Managing Expectations to Have a Rational Holiday

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in Ask The Therapist | 0 comments

How many of us have heard “this year will be different” or “ everyone will get along” and this will be the “perfect Christmas” just to be let down and eternally frustrated at the first sign of dissension, or at the initial flutterings of an argument. It doesn’t take much to ruin the picture that we have in our heads related to the expectation of a perfect holiday.
The truth is, there isn’t a perfect holiday. There are always things that go wrong, and there are always weeds in the garden, no matter how much we wish and hope that there aren’t. We
know, without a doubt, the things that go wrong, or the issues that come up that typically derail our hopes of having the perfect Christmas leading us to become frustrated, blow up, or totally
withdraw and give up.

The most important thing that we can do this time of year is to identify what expectations we have and evaluate what those are based on as well as the overall rationality of the expectations
that we identify. If we go through life expecting that there should not be weeds in the garden, or that things should always be the way I want them to be, we are going to eternally frustrated
It is easy to get away from the meaning of the holidays and get stuck on the way we believe things should be. The more that we focus on what should be, the further we move away from
what is right in front of us and what we do have.

As Shakespeare said: There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. If we do our best to try to focus on what is right in front of us and what we do have, and recognize what our expectations are, we can better prepare ourselves to remain rational throughout the holiday season and minimize our tendency to overreact to our expectations not being met.


Gregory Pollock, M.A.Ed., LPCC-S

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