“Expectations are resentments under construction” – Anne Lamott
After having the worst and best year of my life in 2016, it hit me that we are mid-way through November; the beginning of the big season – the family holiday season.
I found myself on the floor, flat faced more than once this year. I was dumbfounded by people and situations around me and it left me shocked and a little broken to be honest. I reached that point when you know things have to change, but the only person that you can change is you. Sounds simple right –well, it’s so far from the truth.
We all know that some people who we call friends, or even family, are not healthy for us. They take away our energy or pull us down even to the point that they put us down. There is this unhealthy reason why we keep going back for more though. Sometimes we feel sorry for them, or the payoff we receive from being around them is sometimes addictive to our emotions. We know it is not okay, but at least they won’t disappoint, and we know what to expect, even if these relationships are painful and feeds our low self-esteem.
Getting back on your feet from falling down (if you have been flat faced on the floor too recently) is something we can do with courage by our side. When we do this, we have an opportunity to create a new foundation for ourselves with clear boundaries.
As we enter the Holiday Season, I keep asking myself how I can do this in the presence and company of family and community. During this time, we step out of our regular rhythm. We spend time with people who have a different take on life to us, and a different view on you too. Most of the time they see you as you were a long time ago. Maybe they don’t see the transformation you have encountered and before you know it, the jolly season brings with it a whole sack of expectations. Expectations from our family and of course, expectations from ourselves.
And how realistic are they?
Before we are start jumping into buying gifts with the expectation that our sister is going to love it, or begin looking for recipes that are going to bring us that peaceful zen moment at the table, I want you to consider what you are creating? What expectations are you building?
Let’s step into this holiday period mindfully, with a clear intention for how you want to feel. I want want to look back at this intention with a smile and start from here as a new foundation to build on for many family gatherings to come.
Start by creating list of what who and what you would like to invite into your holiday season as well as a list of what you would like to leave behind in 2016.
Instead of being disappointed by unrealistic expectations like holiday seasons before perhaps, enter this happy period of the year with simple yet heart-filled intentions to close 2016 and open 2017.
You can do this by:
Introducing new and different activities to your family and friends. As the sentiment goes, stop doing the same thing and expecting the outcome to be different. Be creative. Welcome new holidays games, people to the dinner table and shake off outdated expectations.
Notice what your family loves doing and join them. If your brother always wants to watch sports, he will likely do it again this year. Go join him and participate in the happiness it brings him instead of complaining and getting frustrated.
Be willing to abort the plan. Be open to spontaneous invitations and celebrations. They may be more fun than you anticipate!
Don’t try to do too much. We always think we have more time than we actually do. It’s totally fine not to do anything as well.
Make ‘me’ time. Give yourself a moment to sleep in, to re-group, to read that book and other things that come up. It is a holiday, and it is time to relax and unwind.
However you decide approach this holiday season, make sure you put yourself first on the priority list. This is not selfish – it’s the greatest gift you will receive during this time. In fact, the best gift you can give anyone is your time and attention. Connect with you and those you adore. And remember, create expectations with intention and enjoy!