Episode 138: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (and other painful thoughts)Dec 23, 2021
Between our expectations and our reality is where all of our pain lives. When we have an expectation that is different from our reality, that is what is creating our pain and our suffering - that disparity.
And what happens is we assume, we believe that the expectation we have is right…and when our reality doesn’t match that expectation, we assume the reality is wrong. We never question the expectation.
So, I want to offer you alternative thoughts to some of the expectations you have about the holidays. You can give up those expectations and reduce your suffering anytime you want - yes, even during the holidays.
- “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s always 50/50. We don’t escape the reality of life just because of the day on the calendar. There’s opposition, there’s negative emotion, there’s difficulty...and there is joy, there is positive emotion, there is ease at all times of the year.
- “I want everyone to have a good time/I want everyone to get along.” This is a super painful thought, because you’ve probably noticed that you can want it all you want and yet you have zero amount of control at creating it.
- “I don’t want people to be disappointed.” Other people have expectations…and when their expectations don’t match up with their reality, they may be disappointed, but it isn’t your job to make sure their expectation and their reality line up.
- “There’s so much to do.” I get it. But the truth is that there isn’t more that has to be done - there is more we choose to do. Tell yourself the truth…’I’m choosing to.’ And why. Then allow yourself to choose something different.
- “I’ve lost the spirit of the season – I’m so busy, I’ve missed the whole point.”
I love knowing that I am having the exact experiences I need to get to know my savior in my real life. He felt rushed. He felt overwhelmed. He knows what it means to have more needs than he has strength. We aren’t learning love in hours of quiet contemplation. We learn it at the dinner table where our children are fighting or around the tree when someone says something ungrateful. Shame is the real separator, not the rushing.
Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.
Hello, podcast universe. Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April price, and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas season, a very happy holiday season. We're kind of like right in the middle of it, we're getting down to the wire. I still have quite a bit of shopping to do, it's always the case for me. I'm never ahead of things, but I hope that you're having an amazing holiday season with your family, and enjoying all the joys of the season. And I just want to remind all of you that if you are looking for a gift for yourself, the very best gift that you can ever give yourself is the gift of coaching. The effects of like, really understanding your brain, why you do what you do, why you feel the way you do, and like learning to like, really change your thoughts so that you can change everything else is a gift that never stops paying you back.
Probably, you, like me, have spent a lot of money over the last couple of weeks on lots of stuff, right? Stuff that doesn't last, or we don't remember, but you will never forget investing in coaching, and it will never stop making a difference in your life in all of the areas of your life. Like you just can't undo those like fundamental monumental shifts, and changes that are going to come to your brain into your life through coaching. So, I know you've heard me talk about it, but my next coaching program starts in a couple of weeks. It starts the first week in January, and in that group, we are going to spend the first half of 2022 together. We're going spend six- months getting so much awareness, being able to adjust our thoughts, and change our lives, and change the way we think about ourselves, what's possible for us, all of that. And there may still be some spots left in that group. I am recording this podcast early, and so all of the spots may be full. I purposely keep that group small so that everyone in there can get a lot of personal coaching, along with the incredible benefit of seeing each other coached and seeing each other's brains, and the way that their brains work, right? And seeing our own thoughts reflected in other people like it's so powerful.
But I also want you to have lots of opportunities to get coached yourself, and so I keep that group small. Anyways, there may still be a spot in it, so you can go to aprilpricecoaching.com to see and to get on a call with me and talk about it. Or you can even send me a DM through Instagram, I'm at April Price and I can tell you if there is still a spot available, and get you set up for that. If you want one, I would really love for you to be a part of it. Your life will never be the same, I guarantee that. And if you want to change your life in a way that truly works, then this is the way. Coaching is the way. So, go to my website or DM me and we'll get you signed up. That will give you immediate access to the membership portal and all the videos. And then, we will be coaching together in just a couple of weeks, so what could be better than that? Nothing. I think the best way to start 2022! Like coaching is truly one of the best gifts of my life, and I want you to have it too.
