Living Up To Expectations During The Holidays


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Having a good job, money, and nice things really help our social status, but do they help our souls?

The house doesn't feed my soul except that it's nice to have a roof over my head. I need that roof. I chose to buy my house for personal reasons, but I can say that some of those reasons were definitely societally driven. I was once married. Again, driven by a desire to make my parents happy, to be accepted, to fit in.

I say I was in love, but enough to get married? I'd say no today. But then again, I am not a huge believer in the institution of marriage, per se, although I do believe in monogamous partnerships and long term relationships, but do I need to be married, a piece of paper that says I am married, to express my love for someone? Not necessarily3 Signs He's Not The Marrying Kind


These are just examples of how I experince the social conundrum. So, in the end I am always wondering....are these societal standards really worth all the stress? Especially if society thinks we should just take a pill to go on numbly doing what doesn't truly resonate with us, so I can only imagine that many others must be feeling the same way.

And I know others feel similar levels of discontent. Day in and day you come into my office, stressed out and unhappy at your jobs, in your relationships, and in certain situations where many of you feel plain stuck. You got there, just like I did because of a need, a desire driven by not just societal pressures, but a personal need to fit in, to be accepted, to be happy. Yes, even as adults we are vulnerable to peer pressure. Call it what you will. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck. It's hard to leave a long term relationship or job even though it may not feel fulfilling to your soul.

During the holidays, these societal expectations become all the more pronounced. Family, work, and social obligations have a tendency to rule the roost during this time. Sure, it's a nice time to let others know you appreciate them the rest of the year, by sending out cards, buying them gifts, or even a quick text message, because knowing yourself and your limits is important too. 7 Inexpensive Holiday Gift Ideas

Worrying about hurting someone's feelings, doing something because "it's tradition," or "this is what we do every year," or fearing that someone may judge you, or worse yet, talk behind your back or disown you are sure fire ways to committing yourself to doing things out of obligation especially during the holidays.

The downside is there will be little satisfaction in it and is likely to create frustration instead, especially if you over commit. The holidays are a time when we often have to face the reality of our lives. We may have to spend a little time with the family, catch up with old friends, buy gifts for the co-workers, etc. All of this can feel a lot like obligation. It would be a lot more fun if we could just do this when and if we wanted to, on a whim, not because we are supposed to because it's the holidays, but just as a random act of kindness.

So, my suggestion is this:

If you have a multitude of obligations and have little time for yourself, and find yourself being consumed by what others want, take a moment out of your day this week, before the holidays take over completely, and make a list of the things you want to do, and would like to do this holiday season.

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Moushumi Ghose

Sex Therapist

Moushumi Ghose, MFT specializes in sex and relationships and is based in New York City and Los Angeles.

Mou is the host of The Sex Talk, a web-series dedicated to raising awarenes about sex, and sexuality, and has made several TV and media appearances including Hollywood Today The Girl Spot, Durex Condoms and Investigation Discoveries as a sex expert. 

Mou is the band leader, composer and voice of the rock band Ghosha.

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Listen to podcasts at Sex, Love and Rock 'N' Roll Radio.

Mou is the author of Marriage, Money and Porn, available on Amazon, and is currently writing her second book, about non-monogamous sex. 


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Location: New York, NY
Credentials: LMFT, MA, MFT
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