What Shoulds Define Your Holiday Season?

Holidays happen annually, like clockwork - it's honestly traditional without effort. And what comes with tradition are the shoulds. "You should do this", "it should like like that". At the same time, your shoulds are a choice. In this episode, Taylor explores her holiday shoulds and encourages you to explore your own.

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of Inner Warmup. My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison, founder of Inner Workout. And you as always are our expert guest, thanks for being here. You know we kick off the episodes with a mindfulness exercise. And what I'd like you to do right now is to tune into your body, if it helps close your eyes and notice what's happening in your body right now. See if you can identify three things. For me, I tuned into my heart beating. I've noticed this kind of twitching sensation that was happening in my left inner arm and I felt some chills, some goosebumps. I didn't realize actually how cold I was. Identify your three things and when you're ready, if your eyes were closed, you can open them. We’ll get right into the interview. 

The question that we've got on the table is what shoulds define your holiday season?  What shoulds define your holiday season? Shoulds come up a lot in the personal development space, because learning how to investigate, interrogate your shoulds is a deep part of the inner work. And the holiday season, for me at least, can feel like a minefield of shoulds. It's probably this combination of it being the end of the year and so people are kind of looking back and looking forward. We're also generally hanging out more with family and friends, people who have opinions of us, some of the people who may have instilled our shoulds into beliefs that we now accept. And so you start to see shoulds popping up. It could be shoulds, like you should be eating this or you shouldn't be eating that. Lots of shoulds around food that I hear people talking about. And I'm actually grateful to see how the conversation of it has shifted, at least in my little corner of the internet. I’m seeing a lot of reminders not to make those types of comments about what people are eating, or what their bodies look like. 

It could be a you should buy a gift for this person, your boss, a client, a colleague, a partner, or someone that you're seeing but maybe you're not official yet.

“You shouldn't shop at all. Like it's bad for the environment you're contributing to capitalism, don't shop at all.”

You can be assured that you hear “you should decorate. And if you do decorate, your home should look like something that could go on Pinterest. You should bring this person home to meet your family. You shouldn't bring this person home. You should gather with your family, you shouldn't gather with your family.”

If you're in a partnered relationship where there are multiple families involved, maybe it's shoulds around how you should split up the holidays. This family should get Christmas eve, if that's what you celebrate, this family should get Christmas Day. All kinds of should, and I just shared those to kind of get your juices flowing of the types of shoulds that might pop up.

 There's all kinds of shoulds during the holiday season and again, we see shoulds all year. The holidays, just author's up a little bit of a pressure cooker around shoulds. And because we've got this pressure cooker situation, it's a really nice opportunity for us to get in the habit of interrogating every should. If you find yourself thinking or saying “I should” or “I shouldn’t." I want you to ask yourself two questions. First, where did this belief come from? Did it come from something your family told you? Something a former partner told you? Something that you've picked up from your work culture? Where did this belief come from? And then follow it up by asking yourself, “do I want to accept this belief as my own?” So once you've determined where it came from, and a lot of times the shoulds come from something outside of you that you picked up societally or culturally, and then you get to say, Okay, do I want to accept it as my own?

This gives you the opportunity to choose, rather than just operating based on a should that you picked up along the way. So this one is kind of silly, but this is a show that came up for me. One of my shoulds is that I don't do Christmasy things until the day after Thanksgiving. And when I thought about where this came up, my family kind of did that, especially my older sister. And so I think I just kind of picked it up as a oh, yeah, let's just wait until after Thanksgiving. My birthday is also at the end of November. And so it's kind of like, I get this space of Thanksgiving. And then a little thought for my birthday. And then I go into Christmasy things because again, that's what I celebrate.

 And so somewhere along the way, I adopted this belief that I don't start the Christmas fun until after Thanksgiving. And that served me pretty well. It hasn't been something that felt oppressive in any way but this year, I noticed that should. And I asked myself, “do I actually want to accept this?” There are plenty of people who listen to Christmas music in July and October. I could be one of those people if I wanted to be. And so when Pariss, Inner Workout’s Content Lead, and I were co working, and we had some Christmas music going, and it was before Thanksgiving, and I decided you know what, this is fine. This is actually really fun. But then, when I had my finger hovering over the button to play the princess switch three, or maybe it was a holiday, one of those Netflix Christmas movies, I was like, you know what, I actually want to save the movie. The music felt fine. The movie didn't feel fine. But it wasn't based on this external should, I was making the choice around it. And the reason why it felt nice to save the movies is because my birthday was a few days after Thanksgiving and I knew it would be so fun for me to end my birthday watching a cheesy Christmas movie. 

So I was saving it as a treat to myself rather than this arbitrary should that I had to follow. So I want you to think about this for you too. What are the shoulds that define your holiday season? Where did they come from? And do you want to accept them as your own? And like you heard with my example, there was part of it that I did accept as my own. I liked saving the movies, but I was making a choice. So I don't want you to feel like the goal of this is for you to change everything that you've done during the holiday season. You're just looking at it. You're noticing what you feel like you should do or what you feel like you have to do. And then you get the choice to say yeah, I like this tradition, I’m going to stick with this. Or you know what? No, I don't actually have to do that so I'm not going to do it anymore. It gives you the opportunity to choose and that's what it's all about. Right?

So it's your turn. What shoulds define your holiday season? Thanks for taking the time to sit and reflect with me. If anything resonated or came up for you, you're always welcome to DM us on Instagram, or share the episode with a friend and give them a chance to reflect on it with you. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for your expertise. Take care!