An excerpt from Expectation Hangover by Christine Hassler
We take most things, including ourselves, far too seriously! As children, we are naturally playful, creative, and joyful. You didn’t have to remember to have fun. You could effortlessly express your emotions. When it came to making a decision, you didn’t have to know why or analyze; you chose with your heart. You did not agonize over the past or worry about the future, because you were fully in the present moment. As we grow up, we leave the freedom and beauty of the child behind. But don’t fret — he or she is still in there! The child is the embodiment of our most authentic self, freed from judgment, denial, and separation.
Make time for creativity, joy, and play as you did when you were a child. My friend Sam Bennett explains in her book Get It Done that we are all creative; we just may not all be artistic. Just because you are not drawn to things that are more traditionally thought of as creative, like painting, drawing, or composing music, does not mean you are not creative. Discover what feels creative to you that is an expression of your uniqueness. Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is how the Universe expresses itself through each of us. Yet we often put creativity on the back burner and do not give it the time and attention it deserves!
As you freely play and allow joy, the focus is no longer on who you expect to be or feel you are expected to be, which leaves room for you to explore and be who you truly are. You can stop looking for yourself in a therapist’s office, foreign country, relationship, or a pair of Jimmy Choos and rediscover yourself in your childlike expression.
And for Pete’s sake, find the comedy in your humanness! Laughter is divinely transforming. If an Expectation Hangover knocks at your door, greet it with a sense of humor. Think of the punch lines of great jokes — they tweak our perspective on something so we see it differently. Laugh at the unexpected. Find the humor in how attached you were to your plans when you thought you were the Master of the Universe.
A few days ago I was racing around town attempting to get errands done because I was leaving town to speak for a week. My day was planned to the minute, and I was serious about getting my to-do list done. Between errand one and two I got in a car accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, it was my fault. So not only was I at risk of an Expectation Hangover because things did not go according to my plans, but it was also a perfect setup to be hard on myself for making a mistake.
Although I was not able to avert the accident, I was able to save myself from an Expectation Hangover by not taking the situation seriously. I was responsible and took action in terms of exchanging information with the other driver and reporting the accident to my insurance company. When I got home, I had a good laugh about the situation. How amusing that I had forgotten for a moment that I do not have complete control! And how liberating it felt to be able to have an undesirable situation occur without having to feel the undesirable symptoms of an Expectation Hangover. Granted, not all Expectation Hangovers are laughing matters, but a lot of them can be. Life is serious enough — when you can take yourself more lightly, do so.
Christine Hassler is the author of 20 Something, 20 Everything, The 20 Something Manifesto, and the national bestseller Expectation Hangover, which is now available in paperback. She left her successful job as a Hollywood agent to pursue a life she could be passionate about. For over a decade she has been sharing her passion as a speaker, retreat facilitator and life coach specializing in relationships, career & life purpose, and fulfillment. Visit her online at www.christinehassler.com
Adapted from Expectation Hangover: Free Yourself From Your Past, Change Your Present, and Get What You Really Want ©2014 by Christine Hassler. Published with permission of New World Library www.newworldlibrary.com