Let’s face it, holidays are fantastic. We love them, look forward to them, and then…complain about them afterwards. Okay, we don’t complain about the holiday itself. It’s not the holiday’s fault that Jimmy was way late for the family dinner. It wasn’t the holiday’s fault that Rosie was crabby and cynical all throughout dinner, or that Mary’s kids were running wild again leaving a trail of chaos in their wake.
The holiday itself is a wonderful thing. So why then are they just so hard sometimes?
Dr. Brene Brown sheds light on this when she says,
“Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”
Any family gathering can be hard and will be hard for you as long you hold on to your expectations. Now when I say this there are always a few of you that immediately say, “Shouldn’t I HAVE expectations? Don’t we WANT to have HIGH standards of people?” To that I’m going to ask you a question,
Is there an UPSIDE to your expectations in that setting?
Is there an upside to thinking Jimmy should be on time?
You might say, “well, YES! I said dinner was at 6:00 and we had to wait almost an hour for him to arrive so we could eat!”
Did you have to wait? No
Does Jimmy have a track record of always being late? Yes
Could you have said, “Jimmy, family dinner starts at 6:00. If you’re not there, we’re eating without you” ? You could have but then it might muddle the view or vision of that perfect family dinner where everyone is gathered together. -Drop your expectation in this area. In this case, it’s NOT serving you.
This isn’t to say that you have to stop making requests of Jimmy. You can tell him why it bothers you and make that request but ultimately Jimmy gets to be Jimmy and decide what he wants to do and YOU get to be you and decide what you’re going to make Jimmy’s actions mean.
The fact that Jimmy was late most likely didn’t have anything to do with you and yet, you’re upset most likely because of how you’re interpreting his actions.
Maybe you think that he shouldn’t have acted that way. That it means that he doesn’t respect you. If he respected you he’d be on time like everyone else. Maybe you’re making it mean that he doesn’t really care about you and all your preparations or thought you put into this dinner. If he only knew how much time and love that went into making this beautiful day perfect, he’d have come on time.
But the truth of the matter is…you really don’t know why he was late. Maybe he was late because that’s just Jimmy. He’s always late. So why this time are you expecting him to be on time and suddenly have a changed character after years and years of him acting a different way?
When you hang on to your expectations for someone it IS a resentment waiting to happen. If they don’t live up to that expectation – mind you, MOST expectations go UNSAID – so if they don’t live up to the UNSAID but upheld expectation that you’ve created you’re going to feel resentful about them and about their actions.
Is there an upside to your expectations?
It doesn’t have to be about Jimmy or about being late to dinner. We all have these thoughts about others and expectations of how they should act around us. I want to tell you that keeping these expectations, these most of the time UNSAID expectations are resentments waiting to happen.
We can always make requests of others.
We can always teach or share why things are important to us.
But when we EXPECT others to act the way we THINK they should we’re setting ourselves up for resentment and negativity.
Ask yourself this, IS there an upside to holding onto that thought?
SHOULD they really act that way?
My family and I were recently watching the new Thor and there was this one scene where Thor tells Loki, “Loki, I thought the world of you. I thought we were going to fight side by side forever but at the end of the day your you and I’m me.”
When we hold our views of how others should act, what they should say, do, or who they should be we’re on the path of resentment and disappointment.
Can you let them be them and you be you?
Can you drop the tightly held expectations and be grateful for what you DO have?
Is there an upside to your expectations?
Resentment is an ugly thing, my friends. It won’t serve you. It won’t help you progress and move forward. It will only lead to feeling stuck, bitter, and upset.
If you’re still convinced that you shouldn’t have to drop your expectations then just weigh the two options. Which path (holding onto your expectations and feeling disappointed or dropping your expectations and being grateful for what you do have) will serve you more?
Which path will offer you the most peace?
Which path will promote growth and keep you moving forward?
Which path looks the most like love?
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