Okay, so well, like I said, we are in the thick of the holiday season, and I have been thinking about you, and I just I wanted to create an episode that would help you really in a practical way, mentally, emotionally and even physically, really help you manage everything in your life right now in the middle of the holiday season. And of course, like all the things I'm going to tell you that apply to regular life as well. But here we are in the middle of it, and I thought it'd be really fun, and helpful to you to be able to talk about it in terms of the holidays.
So, the other day I was driving my car and of course, there was Christmas music playing. And you know, the song comes on, "t's the most wonderful time of the year." And I thought, Well, isn't that a painful thought? Like, here's this song, we sing it every year, we hear it on the radio every year, and it is kind of honestly a painful thought, right? And it just kind of made me like, smile to myself, like, yeah, there are probably a lot of painful thoughts, actually, that many of us have this time of year. And as you know, all of your thoughts are optional, right? And some of these thoughts that you have this time of year, they might seem really lovely. They might seem really helpful. They might seem really important or like, really true as well. But in actuality, every thought is just made up, every thought is optional and some of these well-intentioned. Odds can create a lot of suffering for us, and I just want to kind of like show them to you so that if you want to stop thinking that you can give yourself permission to do that, and think something else, something less painful, something that will bring you more joy, and more peace, and more contentment in your life, okay?
Because here's the thing like our thoughts about the holidays, right? Another way to say that is like kind of like our expectations. We have all these sort of like thoughts, and expectations about what the holidays are supposed to look like. And between our expectations, and those thoughts, between that and our reality is where all of our pain resides, okay? When we have an expectation that is different, then our reality, that creates so much pain for us, and it creates so much suffering the disparity between what we think is supposed to happen, and what is actually happening. That's where all of the pain in our life is created. And what happens is we think we assume, or we believe that the expectations we have are always right. We think that those are correct. It's the most wonderful time of the year, we think that is true, right? And then when our reality doesn't match that expectation, we go and assume that the reality is wrong. Like, we never question the expectation.
All right, so we have a thought, "It's the most wonderful time of the year," we have an expectation. It's like life is always 50/50 and that's it is really the holidays as any other time. And what happens is we start to think that the reality is wrong, and that the expectation is correct. We believe our thoughts, we believe our expectations, we believe it's the most wonderful time of the year when in actuality, in reality, it is like any other time of the year, which means it's always 50/50. It's 50 percent positive. It's 50 percent negative. And we sort of think something's gone wrong with us or our lives when, like, it's not the most wonderful time of the year, right? We never question the expectation, right? We're always questioning our reality, and thinking something is wrong with us or our lives.
Okay, so today I just want to offer you some alternative thoughts to some of these expectations that you have about the holidays that may be causing you unnecessary pain, right? Life is hard enough, it's going to be 50% negative, we do not need to add and multiply that suffering, or that pain through our expectations, through these optional thoughts that we do not have to think, okay? And I just want to like use this episode to let you know that you can give up any expectation you want, give up any thought you want, and reduce your suffering any time you want.
So, let's just start with the first one that I've already introduced, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Like, there's this idea, there's this thought, this is the expectation that it's supposed to be better than normal life. It's supposed to be like more joyful, more happy, more loving than other times of the year, okay? But the truth is, all of our life is 50-50. We live in a fallen world, and we can't alter that like the natural opposition that exists in our world just because of a calendar date. Okay, right? Like, we don't escape the reality of life just because there's a certain day shows up on the calendar. Now, we might have more positive emotion because of our thoughts about that day on the calendar. But in fact, like it is no different than any other day. It is always 50-50, and the thoughts we choose to think about it are going to create our emotional experience on any given day. But during the holidays, there's just as much opposition. There's just as much negative emotion. There's just as much difficulty as any other time of the year.
