When the holidays roll around, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the hubbub and be lured by expectations. Sound familiar? You too?
We want everything to be perfect (whatever that means). We invest ourselves in what others may think of our holiday homemaking, of the gifts we give. We try to control the takeaway feeling our guests will have. It’s too much.
It’s too much AND we’re powerless over it all. Truly.
In my past life of marketing (isn’t the ability to reinvent oneself awesome!), I would counsel clients on branding. A company’s brand is more than its logo; it’s comprised of three things:
- the identity the company crafts for itself through its logo, messaging, products, etc.
- the perception people have about the company (what they think, regardless of whether that’s inline with or different from the company’s actual identity)
- the perception people have about that company’s competitors (what they think about what other companies say, make or do differently)
The same thing applies to us. We only have control of #1. We only get to choose—to control—what we think, say, do and believe. How we feel and act.
No matter how much I try, I cannot orchestrate what you consider perfect, whether you’ll like the gift I give you or how you will feel at the end of the night. Period.
So this holiday season, starting today, I intend to buy what I can afford. Give what makes me happy for the recipient to receive. Go where it is best for me to spend my time. Do with perspective for what I’m truly capable of carrying out. And just be.
That means what I intend not to do is is picture it all in my head exactly as I think it will be, how people will react, what will be discussed, how I will feel, what others will think, blah, blah, blah. Those kind of expectations are always what have left me disappointed, confused and spent in the past.
I’m convinced that the common feeling of being relieved that the holidays are over probably comes from us not keeping ourselves in the moment, not focusing only on #1.
When we remain rooted in the essence of what the holidays are about—celebrating our connections with family and friends—we likely won’t over-spend, over-extend, over-expect anything. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll experience pure joy.
So I have no idea what to expect come turkey day and in the weeks beyond. And that is exactly the point. But with my intention set, I know that I am thankful. Now. Regardless.