Holiday expectations, anyone? (5 tips on managing the unexpected)

You want to get that absolutely perfect gift for everyone in your life, and you just won’t stop til you do,  and you’re making yourself stressed and crazy.

Does that sound like you? (Or me, about now. I’ve been spending hours online trying to find the perfect jammy bottoms for my daughter. My head is spinning. Snowflakes or leopard print…. argghhhh)

I’m sure we’ve all been there – and equally on the other end. We’ve been the ones desperately wanting something and practically obsessing over it while being heartbroken if we didn’t get it.

We all know that the holidays are an extra-sensitive time for most. And extra stressful. We’re being pulled from all directions, and, at the same time, we have expectations. Maybe you’re hoping to meet the right person at a holiday party, or you’re hoping for the big present you’ve always wanted. The list goes on and on. Stakes are high here that you will probably be disappointed somewhere along the way.

These are all common beliefs that you should act a certain way around the holidays, or they should be perfect for everyone around you. Or you feel responsible for everyone’s good time; good presents. You might ask yourself why you can’t rise above these limiting beliefs and enjoy the time for what it was originally – to be relaxing. To be the YOU you want to be.

Easier said than done, right?

Everyday expectations for yourself are natural. They keep you motivated and energized. They help you to achieve goals. It’s the ones that are unrealistic that can be detrimental to you. Here are ways to avoid setting expectations during the holidays and beyond.

  1. When something goes wrong, I try to think about the bigger picture, and realize that this is just a blip in the scheme of things. Chances are you’ll forget about it soon and move on. Ask yourself, is this REALLY important in my life? Accept what happened, and move on.
  2. Get back on the horse. If something doesn’t go your way, try it again. If you experienced a rejection (from an employer, or a date you really liked), keep moving. Think about what you could have done differently, or realize that maybe it wasn’t you or what you said or did.
  3. You’re not a failure. Try not to invite the inner critic who tells you You didn’t deserve it, You don’t know anything, He didn’t like you anyways, You don’t know what you’re doing, etc. You may be the only one who thinks you’re a failure. Learn from this experience and forgive yourself.
  4. Accept reality. Whatever the disappointment is, Is. It’s happening, and it’s now. As in #3, learn from this experience. What happened? What were you feeling? What can you learn from this for the future? Above all, have hope rather than expectations to avoid the negative and potentially polarizing disappointment.
  5. One thing to always remember after a disappointment is to continue to believe in yourself. The disappointment after an expectation doesn’t change who you are or your abilities. Don’t let this setback rule everything in your life. Have confidence in yourself that you are meant to be, and this disappointment had a reason to show up in your life.

Please don’t let expectations limit your potential. Keep them to a minimum and understand that they may or may not happen, and that does not change who you are or what you believe in.