And at the same time, there is just as much joy. There is just as much positive emotion. There's just as much ease that are available at any other times of the year. And so, I just want to like, tell you that you aren't doing it wrong if you are having a 50-50 experience even during the holidays, you're doing exactly right, in fact. So, I think the really, really good example of this is the Christmas story itself, right? Like, it was a 50-50 experience. There was plenty of both, like positive and negative emotions in that story, that story that created it, all right? In the Christmas story, there was plenty of hardship, and persecution, and humiliation, and uncertainty, and pain, and fear, and grief, right? All along with the tidings of joy, and comfort, and peace, and salvation, and celebration, and like thanksgiving, like they came to gather, right?
And in fact, like when you read the story, the joy at the birth of that one baby. Like, even in that, it resulted in the death of like hundreds, and thousands of other Israelite babies for so many was not the most wonderful time of the year, right? And even in the story of the birth of Christ, there is opposition. There is pain, and sorrow, and suffering in addition to the joy and rejoicing, okay? And when you really embrace that and understand like, this is what life is, it is 50/50. No matter what, then you can stop expecting it all to be so wonderful and that alone will give you so much relief. It is not supposed to be all wonderful. It is supposed to be 50-50, just like the rest of your life. And when you release yourself from the pressure of having to feel good all the time, and feel happier at this time, you will have so much more power to choose the thoughts that will create the experiences you want, okay? It's not that you can't create happiness, you can your thoughts are creating your happiness. It's just that when you stop telling yourself you should be happy, then it's a lot easier to do it when you stop making yourself wrong for the emotions you are having. It's so much easier to choose emotions you want to be having.
So, I'm going to give you an example outside of the holidays that I hope will illustrate this. And the example is like in my marriage, sometimes when we enter into marriage, we think that it's going to be happy most of the time, right? Like it's surely like an 80:20 experience or a nightmare. Like, why get married if it's just going to be like regular life, right? But when I acknowledge that even marriage is 50-50 and I stop expecting it to be wonderful all the time, it makes me happy all the time, and feel good all the time. Then when I feel negative emotion in my marriage, I don't have to think that something's gone wrong. I don't have to think that there's something wrong with me, or there's something wrong with David. I don't have to wonder who's to blame, it's a 50-50 experience. And now I'm like, well, it shouldn't be that, I should be happier than that, and now someone's to blame, either I'm to blame or David's to blame, right? And when I recognize, like no marriage is going to be 50-50 half of the time, it's going to be amazing, and half of the time it's going to be challenging, then I don't have to shame myself or blame David. And when I'm not busy shaming or blaming, then I can just get way more curious, and purposeful about what I am choosing. It's like when I stop telling myself I'm supposed to feel loving all the time and I stop making myself wrong for that.
Then I can get really curious why I am choosing not to feel loving instead of like not wanting to look at it, right? So. Yes. How you feel now and during the holidays is created by you. And yes, sometimes you choose thoughts that create negative emotion even at Christmas. And there is nothing wrong with that choice. And if you stop making yourself wrong for the emotions you are choosing through your thoughts, then you can be way more curious and purposeful about what the thoughts you want to choose, the feelings you want to have, okay? All right.
Number two, another thought that we have during the holidays that can be really painful is the thought like, I want everybody to get along. I want everybody to have a good time. Like the families coming over, and they just want everybody to have a really good time, right? This is a super painful thought because you have probably noticed that you can want that all like all day long, you can want everyone to get along. And yet, because they are all humans with their own agency, you have zero power to control it. You have zero power to create that reality, okay? So, you're going in with the expectation like, I want everybody to have a good time, I want everybody to choose a positive experience. And yet the reality is you don't get it, you don't get a say in that. You don't get to choose for other people, okay? And so, you've set yourself up for a really painful experience. What I want you to remember is that other people are always choosing their experience.
