How often do you have conversations in your head that start with “I really should do xyz” but deep down, in your core you really don’t want to?
I’ll bet there were a lot of heads nodding, uh-huh’s going on, and hands in the air. Unfortunately, it is a normal part of a lot of people’s lives.
Although there are times when these statements are helpful e.g. “I should not get drunk and drive home”, more often they can create unrealistic expectations. “I should” or “I must” can put unreasonable demands or pressure on yourself and on others too.
Now, as I said there are times ‘I should’ can be helpful – I mean we all know what we really ‘should’ do in terms of legalities etc., and even then, if you are willing to accept the consequences of what you should or shouldn’t do, then do- or don’t. But otherwise, in your day to day life, why ‘should’ you?
What is it that makes us ‘should’?
Most times, ‘should’ starts with our need to please others –
“I should go to Law School, Medical School, Whatever School because my mother/father did, their mother/father did and it is what everyone expects me to do.”
“I should like her/him because my parents like her/him and they think she/he will be great for me.”
“I shouldn’t wear that because they will think…”
Can you see the underlying pattern here?
It’s not I ‘should’ do this, that, or the other because I will feel good, it’s I ‘should’ do this, that, or the other because of other peoples’ expectations. It will make them feel better, not you!
What happened to your expectation of your own happiness? Has it become an automatic habit to disregard your own happiness?
Maybe you grew up in a family where your mother did things for other people because she felt she ‘should’, that’s her lot in life (and a LOT of mothers feel like this – sadly). And you have it now ingrained in your psyche that this is your lot in life. You became a people pleaser because that’s what you were shown to do. You should do things to make other people happy, often sacrificing your own happiness in the meantime.
When we people please, when we do what we ‘should’, we are saying YES to others, NA-AH to ourselves. In that moment we are not being true to ourselves.
Now, in no way am I saying don’t do things for others, what I am saying is do things for others if you truly want to, if you’re loving what you’re doing and there’s no little voice going “Oh come on, you really ‘should’ do that because… just ignore how you’re really feeling.” Do things for others because it feels right – right down to your core.
And whilst we are on the subject of should, how often do you place expectations on your friends and loved ones?
“If they really loved me they should do this…”
“If she really liked me she should treat me like…”
“He’s my brother so he should…”
Again, STOP with the should-ing. Let go of your expectations, let people behave in a way they want to behave, and allow them to express their own feeling, wants, needs and ways of being. Wouldn’t you rather someone did something for you because they loved doing it for you – not because they should?
‘Should’ places expectations on yourself and others and can set you up for pain and disappointment, or at the very least a tightness in your belly. So remember keep yourself away from feeling rotten and do things out of love and happiness. Not because you should!
It starts one little step at a time. The next time someone asks you for something you don’t want to give, gently and with love, say “No, I’d rather not at this time.” The first few times you will feel icky – because, hey, that’s how you have ingrained it into your soul – “I must, I must”, but over time and with practice, like anything, it will become easier. Say no to the ‘I shoulds’ and a resounding YES to the ‘I wants’. Treat yourself how you expect others to treat you. Put your happiness in the forefront of the picture.
If this is something you have difficulty with, then contact me. Let’s have a chat and see if I can help you get over your should. And not because you should – but because you want to.
Start Kicking Up Your Heels,