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Keeping Sane During The Holidays

I love the holidays. It’s a time of celebration. A time for connection. A time for good food that we don’t eat all year round. A time to let go of the old and bring in the new. But I’ve noticed something; I’ve noticed that as we near the holiday season people seem to be […]

I love the holidays. It's a time of celebration. A time for connection. A time for good food that we don't eat all year round. A time to let go of the old and bring in the new.

But I've noticed something; I've noticed that as we near the holiday season people seem to be a little less considerate. Or maybe a little less present which can lead to not noticing that you're waiting for that parking space, or that they just cut you off in line or traffic.

I know this happens during other times of the year, but it seems to be more prevalent during the holidays. And it makes sense for people to go on auto-pilot as they're thinking about what gifts they can afford, or the end of the year quotas and goals, managing the holiday gatherings, and out of town family members. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

I get it. And while I do get it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't drive me a bit nuts when someone pushes in front of me in line, cuts me off in traffic, or is just plain rude.

This year, however, I'm arming myself with something to keep me sane (and rational)…

LOWER EXPECTATIONS

Yep, you read that right…when it comes to others I'm going to lower my expectations.

(I promise I've not dipped into the egg nog or gotten hit on the head by the family menorah...so please read on.)

It might help if I explain what I mean...

Many years ago I was having issues with a family member who, I felt, was being inconsiderate of my feelings. Regardless of how many times I tried to share how I felt about their treatment, they didn't get it.

To say that I got my knickers in a twist would be the understatement of all understatements. I was fixated on the inconsideration. I wanted to right the wrong-doing. I wanted that person to see it from my perspective. It was all consuming and emotionally draining.

During a coaching session with my coach I went on and on about how ticked off I was. When I finally stopped ranting she said, "Pam, try lowering your expectations of that person, that way you will never be disappointed."

 WHAT!? Are you kidding?!

Actually, my response was…"I say this with love, but f*#k off."

That was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to commiserate with me. I wanted her to justify my anger. But instead I got "lower your expectations."

It wasn't until a year or so later that I actually got what she meant.

Not to expect anyone to handle things in ways that I would.
Not to expect anyone to be different.
Not to expect anyone to behave in a certain way.

At the end of the day, the only person I can expect these things from is me, because I have control over what I do. Which means, I can set expectations for myself to be kind, considerate, and present. And when others aren't, I can expect that I will choose my response carefully and considerately.

Rather than expecting, I'm teaching people how to treat me based on what I will or won't allow for myself.

Here's the really cool thing about lowering my expectations of others…when I do, not only am I less disappointed, but I'm open to being surprised. Which, I'm not going to lie, is kinda fun.

So that's how I'm going to keep sane this holiday season. How about you? I'd love to hear your strategies for not losing your cool and enjoying your holiday season.

Oh, but if you need some additional strategies, I've got your back. Be sure to check out these blog posts:

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