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Please eliminate this one thing to have a happier holiday season.

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

As we head into the festive season, I wanted to send you my love and warm wishes. I

hope you all can rest and recharge and get ready for 2021. And I'd like to thank you all for your support this year.

Please let me impart this one piece of wisdom before I shut my computer for 2020. I promise, this one small change will make your season a little bit happier.

Please let go of your expectations.

Expectations are the root of all heartache.

My wish for you this Christmas is to drop your expectations of:

1. Yourself - Please don't expect to be perfect this year. Drop expectations of your weight, what you have (or haven't) achieved, your mood, your finances, how many gifts you bought the kids. It is what it is and I'm sure you are doing your best with what you have. You're allowed to feel like rubbish if you've had a bad year, if you're exhausted or burnt out. Please be kind to yourself over this period. Practice self-care, self-reflection and gratitude for the little things.

2. Others - Let them be. We've all had a year and we've all reacted differently to 2020. And everybody's reaction is valid. Please don't have expectations of how other people should be reacting (ugh, the word should). Let them be. Listen to their stories of the year. Let them express their feelings to you. Be that safe space for them to trust you with their vulnerabilities and share yours with them.

3. Christmas itself (or the holiday period) - It might look a little bit different this year - fewer people gathering, less travel, fewer gifts, perhaps even people sadly missing from the table. You're allowed to be sad and grieve a lost reality or lost loved ones, but please don't let your expectation of how you think it SHOULD be interfere with enjoying the small moments of how it is. You're allowed to find joy in the little things. You're allowed to be optimistic for 2021 and be glad 2020 is over. I know I am.

Be kind to yourself and to those around you. You are valued, you are loved and you deserve to feel heard.

It might be time to do a quick check of how empathetic you are heading into Christmas, you get your empathy score using my Empathy Quiz.

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time on or message me on LinkedIn.

Sending you love,


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Speaker and Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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