Who is responsible for my happiness?
The worst kind of sorrow is the one brought by someone else. The reason is that you cannot do anything about it. If you are not happy with your own actions, at least you can strive for doing better next time and doing that is completely under your control.
But isn't a life without expectations very dull and probably not worth living? That's true. Expectations are what define our relationships in a way. I expect my best friend to be there for me when I need a shoulder or someone to vent out to. I'd expect my wife to be there by my side in all ups and downs of my life. As a child, I expected my parents to protect me from evils of the world and keep me on the right path. I don't think these relationships will be as good if these expectations didn't exist.
I think the key here is not to rely on your expectations as the only source of happiness or fulfillment. Expect, but don't take it for granted. I think this also means putting a little more trust in your relationships. Always give the other person the benefit of doubt.
A way of dealing with this would be - When you are disappointed with someone, take a step back and look at your relationship with that person. Do you really want this particular incident to ruin your happiness and maybe put a sore spot in the relationship with the person? Is your anger / disappointment more important than not being unhappy and addressing the issue with the person in a calm and mature way?
For example, let's say you made plans with a friend to go watch a movie and you decided to meet outside the theater. You were there on time, but your friend stood you up. They didn't inform you beforehand that they cannot make it and now they texted you some lame excuse. Now tell me which of the following scenarios you like more?
- You got super angry at them. You went towards your car stomping your feet and left the theater in a bad mood. You went home and thought about all the time you went of your way to help your friend and think about how they don't value your friendship enough. You think about all the things you'll say to them when you meet the next time. Your day is ruined and you don't feel like doing anything else for the rest of the day. The next time you meet your friend, there is a lot of blaming and fighting and saying all those things to your friend makes you even more disappointed.
- You are sad about what they did, but hey watching a movie alone is the next best thing to watching it with a friend. So you watch the movies anyways with a large bucket of cheese popcorn on your lap. You enjoy the movie and carry on with your day. Sure, your day would have been much better if your friend showed up and you totally wanted that. But you did not make them the sole source of entertainment and fulfillment for your day. Next day you see your friend, you tell them that they missed a great movie. You say what they did was not cool. Maybe they apologize, maybe they try to justify it. Anyways, you move on and have a coffee together. Next time maybe your expectations from this person will be tad lower, but hey you'll still have a great time.