They are always choosing it, and they get to, and this is kind of like mind blowing. There's nothing wrong with whatever they choose. If they choose contention, they will feel contention. If they choose anger, and hate, and frustration, and irritation, then they are going to have that experience and that is okay. You do not also have to choose it because they are choosing it, okay? So, I think one of the most helpful thoughts to help you with this is to think, I want people to have the exact experience they choose. I just want them to be them, and to choose what the experience that they want to have and to not make it wrong. Not judge them for it. Not make them wrong for it. Just like allow them to choose for themselves and put myself in charge of choosing for me, okay? There is just so much relief when we stop arguing with the choice that other people are making. Like when we stop resisting what they're choosing, and wishing they would choose something else, and wishing they would do it like the way we want it.
Like when you can, like, drop all of that resistance to them, you can just love them as they are and love you guys. Feels better than anything else. Like, if you want to have an amazing dinner, everybody's coming over, and you want to have an amazing dinner like you can feel love, regardless of the choices of anybody else, right? That is the great gift that Christ offered you, through his coming offers that possibility to you. And so like that's why we're celebrating anyway. So like, just give everybody the opportunity to make their own choices and you choose for yourself. You choose to have a good time, you choose to get along with yourself and with whatever version of them shows up and whatever choices they decide to make, okay?
Number three, another thought that is super painful that we have at the holidays is I don't want people to be disappointed, right? I don't want to let people down. Here's the funny thing is that other people have expectations as well, right? When they come to the holidays, they all have expectations, and they have thoughts about what they want us to do, right? And when we think that like we are in charge of fulfilling those expectations, it's a whole lot of pressure, okay? Whenever in any way, in any part of your life, when you think you are in charge of other people's emotions, of meeting their expectations, when you think like you can disappoint them, or hurt them, or any of those things, you cannot ever manage somebody else's emotional experience.
And other people may have expectations and when their expectations don't match up with their reality, in fact, they might be disappointed. Like I said before, they might create pain for themselves when their expectations don't match their reality. But it isn't your job to make sure that their expectations, and their realities match up. It's not your job to make sure that they are not disappointed that they don't choose that feeling, right? It is true that people might expect you to show up in a certain way to like, spend a certain amount of time with them, prepare certain meals, deliver certain presents or experiences, right? But that does not obligate you to fulfill those expectations. You can. You can choose to. But I would encourage you not to choose to in order to manage somebody else's emotional experience, because that can lead to resentment, while we're trying to meet their expectations so they won't be disappointed, so that they'll have a certain emotional experience like that can lead to our resentment because we've given ourselves a really big job that we can't do.
And then we've told ourselves, well, like, I don't have a choice, which is always a lie, okay? So, you have to start letting people choose whatever experience they want, sometimes that's disappointment, sometimes that's pain, and then being okay with that choice. If they choose disappointment, they are allowed to. And it's not your job to make sure that they don't, okay?
Number four, another thought that is really challenging and painful at this time of year is there is so much to do. This is one that like I like to think a lot, and hurt myself with a lot just ask my husband. There is so much to do, I'm never going to get it all done, right? Like, I get it. I get it. I know that this is like a thought that we sometimes choose during the holidays. And the solution to this thought, there's so much to do is to tell ourselves the truth, which is the truth is, there isn't more that has to be done. There isn't there is more that we choose to do, right? But truthfully, there is nothing that has to be done. There is no tradition that has to be fulfilled and carried out, there is like no amount of cards that have to be said. No amount of presents that have to be bought. It's all a choice. And so, I think there's a lot of power in telling yourself the truth about that, that I'm choosing it. It doesn't mean that you're not going to do any of the things you want, but it's like so much. There's so much relief when you say, I'm choosing to do this thing, I want to do this thing as opposed to, I have to do this thing.
