by Christine Kane
Do you know the "Shoulds?" Those voices that occasionally creep around your head telling you that things aren't as good as they could be and that everything would be better if you behaved well?
Well, you're not alone. We all go there from time to time. Some of us spend our every waking moment "shoulding" all over ourselves!
In the work I do, I know one thing to be true about this time of year:
The Holiday Shoulds are a special breed of Should. The Holiday Shoulds are loud and insidious. If you're not conscious, they can make you believe that they're a rational way to think.
After all, during the holidays, people become almost hypnotized into believing that every moment should be a certain way, that every yard should look a certain way, that every family should behave a certain way - and that it's okay to beat themselves up for their own preferences or for not keeping up with the imaginary standard.
Here's a list of the Top Ten Holiday Shoulds, along with a thought or two about simply letting them go, and delighting in this moment. In the words of Byron Katie: "When I argue with What Is, I lose. But only 100% of the time."
1 - I should have a new outfit to wear to the Christmas party!
Last year's outfit is fine. Your shiny happy self tells a brighter story than something you bought at a store.
2 - I should have done hand-made Christmas cards! (Or, I should've done Christmas Cards at all!)
Relax. If you had time to delight in making cards, that would be great. But it's okay that you didn't. And as for not sending cards, you can send them out next year. (Or, be like my brother's family and send out annual Valentine Cards instead!)
3 - My kids/parents should behave differently!
Everyone is doing the best they can. What would happen if you simply accepted each person's path and choices - and let them be exactly where they are?
4 - I should've bought more expensive presents!
When gifting becomes about competition or keeping up, then it just drains you. Take a moment to remember who you are and how you want to love the people in your life. Nothing beats authenticity.
5 - I should go out and buy more [insert useless consumer good or processed food here.]
When you nervously become a consumer for no reason, challenge yourself to sit down, listen, and experience the emptiness. You might find that it's actually quite peaceful in there!
6 - I should've lost weight this year!
Become a champion of yourself. Make a list of five great things you accomplished this year, and let go of those things you didn't. You can revisit them in January.
7 - The Holidays should look more like the pretty scenes in a snow globe or on Christmas specials!
The cool thing about snow globes and such is the happy feeling they create inside of you. Instead of thinking everything should make you feel that way, try to capture the feeling you get from those things - and then carry that feeling to each moment in your life. I call this Positive Daydreaming.
8 - I should've made [Insert time-consuming baked good featured on Martha Stewart]!
And remember that Martha Stewart has a very large staff. And that there's rarely a shortage of sugary baked items during the holidays.
9 - My house should have better decorations!
And go take a nap.
10 - I should make better scrapbook pages after the holidays!
Doing good scrapbooks does not make you a good mother, sister, daughter or friend. Doing good scrapbooks makes you someone who has time to scrapbook. If you use photo-boxes or boring albums, you're still a wonderful human, and we'll all still love you.
11 - It should be The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Christmas is lovely with all of its twinkle lights and confectionary goodies, AND there are many wonderful times each year. (I happen to love each and every time I hike in the woods, no matter what time of year it is!)
Wonderful is about your delight and how you feel on the inside. When you let go of what is not authentic delight for you, then you might be surprised at how simple the holidays become. You might find that wonderful is right here in this very moment.
Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.