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Great Expectations

November 6, 2018

Thanksgiving is almost here. High stakes for the table, the food, the decorations, the relatives, the Norman Rockwell picture of harmony. It comes down to what we are hoping for. 

Some days I think the biggest problem in our inner world is our expectations- And often these expectations have roots in our family history but stay current in us by us. They become a mantra, a belief system.

What do I mean by that?

Inner thought life plays a huge part in how we tackle any given day. And for many of us we are not aware of how this works.

Consider this, when was the last time you felt disappointed?

Now ask yourself, what happened that resulted in your discouragement, frustration, anger, and sadness?

Now ask yourself what did you expect to have happen?

Is there a disconnect?

And when the hoped for event doesn’t materialize, do we take stock, decide what was good, what could be improved upon and what we will do next time? Or do we beat ourselves up emotionally and degrade our efforts or even worse, consider ourselves bad, faulty, worthless?

Even if we might have been raised with a great deal of criticism or blame, we can decide to discontinue this inner critic.

It means taking your thoughts captive. Do you call yourself names? Do you think putdowns will encourage better behavior? It doesn’t work with your kids; it doesn’t work with you, either.

I was recently at a Christian women’s event and the take away for me was “ Who do you say that I am?” In this case the you is God. Who does He say that we are?  Beloved and chosen. Replacing negative thoughts with this reminder has been enlightening.

Taking

 

your thoughts captive can mean replacing the inner critic with a kinder, gentler voice of compassion. 

Invariably this topic touches on the perfectionism many of us attempt to achieve. When things don’t go as planned or as imagined, we don’t realize that our standard was too high. We are unable to see the good because we didn’t achieve the great. It was almost perfect but not quite. Perfectionism boils down to an expectation- an impossible one. 

 

So, back to Thanksgiving. I want you to consider making a couple of changes this year.

  1. Pare down your expectations of you, of your decorating, of your cooking ability, of the conversation at dinner.

  2. Focus on one thing that really matters to you- if it’s the meal, then make it delicious. If it’s the décor, do your best and then relax.

  3. Determine what you cannot control: if you are worried about controversial dinner conversation, choose not to worry about it. You can ask folks to have a politics free dinner table, but if they do not comply, It doesn’t have to ruin your day- 

Let’s all remember Thanksgiving is supposed to be about gratitude- not the Pottery Barn catalogue of gorgeous foods and picture perfect table settings.

Gratitude is a practice-  Teach it to your children. Start now and you will be in better stead for the holiday that is 3 weeks away!

BE Glad for the weather.

BE Grateful for the children, imperfect as they are, the family we come from.

BE Glad for another day to live this life. Another chance to try.

BE Grateful for good health, or improved health.

BE Glad to live in a country with all of it’s faults, that affords so much opportunity.

BE Grateful to have choices.

BE Glad to participate in your community, your place of worship, your little neck of the woods.

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