often the most potent group of these people is our family.

I have put so much effort raising you, you have to be the best. Your success is for your future. Come on do what you can do best!

– close family member

These are quotes you can hear from your family members that expect very high of you. Their expectations may have very strong effects on your own expectations line and shape what you want accordingly. They might want their son&daughter to be the best, be the most successful, the most beautiful, the richest. But is that really what you want? Is it going to make you happy? What are you going to do after you achieve such success, wait for another expectation to guide you? 

You should begin to ask yourself the real questions: WHO are you and what do YOU want?

The second group is our partner and friends. In this group we set some standards to ourselves and try to constantly meet them, eventually paralyzing ourselves into doing nothing so we do not harm our reputations. But this harms our self-confidence and sets an unrealistic expectation line, redirecting and redesigning our desires.

We set our expectations of our own to be of highest quality and we drift away from our everyday interactions. In the end we strive only for maintaining something artificial. Our instincts to feel involved and be accepted in the group further reinforces the walls of the closed loop.

Instincts. This is our second main drive, let’s talk about it.

Another sneaky Agent: Primary Instincts

During our millions of years of evolution we have inherited numerous things from our ancestors. Our instincts gets to take the main role. We are strongly hardwired to do specific things and our feelings depend highly on our accomplishments in these areas. For example we have inherited to feel good when we are accepted by the group, or when we have a partner and we reproduce. 

Have you ever thought about why very few things feel physically as good as sex? That’s because your body rewards you the most for accomplishing your most important biological goal: reproducing. Now that we take a look at the instincts, we can now examine what roles they play on our desires.

Problems with our partners 

Most potent instinct: Love, feeling loved, Reproduction and etc. we may feel unworthy when we fail to find a partner. I don’t really know what else can be done to reduce the gap here other than redirecting your thoughts towards more positive thoughts and stopping your negative thoughts as they arise.

Our expectations in relationships

Each person has their own view of world and therefore has a unique definition of a lover. As a result none of the lovers fit the others description of an ideal lover. That is a loop. You don’t have expectations in human relations. You observe, you build a base behavior of the person and build upon that information. Here you should alter with your expectations line to reduce it to zero.

Our emotions are not neglected

Emotions are the slow working brains. We are human and we get emotional. It takes time to process our thoughts and emotions because feelings are strongly linked with the chemicals released from parts of our brains. These chemicals stay for a while and circulate in our bloodstream. Therefore feelings persist.

Sometimes we can’t get over the emotions and our body keeps producing the chemicals again and again. Then you can distract yourself and distant yourself from the stimulating event/person and, give your body time to get rid of the chemicals your brain had released on the bad event. If  you can’t get over them for extended periods I strongly advice you to get help from medical professionals.

The problems we face in our professional or social lives are iterations of emotional or instinct-based problems

Ok I have found the reason. Now what?

Think about what you can control

There are things in life we can change. We need the bravery to act upon. Things we cannot change- the patience to accept them. And we need the wisdom to know the difference between them. Think about what you can control and adjust them accordingly.

Family and Friends

“It’s not blood is thicker than water, it’s the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. ”

You can choose your friends and family members, get good ones. Get rid of toxic people and be extra attentive to positive behaviors. Being attentive to positive behaviors reinforces them. And toxic people employ different psychological tricks knowingly&unknowingly, therefore they drain your energy. 

Determine what it is you can change

Can you lower your expectations line?  Try to lower your expectations. It’s good to have high goals, but its not really logical to try to build a rocket for the moon if you are blind about the engineering behind it. Split your goal into achievable steps towards the higher end, achieve one by one. Gain huge momentum.

Can you raise your reality line? Also fill up the void with other things you find enjoyable and gain a momentum. Find joy in trying again and again, this is what 21st Century offers us: Complexity and resilience. For example you got a bad grade in an exam. Expectations good grade, reality bad grade. Huge gap. Fill the void by learning the subject after the exam. Or fill the void by retaking the exam and studying more effective.

Can’t you really alter with any of the lines? You should reconsider letting this goal draining your energy. It’s important to have the bravery to act upon where you can, the patience to accept the things you cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference to let go of the unchangeables.

In the end it all comes down to basic troubleshooting 

Analyse the current situation, observe your parameters and decide what you can change to improve the situation. That’s how you reduce the gap: you will get better at it the more you try it and your mastery will tailor your experience to what suits you the best. You are the only one that can help you. Be active, be responsible and be responsive to your emotions. You are what you feel and think, make use of it!

RWTH Aachen Mechanical Engineering Student