Soooo...how do you feel hungover without consuming an excess of booze?
I refer to it as an "emotional hangover”...it’s the kind of hangover you get when you walk into a situation or relationship with a list of expectations that are not met.
There is a quote that says:
“A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.”
This idea of what “should be” can REALLY trip us up, especially around the holidays!!
We walk into our family gatherings with a laundry list of expectations as to how things “should be.” We may not be doing it intentionally, but we feel we “should” get along with our parents and siblings...we “should” be playing board games and laughing non-stop...we “should” feel completely loved, comforted, and supported by those closest to us.
So why do we have this long list of “shoulds”?
There are many reasons, but it can be thoughts put into our heads by movies and TV, past experiences, friends’ experiences, and especially these days, social media.
I mean, it’s referred to as “Fakebook” for a reason, right? Not because everyone on there is “fake”, but because social media is where we (meaning almost all of us) tend to put our “best foot forward”. We post only our best selfies, our awesome nights out with friends, the delicious meal we ate last night, the bitchin’ beach vacation we just went on...you get the point, right? Rarely do we post about disappointments, heartbreak, or lonely nights in.
When it comes to holidays, this idea gets multiplied X 10. We see gorgeous pictures of our friends having the time of their lives with those closest to them (or so it seems) and if our holiday doesn’t “match up”...we feel less than. We feel sad, confused, and maybe even depressed. Sometimes we think to ourselves…”Why aren’t the holidays like that for me? That’s how it should be.”
Here’s the bottom line...of course you can do your best to make your celebration as happy as possible for you and those around you,, I actually encourage you to do so! But you will never feel satisfied unless you stop focusing on what “should be”, and start accepting people and situations for who and what they are.
When we focus on what is, instead of what we expect, we feel more at peace, more patient, and more clear rather than disappointed.
When we accept people for who they are, and realize there is no way that things “should” be, we can remember that no one’s family, no one’s holiday, is perfect.
So if you feel your holidays leave a little something to be desired know these things:
● You are not alone (there are many people who feel the same way)
● It’s ok to get off social media for a bit (you are not obligated to wish your entire FB & IG friends list a “Happy Holiday”)
● When you accept what is, you empower yourself to choose happiness and peace rather than falling victim to your expectations
I hope you have Happy Holidays, and I know that you will, because your happiness starts with a choice….it starts with YOU.