Want To Have a Happy Holiday? Let Go of Expectations

Do you know why so many people are unhappy on their birthday, Valentine’s Day, or Christmas? It’s because of an idea that something didn’t happen the way it was “supposed to.” Doesn’t that sound like a really easy thing to fix? It is. If you want to have a happy holiday, let go of expectations.

Do you have to host a dinner at your house? No. You don’t. Maybe you hosted for a string of previous years, but guess what? That doesn’t obligate you to keep doing it. Everybody will be alright. Someone else will step up. And if they don’t, well it’s not your responsibility to entertain them. Stay home and enjoy your quiet day or let someone else take care of you this year.

Does your boyfriend need to propose on Valentine’s Day with a huge rock in order for you to be happy? Some people are more happy to have the man than the ring.  If you are so set on the picture of how you want things to be, you may miss out on the joy of how they are. In the long run, how you spend the days and years will matter far more than the way he proposed or the size of the ring.

Do you want photo worthy Christmas cookies and yours look like they came from a Nailed It meme? You know, you can laugh about that instead of letting it make you cry. After all, when you look back and any of your memories, which ones stand out in your mind? I bet none of them would make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. They probably are treasured memories because of the way they made you feel. So remember how you felt when the house smelled of yummy goodness. Remember how it felt when you tasted those cookies. Enjoy the delight in sharing them with others.

It might be hard to just go with the flow. Holidays are special times. We want them to be a certain way. We desire people to show up, do what we dream, get what we hope for, and for thing to be beautiful. Sometimes we just want to have what we think other people have. Is that too much to ask? Maybe so if it means that we miss the beauty of this moment.

Remember when you were a kid at Christmas? Did you care if grandma arrived the day before or Christmas day? Do you remember if the turkey was dry one year? Were you thinking about how the tree was leaning to one side or that the Christmas cards didn’t go out until December 23? How happy were you when the day finally arrived? I bet none of that ever crossed your mind because those are little things. Children don’t sweat the small stuff.

Kids know how to be in the now. They know how to be happy and accept life as it is. They don’t let guilt dictate their actions. Kids don’t let their disappointment for not getting a red bike ruin their joy at getting a blue one. If you want a happy holiday, be that kid again. Let go of expectations. Say no to the things that take away from your joy and say yes to the things that add to it. See the joy that is right here.

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