The Secret To Happiness Is Having Low Expectations

I’ve discovered that the simple secret to happiness is having low expectations. I tell myself every day that no one can make me unhappy by not doing something to me, or in other words, I can’t be made unhappy by the absence of something. I don’t have the expectation that someone will do something nice for me, will contact me, will love me, which are all the things I used to trouble myself over. Instead, when I feel like it, I come to people and give my love to them. Sometimes, they do the same, sometimes they don’t. When they do, I’m visibly happy and grateful. When they don’t, I go about my day as normal, focus my energy in the things that I know will make me happy like my gym, my work, my self-care, and loving others. I also have no problem pointing out to someone how I feel when they don’t do something. But I don’t expect it then sulk when not getting it.

I don’t talk about pain anymore. I don’t talk about how hard it is to be me anymore. Like everyone else, I’ve had shitty experiences in my life. But you know what, it’s okay. I’m still alive. I persevere. An older lady told me the other day that she admired people who didn’t let life shrink them, people who pushed through because, along the way, life let her down and she gave in. She told me to not give in, not just yet. I joked to her at the time that I was very close to giving in. I lied. I would never give in. Sometimes I’m very stressed out about my current state of life, obsessing that I might be falling behind. But when looking back, what I realise is I’m just incredibly hard on myself. I’m not falling behind. I’m progressing, and it counts no matter how slowly.

My mom said that I was blessed. It’s because I was born in Dog year during the afternoon, not at night. It sounds funny but in Asian beliefs, if you’re born in Dog year at night, you will have a hard life because dogs at night have to stay awake and bark for the burglars. Meanwhile, dogs during the day can just chill around the house. As such, I’m supposed to have a relaxed life. Maybe I do. I’m lucky. I really am. I just don’t know how to relax. I don’t know how to go with the flow and enjoy what I’m blessed with. I always toughen up so much to keep everything together and don’t realize that the things I have don’t need to be kept together with so much effort. They’re tight. They don’t go anywhere. They want me just the same.

These days, I’ve learned to trust. I trust that my hard work will pay off. I trust that the man I want wants me too even when there isn’t constantly a textbook sign. I trust him. I trust myself. I trust that my future is bright. I do this because otherwise, I would be dripping in anxiety and anxiety isn’t good for me. I’m tired of anxiety. I’m tired of taking away my own joy and happiness even on an uneventful regular day that is just supposed to be nicely ordinary. I understand that it’s not easy to be upbeat all the time, but it’s so easy to slip when life feels like a drag. It’s easy to pick up bad habits, to make many tiny bad choices that eventually shape up your life. But I will not give up. I’m better than that 100% sure. I will take good care of myself and the people I love.

You know one thing I really like about growing up is becoming calmer. I’m now so calm and rational and more able to manage myself, which is such a wonderful thing to witness after drowning in so much emotional turbulence in my earlier years. I can still beat myself up and cry silent tears with my chest tightened, but I’m more patient, more positive, and to my surprise, even stronger if that’s even possible. I don’t run away when I get hurt and things get hard anymore. I tell people that I will stick around, I will love them regardless, I will love them even when they hate themselves and I hate myself. So I know I’ll be alright. I enjoy today. I want today. I embrace today.

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