Thanksgiving is this week, which means you have expectations about what it “should” look like and likely wish some things were different.
And for those who aren’t celebrating—don’t worry; this is just as applicable to you.
We all have expectations, and we all wish some things were different.
The problem with this is that they aren’t different.
They are exactly what they are.
And year after year, you create a lot of unnecessary pain for yourself as you hold onto these expectations and wish things were different.
Your mom will keep doing the things she does that drive you crazy. So will your brother, and your spouse, and your boss, and your kids, and everyone else.
But the more you wish they were different, the more limitations you put on yourself.
Blending families has taught me this lesson better than any other circumstance I’ve ever had.
I can wish my husband’s ex-wife wouldn’t show up and demand her kids on Christmas, even though it’s our year with them until I’m blue in the face. It’s not going to change a thing. Believe me, I tried.
The only thing wishing it was different did was make me miserable and prevent me from creating the kind of Christmas I wanted. It did nothing to change her or the situation.
Once I accepted that this is who she is and this is what she’s going to do, I was able to create a solution that I can live with – without her having to change first. It gave me the freedom to have the kind of Christmas I wanted rather than being the victim of her behavior.
The Shackles of Wishing
- Creates Unrealistic Expectations
Wishing for a different reality often leads to unrealistic expectations. We set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect life to conform to our daydreams. Constantly comparing our reality to an idealized version can lead to frustration and anxiety.
- Hinders Problem-Solving
While some level of aspiration is healthy, excessive wishing can hinder our ability to address challenges effectively. Instead of proactively seeking solutions, we may become fixated on what we lack, making it difficult to take action and make positive changes.
- Negates Appreciation & Gratitude
Wishing for things to be different can blind us to the blessings we currently enjoy. Focusing on what’s missing can make it easy to overlook everything that is already awesome. When we cultivate appreciation and gratitude, happiness, joy, and contentment follow. When we wish things were different, we limit the abundance of these amazing emotions.
- Promotes a Sense of Powerlessness
When we’re constantly wishing for change, we may start to feel powerless or victimized by our circumstances. This mindset can rob us of the motivation and empowerment needed to take control of our lives and make meaningful changes.
Strategies to Stop Wishing and Start Living
- Radical Acceptance
Choose to accept everything as it is. Exactly as it is. You have a mom who does these things. Period. Nothing comes next. You just accept it. This is who she is.
You have a bank account with this much money. Period. Nothing comes next. You just accept it. It is what it is.
Your turn > Change mom to whoever you wish was different. Change money in a bank account to whatever circumstances you wish were different.
- Decide What You Want
Given that things are what they are, now what? What do you want?
With the mom example, knowing she will continue to be who she is and do what she does, now what? What do you want to do for Thanksgiving? How can you set yourself up for success? How might you take care of yourself? Who do you want to be when she does that thing?
With the bank account example, do you want to be grateful for what you have without all the drama, or do you want to be grateful for what you have AND create more? How much more? How might you do that?
- Create It
Take the information from Step #2 and put it into action. You can have an amazing Thanksgiving with a mom who does X and a brother who does Y. But you won’t, as long as you wish it were different. Only when you completely accept things as they are are you free to create what you want.
Questions to Consider
- Who or what do you wish was different?
- How is wishing it was different serving you?
- How is it causing you unnecessary pain and suffering?
- How is wishing it was different preventing you from creating what you want?
Drop The Shackles
Wishing things were different are shackles. They hold us back. They keep us from creating the experiences we want because we are focused on something we do not or cannot have.
Freedom comes as we accept things as they are and then ask ourselves, “Now what?”
This gives you the freedom to create the experience you want rather than being stuck with the experience you have.
Remember that the power to create an amazing Thanksgiving, an amazing life, or an amazing anything ultimately lies within you.
Live Free. Love Life.