Updated: Apr 20
Have you ever found yourself saying or thinking ‘Christmas shouldn’t be *insert complaint here*’ or ‘Christmas should be *insert expectation here*’?
I’m willing to bet you have!
I think we’ve all had a time where our expectations of what Christmas should or shouldn’t be weren’t met in reality and at some level disappointed us.
Maybe it was when we were kids and we realised Santa’s little secret,
or when your family didn’t play nice at the dinner table, or you had to visit too many houses on Christmas day to keep all your family members happy.
If we hold onto these expectations we have set for this ‘special’ day, chances are, at some stage, we’re going to be a little disappointed.
My psychologist once said to me (remember I mentioned in day 6?) that one of their main goals for their clients was to create a little bit of flexibility of thinking.
The more rigid you are in your way of thinking, the harder it will be to cope with anything that is outside of your expectations or what you think ‘should’ be or ‘should’ happen.
This flexibility helps in all areas of life, particularly events like Christmas.
How do you increase your mental flexibility?
Obviously, it’s not a ‘snap your fingers and it’s done’ kind of thing. To really increase your mental flexibility can take a fair bit of work- starting with knowing when and where in your life you think rigidly, and then change your mindset so that you can see other options and be ok with them.
So, for the purposes of getting through this Christmas, try this:
Think of Christmas as ‘just another day’
We treat Christmas as a special day, because of hundreds of years of traditions that we’ve followed on. Of course, Christmas is a religious holiday, and we don't celebrate another day like it. However, religion aside, Christmas has become what it is today by centuries of families passing on what they believed was important to celebrate on the day.
It’s for this reason that we can set rather high expectations on what it ‘should’ be and involve. It can be quite disappointing when we don’t have a good day, when for many of us, Christmas is meant to be ‘the best day of the year’.
If you do feel like you’re not having the ‘best day’ as Christmas is supposed to be, ask yourself this: ‘If this were any other day of the year, would I be as disappointed, or have I just set the expectation of Christmas a bit unrealistically?’ and ‘Does Christmas really need to be the way I think it does, or is it ok for it to go a little differently?’