As you’re hopefully aware, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most enjoyable and peaceful of our annual holidays. There are no gifts, everyone can celebrate, decorations are not expected, and it’s based on one of our best feeling emotions: gratitude.

That said, for many people, it’s their least favorite holiday. Why? It has to do with mixing our expectations with reality. Of what do we have expectations?

  • We have expectations regarding the quality + quantity of food that we will eat.
  • We have expectations as to how the table will be set, what we will drink, and which pies will be offered for dessert.
  • We have expectations as to how children will behave, who will help with the preparation, and who will clean up.
  • Finally, we have expectations as to how our mother-in-laws should act, what our sisters should say, and how supportive our fathers should be.

Try this to better enjoy your Thanksgiving this year. Close your eyes and imagine yourself waking up on Friday morning. How do you want to feel? What do you want to think of when you think of your Thanksgiving spent with family + friends the day before?

We feel emotions because of the thoughts we think. Depending on which thoughts you chose on Thanksgiving, you will feel a certain way when you wake up on Friday.

For example, If you choose to think of how obnoxious it was of your sister to bring a pumpkin pie when you clearly told her you were bringing a pumpkin pie, how might you feel? Contrast that with how you might feel if you thought how kind it was of your sister to take the time to make a pumpkin pie when she has a newborn and a new job! Sure, you told her you were bringing pumpkin pie but hey, there might be pie leftovers!

Which thought creates drama? Which thought leaves you feeling better? Nothing has outwardly changed with the situation. You have chosen to have a different experience.

One more example: Your mother-in-law criticizes your cranberries in front of everybody. You could think any of these thoughts:

  1. “Lol is she worked up over cranberries!”
  2. “Hum, how interesting that she’s so worked up about my cranberries. She must have had a rough morning.”
  3. “Damn! I knew I shouldn’t have brought cranberries. I stink at cooking. Why didn’t I just bring cheese and crackers. Maybe I wouldn’t have messed that up.”
  4. “Here she is again; nothing I do is ever good enough for her. She’s one nasty woman. Yo bitch, nothing’s ever good enough for you.
  5. You will feel differently depending on which thought you chose. Drop the drama and change your expectations. If your MIL always criticizes what you bring, expect her to. You get to choose whether or not to create drama.

What others do or say has to do with them, not us. When we have expectations as to what we think others ‘should’ do or say, we create drama. Stop “should’ing” on yourself. People are going to act how they’re going to act. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them.
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You get to choose your Thanksgiving experience. How might you change your expectations for tomorrow?

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