Holiday - a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.
I once heard that in the USA women don't enjoy going home for the holidays as much as men because there is more social pressure for women to cook and clean during gatherings. I kept reminding myself of this stereotype when I felt stressed about giving meaningful gifts or when I was cleaning my house like a maniac so my family could come over and make a mess, oh I mean party! HA!
This year the holiday season caused me to reflect on the expectations I have for myself in all areas of my life.
Expectations as an entrepreneur, a woman, a citizen, an environmentalist, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a stranger. Basically, I took inventory of my interests and responsibilities and asked "What is my intention here?"
I wasn't disappointed. What did disturb me were the unreasonable expectations I had for myself and how I spoke to myself if I wasn't satisfied.
How unreasonable, right? And yet, everyday I'm overwhelmed by the failure to achieve it.
So this holiday season I got a lot of time to practice countering this expectation of perfection with patience, kindness and compassion for myself. It was rough. I resisted. I celebrated small successes. It got easier.
There are so many layers to this. I'm sure books have been written. (Oh - maybe I should read some!) I could go on and on to rationalize these old patterns. Striving for perfection is good! The mind may not be able to conceive the HOW, but the drive to achieve has pushed the weakest of us to accomplish the seemingly unattainable.
My point here, my intention is that -
I can expect perfection as long as I accept the process.
Expecting perfection wasn't just pushing me to try harder. Instead it was a distraction. Just like images on social media of the perfect body or scenery or food don't tell the whole story. I didn't want to accept the whole story. There are ups and downs. Successes and failures. And man do I get down on myself when I fail. I would never tolerate a friend speaking to me that way.
The pressure for perfection was real and yet I created it. Reality is perception and all I need to do is shift the focus.
So what expectations do you have for yourself? Are they reasonable or unrealistic? How do you talk to yourself about your successes and failures? What would a good friend tell you?
This life, this weird experience we're all having, it's a big experiment. We're all learning. I'm grateful to learn with you.
May your holiday's be restful.
Peace and Love,