So truthfully, with my very favorite parts of Christmas is writing the Christmas letter and sending it out to all our friends and family and sending the cards out. And I really love it because it's a moment for me to like, reaffirm like my beliefs, like why am so grateful for the season? Like, it's a really sacred experience for me, and I love remembering all the friends and family that I'm sending it to. Like, the whole experience for me is like really truthfully like one of the best parts of Christmas and yet every year I get all this stress, and anxiety, and heaviness from it because I'm like, I still have to write the card, I still have to write the card, I don't know what I'm going to write. I still have that to do, I still have to order the card and I have to print the addresses and I have to like, it's this big, huge, like, heavy project. And when I tell myself, like, I still have to do that thing, there's just so much obligation, and resentment involved. And so, there's just so much power in telling myself what the truth is, which is like, I am choosing to do this, and then telling myself why.
So, it's so important that we tell ourselves the truth about it. I want to do this thing, and this is why, right? And even allowing a space for yourself to choose something different. For example, if I was sending that card to meet the expectations of other people, I might want to reevaluate the reason for that I might want to like, if the reason is I don't want to disappoint people, that might not be a reason that I want to keep doing the things I'm doing. I want to look at the reason why I like sending the card because it's my chance to like, remember my testimony and share my feelings about the things that are most important in my life to the people that I love most in the world like that feels so much better than thinking like, Oh, well, people are expecting it. Like, you just really want to tell yourself the truth about what you're choosing, and why, and then think about, do I like the reason? Why do I like why I'm doing that and allow yourself the space and the opportunity to say no and to choose something else if that is what you want?
Another really good example of this is every year we do a service project. My my in-laws years and years ago asked that we do a service project instead of giving them a gift, and then we do a little write up, and we take some pictures, and we make a little page for a memory book for them. And literally, you guys, like every year, I'm like, oh my gosh, we still have that project to do. And every year I'm like, oh my gosh, with everything going on, we still have to go, and serve people, right? This is what my brain is offering me and really and truthfully like, it's the one of the sweetest parts of the holiday season. But what I tell myself like, Oh, here's yet one more thing on my list that I have to do. It becomes so painful and heavy, and it's not even true. It's actually something I'd love to do. But when I tell myself I have to like, I miss the joy of that. So, I just want to offer you that there is nothing you have to do and you can tell yourself the truth and like, choose for yourself.
I was thinking about this because I was talking to my chiropractor and he was saying like, Oh my gosh, I love Thanksgiving. Like, is my favorite holiday. I love Thanksgiving so much more than Christmas, right? I was like, Me too seriously, right? Like, like at Christmas, we like Thanksgiving. We just get together, and eat, and be grateful. Like, that's enough for me, right? So, I was thinking about that on the way home from the chiropractor the other day because we had done like the whole spiel, telling each other the same thing that we told each other every year like, Oh my gosh, why can't Christmas, be more like Thanksgiving. And I was driving home and I was like, the only reason they're different is because of my thoughts. The only reason, honestly, between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the feeling I have about each of them is that with Thanksgiving, I don't have the thought I have to do all these things. I don't have any of those, I have to do these things, people are expecting these things. Like, there's this whole list of things that must be done. I never, ever have those thoughts about Thanksgiving. And so I just thought, You know what? What if I borrowed those, and then use the same thoughts towards Christmas? There isn't anything here that I have to do that. I'm obligated to do that. People are expecting me to do it like it's all choice.
So, that I can change it, right? Like your feelings about the holidays, obviously are created by your thoughts about it. And one of the thoughts that will give you so much relief is to give up the thoughts of "I have to" and instead switch it to, I choose to, and really own that, okay?
The last thought that I want to offer you that a lot of that can create a lot of pain for us because we make ourselves so wrong about it, right? That's always why there's so much pain. But it's something along the lines of like, I've missed the whole point of the season, like I've lost the spirit of the season. I'm so busy, and I'm so frustrated, and I'm so like worried about all these things that I've missed the whole point, and I didn't have any time to think about Christ or worship him or like have those quiet moments of like connection with him. And like, I'm so busy that I've missed the whole point, right? And then we make ourselves really wrong about that, right? Like, we just think like I spent all that time rushing around and like I, I missed the point of the season, and I just want to offer you another way to look at it.
