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Unrealistic Expectations of Happiness?

We all want tohappiness is like a butterfly be happy. In fact, most of us have great expectations of happiness.

It doesn’t always work out the way that we expect though, does it?

There are break ups. There are illnesses. There are financial difficulties. Real life has problems. Everybody has. Problems are not the problem…the problem is expecting to not have problems or always thinking that life will be smooth sailing…

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
― Jodi Picoult

Happiness is not a Guarantee in Relationships

I grew up with movies and cartoons where boy meets girl, there is conflict, boy loses girl, and then…lo and behold…boy gets girl back. In real life, most likely, if boy loses girl (or girl loses boy), there is a whole world of hurt that has to be travelled through.

How many Hollywood scenarios are written and played out like this? There is no wonder why we have those kinds of expectations of our relationships. In fact, if you are an avid movie watcher or television watcher, chances are that you have seen these expectations laid out in plots for years.

I am the type of person that likes to read the last page of a book before I read the book. Surprised? 

I don’t like to read through a book and then it has a bad ending…because when I read fiction, I read it for entertainment. It’s one of my quirks…expectations that I have about the books that I read.

In real life, we don’t have that luxury…because we don’t have a crystal ball to say that this relationship will turn out this way or that.

Because we don’t have a guarantee for how relationships will work out even though you might have done everything right in the beginning. There is a certain amount of trust involved in venturing into the land of relationships, isn’t there?

Can You Really Be Happy if Things Didn’t Work Out?

If you have those expectations of a situation…a relationship…a career…a project…and you weren’t happy with the results, can you be happy again?

Yes. You can be happy.

It might take time…there might need to be time to grieve for the lost dream. Because that is why it can be painful. There was an expectation of what life would look like in that future that you imagined…and it didn’t work out…

Even though there might be a sense of failure…here is the good news. There is no failure. There is only feedback. Now you know what didn’t work…and because you know what didn’t work…you can make different choices…

And because you can make different choices, based on knowing what you know…you can create a different future…that includes what you want. Take a look around you and see what real happiness looks like…not the Hollywood version of happiness…

 “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Let go of that unrealistic expectation of happiness…it only exists in the movies and on the small screen…

See that happiness is in the moment…it can be fleeting…so notice it when it’s there…and bask in it…and so I ask you, what does happiness look like to you? Because that is all that counts…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Sara Nickleberry October 9, 2012, 11:58 am

    This is an important lesson Sherie!
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    • Sherie October 9, 2012, 12:37 pm

      Thank you, Sara! <3

  • Becky Fisher October 8, 2012, 8:41 pm

    What a great post! I think happiness is a choice. If you wrap your expectations of happiness up in one person you’ll always end up disappointed – we are all only human, after all 🙂
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    • Sherie October 8, 2012, 8:54 pm

      Becky, love the way you put that! Totally!

  • Meryl Beck October 8, 2012, 12:47 pm

    A great post on unrealistic expectations and I love the quotes you chose!
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    • Sherie October 8, 2012, 5:06 pm

      Thank you, Meryl! : D

  • Elizabeth Corbin October 6, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Thanks Sherie; this is an important issue. We need to be happy, otherwise we have to stir ourselves up to be happy!

    • Sherie October 6, 2012, 4:20 pm

      Yes! Awesome point, Elizabeth! Thanks for your comment! : D

  • Jamie October 6, 2012, 10:45 am

    so true. Part of life is working through whatever comes our way. But if we put the work in, if we continue forward, it ends up working out.

    Our plans may change, they may get altered, but it’s really how we deal with these things.

    I dunno, but some of the challenges that came to me in my life only made me a better person.
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    • Sherie October 6, 2012, 11:08 am

      Glad to hear it, Jamie! Thanks for your comment!

  • Susan Preston October 6, 2012, 10:17 am

    Love, love, love this Sherie! This quote really resonated with me, “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”― Nathaniel Hawthorne It is so very true. I might add, when we let ourselves Be and do the Inner work, we get the Outer results that we desire. Thanks 🙂
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    • Sherie October 6, 2012, 10:19 am

      Yes, Susan, that is very true…it all starts with the inner work…: D Thanks for your comment!

  • Suzanne Jones October 5, 2012, 11:45 pm

    It need take so little to make us ‘happy’. There is so much to be grateful for and happy about and looking outside ourselves is never going to be the solution. I know, I did that for many years. Great post Sherie!
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    • Sherie October 5, 2012, 11:48 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne! <3

  • Lorii Abela October 4, 2012, 4:50 pm

    It’s a state of mind. It’s up to us how we do it. How to be happy. Thank you for this post, Sherie!

    • Sherie October 4, 2012, 5:36 pm

      It really is…thanks so much for your comment, Lorii!

  • Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com October 4, 2012, 3:45 pm

    This is said so beautifully, “There is no failure. There is only feedback. Now you know what didn’t work…and because you know what didn’t work…you can make different choices…” — loved your whole post, Sherie!
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    • Sherie October 4, 2012, 4:21 pm

      Awww…thanks so much, Lisa! : D

  • Sue October 4, 2012, 7:24 am

    Great post!! Unrealistic expectations definitely can rob us of happiness if we allow them to… I had to laugh about reading the last page first … I find myself doing that too!

    • Sherie October 4, 2012, 8:39 am

      Sue, we are kindred spirits! LOL

  • denny hagel October 4, 2012, 2:52 am

    Happiness is a choice and a state of mind…while true we can’t predict the outcome or foresee the bumps in the road, we can choose to value the experience…and find great happiness in the lessons.
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    • Sherie October 4, 2012, 8:39 am

      Too true, Denny! : D

  • Sharon O'Day October 3, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Happiness is an ongoing process, in my mind, which may take a detour or two but is ultimately a day-by-day personal decision.
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    • Sherie October 4, 2012, 12:03 am

      Thank you for your insights, Sharon!

  • Olga Hermans October 3, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I certainly want to keep my expectations as high as possible Sherie; when we expect great things to happen; they will happen
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    • Sherie October 3, 2012, 6:02 pm

      Yes and they must be realistic at the same time…that is, able to be achieved in a reasonable time frame! Thanks Olga, for your comment, appreciate it!

  • Moira Hutchison October 3, 2012, 8:52 am

    I love this post Sherie! It’s so true that we must stay in the present moment to recognize happiness. I’ve often said that the joy is in the journey – happiness is not the destination, it occurs along the way
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    • Sherie October 3, 2012, 9:20 am

      Absolutely, Moira, and thanks so much for your comment!

  • Martha Giffen October 2, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I think happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. We choose happiness. It’s in our hands.
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    • Sherie October 2, 2012, 9:27 pm

      It is…thanks for your comment, Martha!

  • Sally K Witt October 2, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Really good points!

    • Sherie October 2, 2012, 4:00 pm


  • Yup! You said it very well here: ‘Let go of that unrealistic expectation of happiness…it only exists in the movies and on the small screen…’ Thanks Sherie!

    • Sherie October 2, 2012, 4:00 pm

      Thank you, Norma, I appreciate your comment!

  • Carolyn Hughes October 2, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Being unrealistic about our expectations in life doesn’t mean that we have to expect the worst. Love this post as a reminder to be grateful for what I have !
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    • Sherie October 2, 2012, 4:01 pm

      And isn’t it amazing how when we are grateful for what we have, we get more? ; D Thanks, Carolyn!

  • Dawn Lanier October 1, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Nice post Sherie! It’s a great reminder that happiness is an ‘inside job’ 🙂
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    • Sherie October 1, 2012, 5:13 pm

      Yes, it absolutely is, Dawn! So appreciate your comment, thank you! : D