What To Expect When Expecting Happiness

Expecting happiness seems harmless, but once you allow opportunities to fully develop, without expectations, then there is little to no room for disappointment.

I read a tweet one time from my favorite tarot card Twitter page that said, “We set ourselves up for failure when we expect happiness in the next place-our next job, the next relationship, next experience.” It made me stop and think: do we subconsciously expect happiness?

When I graduated high school, I thought that I had picked the university of my dreams. It was far enough away from home but close enough to reach my family, had an adorable campus, and was affordable. After two years and a loss of some of my high school best friends, I came to the realization that I had outgrown the university. Cool. No big problem. I transferred to a university that was 45 minutes away from my original institute of higher education, but closer to home. It was a plus that my older sister had also transferred to the same university after having the same epiphany that I did about her original college choice. I figured, “Great. I’ll transfer and all of my problems will go away.” I had hopes of being overly involved on campus, having internships lined up every summer, and maybe even getting close to a cute Conway boy.

The day that I went to my transfer of choice to arrange my schedule was horrible. The campus was difficult to navigate, the student workers at the front desk were rude, and the general advisor that I was paired with made it obvious that he couldn’t care less about what classes I picked.

I figured that a transfer would melt away my problems, but I came to the realization that I would have the same problems on my new campus that I did on my former.

So maybe the tarot card tweet was true- expecting happiness from a new situation is almost always disastrous. But how can we not get excited about a new situation without overdoing it?

Lately I’ve had to stop myself from prematurely bragging on my accomplishments as an effort to not set my expectations too high. Yes, I’m super excited to let someone close to me know about an internship opportunity or that I expect to pass my next exam, but keeping these accomplishments internalized until they are finalized has led me, and those around me, to not “expect” happiness.

What is our purpose of prematurely announcing accomplishments anyway? Our want for approval and applause from others has led to the normalization of tweets and Facebook posts about accomplishments that might not even follow through.

Having a support system that only wants the best for you is great, but sometimes those around us hype our accomplishments, which can ultimately lead to an even harder downfall when your accomplishments do not come to fruition.

Expecting happiness seems harmless, but once you allow opportunities to fully develop, without expectations, then there is little to no room for disappointment.


  1. Very interesting. Would you say that celebrating the little things is also neccesary? That the expectation of happiness doesn’t negate the current excitement of whatever there is to be expected?


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