Does any of this sound familiar?
- I should eat healthier.
- I should exercise more.
- I should go to bed earlier.
- I should cook more.
- I should drink less wine.
I'm guessing you can relate in some way. Most of us, however, don't realize how ineffective a "should" mindset is.
The Trance of Should
When you get stuck in the trance of should, you embed yourself in a negative thought pattern that stirs up feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety and self-contempt. A sense of unworthiness or “I’m not okay as I am” arises leading to tension, contraction and heaviness in the body.
A should is an unnecessary, self-chosen stressor that often results in overwhelm, frustration, despair and burnout.
No Heart in Should
When you do things simply because you should, your actions lack authenticity, wholeheartedness and pleasure. It’s hard to generate genuine enthusiasm and sustainable motivation when you’re up against a big, heavy should.
Deconstruct Your Shoulds
I have a friend who every few months takes up running only to quit a few weeks later because he hates it. Why does he do this? Because he believes it’s what he should do to have a better body.
What if he stopped to deconstruct the source of this self-imposed should? What or who really drives its? There are a million different ways to exercise; why does he believe that running is the one thing he must do to be right with himself?
How would he feel if he let go of this belief and stopped trying to force himself to do something that isn’t in alignment with his true nature? I’m guessing pretty darn free.
Investigate the Root of Your Should
Operating from a place of should is very disempowering. When you catch yourself shoulding on yourself, stop and investigate the thought.
Ask yourself why you think you should do something. Inquire if you’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations or society’s standards. Is your should in alignment with your true self and desires?
Liberate Yourself: Swap Should for Could
It's also very helpful to swap your should for could. This gives you the freedom of choice and is much more positive, empowering and liberating. For example:
- I could eat healthier.
- I could exercise more.
- I could go to bed earlier.
- I could drink less wine.
- I could cook more.
Now, investigate with curiosity and compassion if it's something you really want, and if so, what’s stopping you from taking action. Many of us know what we could be doing, but don’t do it because we don’t have the know-how, support or accountability to get unstuck and make lasting change.
I help my clients identify the roadblocks that prevent them from fulfilling their desires. We break down their barriers to change then focus on cultivating lifelong healthy habits not because they should, but because they feel good. As a result, their actions become more effortless, relaxed, pleasurable and sustainable. To learn more, click here to request a Discovery Session.