How to Stop "Shoulding" On Yourself
Do you tell yourself you "should" be doing one thing when you're doing another?
Or that you should or shouldn't FEEL a certain way or BE a certain way?
"I should be less lazy"
"I should be further along in my personal growth journey"
"I should have gotten more done"
"I should be working more"
"I should be spending more time with the kids"
"I should be more productive"
"I shouldn't rock the boat"
"I should be patient"
"I should be skinny"
"I shouldn't be sad"
"I should eat better"
"I should spend less time on my phone"
"I should read more books"
"I should be kinder to my husband"
"I shouldn't have been that way"
"I should have been a nicer person"
"I shouldn't have hurt people"
"I shouldn't have wasted time on that"
Social media exacerbates these feelings because we look at other people's lives (mostly their highlight reels) and compare ourselves.
When we should on ourselves, this causes us to be split mentally in two.
It makes it impossible for us to be "in the moment" because we never think we should be where we are–we think we should be elsewhere.
We may be physically doing one thing, but the mental tape of shoulds consumes our mind, so we're never fully present.
It feels crappy and sucks the life out of us.
We never feel like we're enough. Always feeling pressure to do more. Never okay where we are.
It steals us away from our relationships and the connection that's available when we’re present.
This is the source of huge regrets when we look back at our lives.
"I wish I had learned to live my life true to myself"
The solution is to examine these shoulds and make choices and:
(1) ACCEPT IT
(2) CHANGE IT
Underlying these shoulds is often an unexamined belief, likely one that you learned from your family of origin, your community, friends, societal expectations, or conditioning...and this belief may or may not be what's right for you or what's aligned with YOUR values and priorities. Or how you want to be living your life.
Unless we want to stay stuck in this middle space, the inner split, the constant feeling that we're not enough...
...we either accept ourselves and our circumstances as we/they are and build the inner capacity to handle the risk that others don't approve or are disappointed. (And perhaps grieve what will never be for us)
...or we accept who/where we are now and commit to do the work to align with who we want to be (the "should" that is inviting us to do something we DO want to do).
But, let's be honest, that's not always easy.
As uncomfortable as it is to stay in the stuck place of never doing enough or being enough, always feeling the pressure to do better...it's familiar.
And it's how most people are living their lives, so it feels "normal."
But, do you want...
familiarity or contentedness?
to be normal or thriving?
to die with regrets or pride?
There are a million expectations out there.
These are OPTIONS, not OBLIGATIONS.
Like a menu of choices, and you get to choose.
It's more than okay to be YOU, even if that seems to go against what you internalized as what's expected of you.
It's okay to grow up and let go of anything that's not aligned with YOU. To shed the weight of external expectations and get clear on what's really true for YOU.
And you CAN develop the inner safety and strength to do this EVEN IF your family or friends are disappointed or upset that you're not following the "rules" that they probably don't want to live according to either!
You may have many lifetimes or perhaps only this one
Either way, you only have this particular lifetime with these circumstances and these other humans.
Let's not fritter it away, living according to other people's expectations.
Uncage yourself! Be free!
>>> I teach do-it-all women how to build the inner safety and strength to do this. They discover the truth of who they are and take steps to align their lives around that. And they drop the pressure and reclaim energy, confidence, and joy.
If you're curious, check out The Whole Soul Way™ Program.
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