Be Your Own Expectation

by | Nov 5, 2019 | Blog

Unlike the magic of chocolate and peanut butter, holidays and expectations aren’t necessarily the same marriage made in heaven.

Memories of holidays past can make what’s approaching feel like a burden.

Yes, I hear your, “Thanks but I don’t need the reminder. They’re weeks away.”

They’re already here and memories of holidays past don’t have to predict anything, unless you allow them.

Years ago, married to my first husband, holidays were primarily at our house. I would cook and clean for days, exhausting myself. Then one Thanksgiving, I walked into my living room and someone I didn’t know was sitting on my couch. A cousin of my SIL. Others watching old movies. 22 people in all and me running around. The turkey didn’t taste very good that year.

Soon after, I decided I was done hosting holidays.

The following spring my BIL called asking about Easter. My reply, “I don’t know, but I’m not cooking and it’s not here.” Dead silence on the other end.

I’ve since realized I was trying to create something out of what didn’t exist.

I had to create new expectations based on what I was willing to do and what made me feel good. What others expected was none of my business.

To expect is to desire, hope or anticipate.

Do you desire an acknowledgment or an apology that never seems to come?

Are you hoping for a person to finally act a certain way?

Are you anticipating the holidays to be a certain way, or for the family to finally come together?

We become so attached to our expectations, they become like an addiction. To the point where we don’t realize how much control they have over us.

When you do any of these, you’re giving away your power.

Stop. Right. Now.

What in your heart do you really want? Go give it to yourself.

For the acknowledgment or apology you’re waiting for… write yourself a letter as if from the other person. Put into words exactly what you want to hear, expressing all the ifs, ands and buts. Feel all the feels. Write until there’s nothing left to say. Then tear up the paper to release it. Even better, safely burn it if you can and watch the paper turn to ashes.

Rather than waiting for and needing a person to be a certain way, how do you want to act when you’re with them? When you plan this out in advance, you have options and are less likely to be caught reacting in the moment (see

Families are families. We are who we are. Rarely is it kittens and unicorns. When we continue to look to family to provide those Hallmark moments, well, we continue to let ourselves down.

We can’t change anyone’s thoughts or actions other than our own. Rather than looking to create magic within the pressure of these few months, we can create magic in our own lives, with the people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.

When we’re at peace with the day-to-day, it’s so much easier to let go of the holiday crush and to allow in more ease and grace.

No longer allowing expectations to rob you of your peace of mind.

Stephanie B. McAuliffe
Latest posts by Stephanie B. McAuliffe (see all)

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