When I was a teenager I used to be very afraid of disappointment. So whenever I went into a situation where there was a chance of potentially gaining something good from it (e.g. a prize, some attention, just having a good time), I would say to myself, ‘Expect the worst’. Although I never really took this advice too seriously, I found that by simply thinking this, it helped me to drop all my fears rather than reinforce them. By ‘expecting the worst’ it naturally helped me to drop all the cravings, hopes and expectations that I had in my mind. And far from making the experience miserable or boring, what happened was that I began practicing mindfulness instead. So whatever was happening I simply enjoyed it without needing it to be better or different from what the actual experience was.
How often do we go to a party or go on a holiday and we end up coming back bitterly disappointed because our hopes and expectations hadn’t been met? Rather than saying, ‘Expect the worst’, perhaps we could mentally armor our minds with the phrase, ‘Expect nothing… and enjoy what comes!’ Every experience in our life is precious and meaningful. Don’t let our cravings or expectations get in the way of enjoying every moment.
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