I really I think there's so much value in recognizing that we learn about Christ, we worship him like in our daily moment to moment choices and decisions. And what I mean by that is that we are not learning to love like he did in like hours of quiet contemplation. Hey, like, I'm not learning the skill of love like he taught by, just like devoting myself to hours, and hours of prayer. Like, of course, there's the place for that. But like the real learning and the application of love in my life is happening in in my real life, right? We are learning love at the dinner table when our children are fighting, and we choose to think loving thoughts or when we're around the tree and someone says something ungrateful about the gift, they just got like, there is the real exercise in love, right? So, I I just love knowing that I am having the exact experiences I need to get to know my Savior in my real life, right?
Like he felt rushed, he felt overwhelmed, he felt like there were too many needs and not enough him, right? Like he felt the pressure of like meeting all the disappointment of all the years, and and meeting that was what he had to give, right? So, as I attempt to manage my own mind, and choose in my real life, choose love in my real life when I'm presented with so many opportunities to choose, something else like that is in fact the whole point of his coming and the whole point of the season. And I like to see everything as an opportunity to know him and have him know me, right? Like, you aren't doing it wrong when you're busy, and involved and like doing all the things like he is there in that he was choosing love in the midst of the mess, and so are you.
And I just want to remind you that the real separator between us, and God is shame. It's not the rushing around, and it's not the like time we didn't spend in quiet contemplation. That's not creating the separation. The separation is created by the shame when we tell ourselves we've done it all wrong and we like blew our opportunity to like, really like, get to know him and that we like we wasted the season in all the busyness, and that shame is actually the thing that separates us from God that thought that, like, I did it wrong. And so like, I'm not deserving of his love. And so, I'm not saying that you can't make changes and you don't have to rush if you don't want to. Of course, you can change all of those actions. But the running around is in fact just an action. And what matters is how you think about it. If you run around and you tell yourself you're doing it wrong, then yeah, that's going to create shame, and that's going to create separation, and disconnection. So, I just want to offer you that the application of love, The whole reason Christ came is done in our real lives, with the real, flawed humans that we share this planet with.
It's not going to happen in an ideal bubble outside of this reality, right? We talked about that a couple of episodes ago. Because of him, we get to practice again and again, the choice of love, the choice of reconciliation with ourselves, with God, with others. And that is done here and now in our real life with real human beings who choose thoughts that we might not agree with. When there is stress, when there is traffic, when there are lines, when there is aggravation. Can I love here as he's inviting me to do? This work that we all came to do, the work of learning to choose love over what our brain offers is not done in quiet moments, but in the real ones that we face in the mess of life. And you don't need to clean that all up, and get to like this peaceful, magical place and have it be perfect to worship, and remember Christ, in fact, in the imperfection is exactly when you need him. He did it in the mess, and so can you. And that is what he is inviting you to do.
All right, so I hope that helps you as you navigate this last couple of weeks of the holiday season. It is supposed to be 50/50. This is still a fallen world, after all. You will get to peace when you want people to be exactly what they are and choose exactly what they're choosing, not want to change those choices or their experience. Control your own emotional experience and your expectations instead of trying to control other people's, remember that you get to choose how you spend your time and your money and your energy, and it is a choice. Tell yourself the truth about that. And remember that you get to know Christ. Love him, worship him best in the mess, you get to know him best there in the mess. Real love is learned in real life. And this season is just one more plays that we get a practice making that choice. And because of Christ, we get to practice that as much as we need to, and that is definitely something worth celebrating. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening, and I'll see you next week.
The next round of my coaching program made four more starts the first week in January, and I want you to be a part of it in coaching. I will show you the simple way to change your brain, to create more joy, more love and more accomplishment in your life. Your Earth life experience is precious and finite, and there is so much more available to every one of us in this life and the next, and I would love to show you how to get it. Go to aprilpricecoaching.com to sign up.
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