What’s your expectation(s)?
Expectations are sometimes a double edged sword.
The right expectations will get you to your dreams.
The wrong expectations can make you feel as if your world is collapsing all around you. They don’t become the positive reality you were expecting. Instead, they can shift in small but often important ways creating the opposite of what you want.
What are your expectations?
Let’s explore this concept using expectations that usually surround Christmas.
Is it the look of a happy family coming together in one place where there are kisses and hugs and big smiles when you show up? Or do you struggle with whether or not to even go since the reality is there’s so much estrangement with your family it’s not worth the effort?
Here’s another scenario – Are you consumed with regret for not being able to be there that day?
Maybe you have to work.
Or you live to far away and cannot afford to travel.
You could end up feeling overwhelmed or guilty if someone around you tries to make you feel that way for not putting them first doing what they think is necessary.
When I was a kid, my christmases were less than perfect. My parents fought through every one that I can remember. Quite frankly, there was so much chaos I choose not to remember. I rarely received a gift that worked out for me. Most times I found myself sitting in silence while I watched my brothers and sisters so excited about theirs asking myself why my gifts always seemed to fail me.
Since then my expectations of having a good time at Christmas are dismal to say the least.
Until last year. The year I chose not to expect anything at all.
Before last year, my husband and I would spend the day alone. Going to see a movie later in the day and afterwards going for Chinese since that’s the only place open in town.
It worked for us. There were no expectations, no gifts, no fuss, no people to interject what they think we should do. There was nothing happening that we did not want to do. Or so I thought.
I conveniently forgot days and weeks before I’d wonder what my child was going to do. Was she coming to see me or going to her dad’s? I forgot that I thought a lot about what my family would be doing.
There were still so many expectations running through my head I couldn’t relax.
But last year I told myself whatever worked out would be just fine.
I was able to let all other thoughts go by thinking only about what was happening in “my” today, my now.
When thoughts of other people would pop in I wiped them out right away by concentrating on what was happening in the moment I was in and no further.
I refused to let myself think about past let downs or go to far into the future imagining what could ultimately end as failure all because I expected things to go a different way.
I didn’t think about seeing my child.
I didn’t even think about what other people were planning.
That year unexpectedly my “kids” (I say ‘kids’ slightly sarcastically, cuz my child is not a kid. She’s 35. And her roommate, who accompanies her isn’t my kid at all, even though she feels like one. Also needing to mention they come with two cats in tow) moved in for four days.
It was one the best Christmases I can remember.
There was not a lot of gifts exchanged. In fact, that’s not the part I remember at all.
What I remember was lazy, timeless days spent interacting with each other. Playing games and watching TV. Watching Handyman, and the girls put together a 1000 piece puzzle with so much concentration you could hear a pin drop.
A LOT of eating. A LOT of dishes to wash, by hand no less, since we’re still working on the house and have no dishwasher other than myself. 🙂 And a lot more stuff laying around since there were essentially six of us in our two person house.
Nothing bothered me.
Even though I was pleased my daughter(s) came was not the point. The point was that I was able to have all this peace and enjoyment because I finally released the expectations of what I thought Christmas should be. When I did that, God and the Angels were instrumental in delivering what was to be the best Christmas ever.
And then this year, once again, I found myself all wrapped up in what we “should do.” Trying hard to recreate last years model I became frustrated that nothing was working out. My daughter wasn’t giving me clear answers to their plans. Todd’s family decided to celebrate Christmas after the holidays, which I hate since the holiday is over, but I get, given all the families they all have to get to.
So I focused on getting myself back to a blank mindset wiping out the “shoulds” that come along with celebrating that day.
I asked Handyman if he wanted to celebrate with his family. His reply was no.
Then I asked myself if there would be a problem if my daughter decided not to come visit us that day. I got a no, it would be just fine as long as she was doing something that made her happy.
I asked if I would be hurt if no one opened their doors to Todd and I. I got no, that too would be fine remembering they need to do what feels right for them.
When difficult times come, you don’t have to be overwhelmed by waves of worry or fear. You no longer fuel those concepts when you let go of an outcome-the expectation of what should be.
You have power in your words to find the solution yourself to any anticipated action.
Ask yourself the hard questions leading to the expectations you hold.
Let the answers guide you.
- Ask yourself if you are even realistic in your expectations?
- Ask yourself the same questions I asked. Word them appropriately for you and each scenario you find yourself in.
- Ask to see any clear worry you hold about family expectations.
- Ask to see clearly any expectations you hold for any day, not just Christmas.
Words are powerful!! They can relieve you of worry and fear or create worry and fear.
What are you expecting? Don’t be afraid to see what that is.
Lastly, ask yourself if you’ll survive if none of your expectations come to fruition. Because the answer should be YES.
I’ll be the first to remind you, you always do.
May you be blessed with Gods will to be happy and healthy having no expectations especially during these trying holiday times.