Observe Unrealistic Expectations

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Hope everyone has had a joyous holiday thus far! If not, then usually the culprit is unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others, which often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, disappointed, obligated, and stressed.

As long as we find ourselves thinking about what we and other people should be doing, thinking, or feeling, we are going to feel upset through our expectations. Therefore, as we go into the New Year, we can observe the shoulds we often live by, and look to embrace more of our wants, and what is authentically true for us instead.

Thankfully, we have the power to review our expectations and create our life the way we want it, without waiting for others to change. Instead of trying to coerce a family member, friend or spouse into changing themselves because of the way we feel; we can focus on what we can be doing differently, and make the appropriate adjustments.

So, if we are feeling burdened by the current way we do the holidays, or any other events throughout the year, then we have the freedom to create new traditions that will make our experiences more pleasing.

Below is an example of the changes we can make, as shared by Dr. Christiane Northrup, from her own life as follows:

“Some time ago, I had a frank discussion with my children about gift giving. And we all agreed to halt the practice entirely. They were as relieved as I was. Instead, we make each other’s birthdays a big deal.

And at Christmas, we create a slideshow of the prior year and have a game of “Yankee Swap,” for which we each buy a gift for under $20. (We then draw numbers, and the person with #1 picks a gift. Then all the ensuing players can either keep the gift they pick OR take the gift that someone else has already opened.)

It’s absolutely hilarious! My house is always filled with guests who are close friends and who add to the fun. We then enjoy a meal together and all go see a holiday movie. It’s a most wonderful day, one in which there is rest, laughter, and good food. We feel grateful to be a family (both blood and chosen) and to have shared another year with one another.

Let’s all do what we can to move from survival to joy this season. Yes—the surprise of Christmas morning with little ones is delightful. And so is finding the perfect gift for a loved one. But when this becomes an obligation, not a joy, it’s time to question the program.”

What makes your holidays or other occasions more enjoyable?

Action Step:

Exercise your freedom of choice by reviewing your current traditions as you head into 2014, and see if there is a way to make them more joyous if they are not to your liking!

15 thoughts on “Observe Unrealistic Expectations

  1. I love Christmas and the time around it because I am very selective who I spend this time with. I didn’t know The Bard said that! :-). A wonderful quote.

    • Great reading your wise comments! It is so smart to be selective with the company we keep, and clearly has helped make your holiday great! Yes, the quote says a lot in a few words by an unexpected source! 🙂

  2. This struck exactly the right key with me right now. As my children have grown and moved away, I find that I sometimes have unrealistic expectations when they come home for the holidays. Thanks so much for the reminder.

    • Thanks for sharing your open and honest comments, and reblogging this post! It is wonderful to have the self-awareness to notice the expectations, and then be able to gently make any corrections that help us feel better!

  3. This is such a beautiful post with so much truth, Cathie! (As usual)

    I had the luck to be raised in such adjusted (and, if necessary adjusting) tradition. So for me the holidays are always a point of joy and relaxation.
    We practice gift-giving with my mother as we experience it as joy to find or create something nice for each other as well as receiving the outcome. Free of obligation, though. The greatest gift is always the get-together and sharing of love and joy.

    • Thank you Steffi! It is wonderful to read that your holidays are a time of joy and relaxation. So true, that the greatest gift is the connection with loved ones, and feelings of gratitude for their presence in our life. 🙂

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