What's your expectation of the holidays? (Since we're in holiday season now...) What's your expectation of how the day is going to go today? What was your expectation in moving to Germany? (Since I'm currently living here...) What's your expectation of whatever it is- big or little that it's in your life right now, or is planing to come up?
Have you thought about the answer to this question- depending on whatever it is??
I just had this conversation with my dad yesterday...We talked about how many times we go into something (big or small) without really having a conversation about: "how we think x, y, z will go..." Or about "what's the most important thing when x, y, or z happens or comes..." It seems what happens is that often we will go ahead and do something or we are in a time in our lives that we have had this whole BIG image about how we thought things would go!
Well, here we are in December and for example, we've thought about how GREAT it will be when the holidays come--don't we all just LOVE all the holiday stuff?! In fact I've seen so many posts this year on FB about how people who put up their Christmas tree early are happier...And so even if you are one of those people or not--have you really thought about how you expect it to go--like it REALITY?! Not just in your head!
So then continuing on this example, what often seems to happen is that we start "doing the holiday season"--just doing it- going to the celebrations, decorating the house, making the special food, buying the presents, just all the "doing..." And then somewhere along the line- many of us just aren't "happy", or we're "stressed-out" or "overwhelmed"...
So I ask--well what was your expectation of the holiday season? Did you expect that you would be "happy"? Well then actually in reality what steps had you thought about before to make sure you would be "happy"? Had you talked to anyone--your kids, spouse, other family members about what would make you "happy" during the holiday season? And so then great--your loved ones know how to make you happy! But then of course in reality there is only so much they can/could/will do to make you "happy"...Soooo then, if that's the case, then we can know ahead of time that there will be parts of the holiday season when you will not be "happy"! And as gloomy as that might sound- the reality is that once you have accepted the situation--guess what? You can let go of the expectation! And oh my goodness, can you feel the relief??! Yess! And yes- there is some disappointment TOTALLY VALID--but oh my goodness, the pressure of fulfilling the expectation is no longer there!
The other thing I talked about with my dad in the context of understanding and knowing your expectations ahead of time, is that you can figure out and identify your priorities! Yay! You know what that means?! That means that instead of spreading all your energy and thought, and even money across a whole list of "important" things, people, and/or events--you can just focus on one or two things, maybe three or really back to just one most important thing. So that your check-in to see how you're feeling or succeeding in this example of being "happy"- is more clearly based on this pre-thought out issue. And your whole sense of happiness isn't run a-mock by 10-20 things that didn't really go that great.
So, now with this example of "being happy in the holidays"--and the real, reality is that sometimes that "one" thing just isn't going to happen--you might be missing a loved one, or you just know life is going to get in the way--so then you can decide "okay, what's the next most important thing that I do have in my control that can make me feel happy?" And ask yourself: "will that be enough?" And if so, great- go for it! And if not, maybe think of something else, but if you can't- well the holiday season- is just that-- a "season"...You'll get through it, you'll be okay--it will be what it will be...
I hope what I've shared here has made some sense...The one very tangible, easy, bit more of advice I'll give is to: "remember to take some deep breaths!" Consciously breathing, physically brings more energy and calm to our present state--no matter what is going on...It doesn't "fix" anything, but I promise it will bring a helpful shift to your next thought, action, or feeling...
If you're feeling like you could use some help getting your expectations squared away and your priorities identified, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to help!