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Release expectations to feel fully present

It is no accident that I picked this topic for this month's blog. I intentionally picked it to help you navigate through any rough spots during the holiday season.

As much as most of us look forward to spending time with others at Christmas and New Years, many of us dread certain things about the holidays.

Most of us can think of at least one person we spend time with over the holidays who we wish would somehow act differently than they do.

It makes sense to want to have a peaceful and happy gathering with family and friends.

Yet it doesn't make sense to expect someone to overcome his or her bad behavior because it's Christmas.

I wish it worked that way! Of course it's realistic to want a happy holiday, but it's not realistic to expect someone to change because we think they should.

(deep breath - I'll take one too!)

Think of it this way...

When it comes to relationships, we're all doing some kind of dance that is made up of predictable steps, especially when someone is pushing buttons.

When he does this...I do that...when he says that...I say this...

The dance usually stays pretty much the same.

And it isn't usually the happy dance either.

When you have a certain expectation for someone and it doesn't come about, you'll end up feeling disappointed.

It affects you - not them. They may not even be aware of your expectation.

Sometimes our expectations are just thoughts in our head. Sometimes expectations are clearly expressed. Even if someone is well aware of your expectation, it doesn't necessarily change the outcome. The other person's behavior is just part of the dance and they probably are not changing the steps once the music starts (if you know what I mean).

So this is where releasing and letting go of expectations can help you out. You do it for your sake (and I do it for mine). Then you don't end up feeling disappointed, frustrated or angry once again.

Then you free up space so you can focus on other things and enjoy the positive things that happen during the day.

When you detach from the negativity, it's a way of protecting yourself.

Think of it as an electrical plug that connects you and this other person. Visualize yourself pulling out the plug and plugging it into something new. Other people, other activities, anything else. Or just plug into the present moment. This means you're not going to feed the old situation any of your energy. You're conserving your energy and using it elsewhere.

When you detach and let go, this allows something new to take place. You're now responding versus reacting to the old challenge.

Expect less and get more.

So when things aren't going the way they're supposed to, take a new step and practice having no expectations.

What expectations are you willing to let go of? I'd love to hear about your experience with this!

Side note:

As I was writing this blog I was listening to music as I always do. A song came on the radio - Snoopy's Christmas Dance Song. It seemed very fitting since I'm writing about changing the dance steps and I definitely consider this a happy dance song! It was my dad's favorite Christmas song and it really reminds me of him and happy family memories. I don't think it's a coincidence that this song came on when writing this blog. Thinking of my dearly departed parents even more at this time of year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all!

Enjoy my favorite Christmas happy dance song here


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Hi! I'm Beth Matthews. I'm a Registered Psychologist who is driven to helping people feel better about themselves. I help people who are struggling in their lives gain an awareness of how they can cope with anything that comes their way. With my easy-to-use strategies, you can feel better and be your best you!


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