12/27/2012 01:01 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2013

Faith, Fact and Fiction: Three Expectation Extravaganza Superstars

Welcome to the end of 2012, start of 2013 expectation extravaganza! Join us in our three-part series on ways to navigate (even resolve) expectations today and all year long.

Sharing tea with a cherished friend knee-deep in juggling a tsunami of expectations over the next 10 days, I'm reminded how expectations flavor our lives and loves. As 2012 climaxes with holiday festivities and annual rites of passage (like New Year's resolution making, aka expectation setting) to warm us up to 2013, we enter into a unique time I call the "Annual Expectation Extravaganza."

Similar to other seasonal cycles for theater, television, movies and sports, expectations climax at both ends of the cycle. Each season starts with high hopes, pundit proclamations and forecasting (expectation setting) to experience something edgy, entertaining, empowering or endearing. As the season soaks or shrivels expectations, hopes blossom into blessed bliss or dissolve due to daily duress. With seasons officially changing, we enter into a unique 10 days where expectations rapidly climax or crash, awash in faiths, facts or fictions.

As we enter into this year's 10-day expectations extravaganza, allow me to dust off your definitions for faith, facts and fiction.

  1. What's your definition of faith? Is faith a complete trust or confidence in someone or something? Is faith a strong belief in a deity or in the doctrines of an organized religion or spiritual system?

  • How do you accept something as a fact? Do you take time to verify (through first-hand experience) a fact before you accept a fact to be true? Are facts eternally true?
  • Is something fictional if you're unable to touch, taste, smell, see or hear it?
  • With a refreshed set of definitions in mind, time to dive into our first of a three-part series to navigate an annual expectation extravaganza.

    Faith-based expectations engage superstars known as doubt, guilt, shame and worry to toil our hearts, minds, dreams and desires! Faith-based rites or rituals usher in a host of ripened rules rooted in decades, sometimes centuries-deep traditions. Traditions tend to create fertile soil for expectations to thrive and grow more rooted with each passing generation. For example, Santa is a fact for many young souls who are taught to celebrate the materialistic world. Children learn they'll receive gifts based on how naughty or nice they've been.

    How young were you when you first felt doubt, guilt, shame or worry? Do these taught traits afflict you today? What steps do you take to resolve then dissolve the roots of these life-draining weeds? To avoid feeling guilt or shame, do you sacrifice your joy, health or relationships by attending events you actually dread? To reduce doubt or worry about your future joy, health or relationships, do you placate people or tolerate traditions you'd normally steer clear from?

    Open to a suggestion on how to methodically release receiving or spreading doubt, guilt shame or worry especially during our expectations extravaganza?


    Ask yourself this question, "Do I give myself permission to be both happy and healthy?" If yes, then there's one more question you may have to ask. That question? Ask others who trigger feelings of doubt, guilt, shame and worry if they expect you to sacrifice your happiness (and thus, health) for their sake. These questions quickly unearth expectations both known and unconsciously buried.


    Really? You wish to receive or spread doubt, guilt, shame or worry? Seriously? Does your faith require you to sacrifice your joy and health as well as the joy and health of others? If your faith expects you (and others) to maintain traditions to live with lifelong pain and suffering, I return to my original question. Do you give yourself permission to be happy and healthy?

    I realize these questions regarding happiness and health are subject to what you expect from your faith. As we explore the facts about both happiness and health in part two of this series, you'll discover ways to sift out doubt, guilt, shame and worry. Continue on with us if you desire to shift away from expecting, to experiencing, more happiness and health one day, one step at a time.

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