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Honoring our heroes today...and the battleground of expectations

Honoring our heroes today...and the battleground of expectations
Emotions seem to be flaring lately. Whether in communities easing restrictions, or those facing more days - and weeks - of stay at home orders, none of us is feeling the normalcy we crave. Continued social distancing practices promise a summer not exactly what many of us remember, or look forward to year after year. And this summer is beginning with many of us feeling edgier than ever, with angry words dancing on the tip of our tongues.
Whether with relatives, coworkers, a spouse, partner or roommate, others’ behavior seems to be extra irritating these last few weeks for many. Boredom and annoyance are understandable with weeks having stretched into months at home, and, of course, people’s “cracks” are showing under the strain of the pandemic… It’s not hard to be frustrated. 
With myriad conversations about how to “go back,” and how to do it safely, differences of opinion can be irritating too. These feelings can be exacerbated as we emerge from our cocoons and see others—strangers and friends—who see things differently than us. “Why isn’t that person wearing a mask!” “Is that really necessary?”
Getting a handle on disappointment and irritability has involved a more careful look at expectations, and how they’ve managed to creep up…again. The easing of restrictions naturally pulls for expectations for normalcy, to say nothing of our collective need for a break. Who isn’t wishing things were back to normal yet?
But wishing things were different is ALWAYS be an emotional set up…even if it is one of the most normal human responses to change we have. There is just no winning the fight against reality. Nothing is normal about these times, and won’t be anytime soon.
I find the more worthy fight is in surfacing hopes that have somehow been masquerading as expectations. Reset expectations and you can reset your outlook (once again). This is the “rinse and repeat” of maintaining our sanity through this…
Today marks the unofficial start of summer, but is also an important day to honor and quietly reflect on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. As this Memorial Day lands in the midst of a pandemic, it can help to stay vigilant to the battleground of our expectations. Not just for those around us, but for ourselves, resetting expectations always helps.
As a friend beautifully said in a Facebook post this past week about reopening, “Let us remember, every day, to behave with patience, compassion and understanding. We have no greater gifts to give to one another.”
Happy Memorial Day friends, 

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If you or someone you love is looking for more help managing anxiety during the pandemic, my free online course Coronavirus Anxiety Toolkit compiles evidence-based strategies and tools to help and is available for access here.
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Wishing you safety and good health…
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Alicia H Clark PsyD Wellness Digest

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, PLLC, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036