The Disappointment that Comes with Expectations

Barbie ruined my life. She’s right up there with Hallmark and Disney. They put this idea in your head that every Barbie has a Ken and every Ken buys the perfect Christmas presents. They are thoughtful and meaningful and make Christmas this amazing and joyous time of year. 

It’s all lies. It’s not like that AT ALL. And anyone who tells you it is is lying through their teeth.

Let me tell you what Christmas is actually like. It’s the pressure of buying gifts for people you hardly know. It’s fighting through overcrowded parking lots and stores, just trying not to get ran over. It’s spending way too much money trying to impress people who don’t mean a lot to you. It’s trying to pack all of your love and admiration for your loved ones into one or two perfect gifts and failing miserably because that’s not even realistic or possible. 

It’s spending a lot of time and care and effort doing things for others, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping and that sinking feeling of disappointment when you realize that they haven’t done the same for you. 

It’s wishing that everything was like it is in the movies. It’s wishing that your significant other cared for you as much as the Holiday Prince cares for the newly crowned Holiday Princess in those cheesy and terrible, but we still watch them, made for TV movies. 

They are GREAT at marketing. They found our pain point, the thing that bothers us SO MUCH – that Christmas isn’t like that at our house, but we want it to be like that. And they exploit it to the extreme. They crank out more and more of those movies and play them for weeks on end, brainwashing us with unrealistic expectations. 

You know what my Christmas was like? I spent it alone in my new, tiny and gross little apartment. I’m downsizing again because life is expensive and hard. I didn’t have money to go and see my family this year, so I stayed home. There was no prince to save me from myself, no last minute neighbor to invite me to their celebration like the movies suggest. Real life is just so much different.

The problem with Christmas is not that we have a bad day. It’s just not what we expect it to be. We expect magic and meaningful gifts, when it’s really just flashing lights and something someone else didn’t want or something they found on sale at Target yesterday. 

When I look back on all of the past Christmases I see a lot of disappointment. I’m always hoping for a gift that means something to me, something that says to me that the person who gave it to me cares about me and understands me and loves me. But that’s a lot of expectation to put on a gift. I don’t even know what would say that to me honestly. Most of the people in my life don’t know me well enough to even understand me to that level anyway.

This year I decided to stop with all of the expectations and just accept things for what they are. I bought my own presents, the best one being a new Kate Spade handbag that I LOVE. It’s the perfect size and color and it was on sale! 

Just because the people I love didn’t buy me things that I think are meaningful doesn’t mean they don’t love and value me. They might just be terrible at buying gifts. That’s not their thing and that’s ok. Or maybe they show their love in a different way and that’s ok too. 

It’s important to remember that everyone is different. Even INFJs have different love languages. Some of us value gifts more than quality time and vice versa. Different personality types also place different values on gifts as well. Some don’t see the point or value in gifts at all. And though it’s hard for us to deal with during the holidays and our birthdays, it’s important for us to accept them as they are and to understand that that’s just a part of who they are. 

It’s so much easier to let go of those expectations and buy your own meaningful gifts. 

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