Have you REALLY listened to yourself lately?
How often does the word ‘SHOULD’ come out to play?
We throw the words 'SHOULD' or 'SHOULDN'T' around so freely, sometimes in our conscious words and thoughts, and other times they bubble away in our subconscious, so subtle that we almost don’t realise they are there.
I SHOULDN'T have that extra slice of cake
I SHOULD do more arts and crafts with my kids
I SHOULD be more grateful for what I've got
I SHOULN'T worry what that mum at school thinks
SHOULD and SHOULDN'T can pepper our thoughts repeatedly in a day and can really weigh us down as they are laden with pressure, expectation and disappointment. Because ultimately, your ‘Shoulds’ are telling you that you that you aren’t good enough as you are - which is a really unkind and unhelpful habit to get into, and needs to STOP!
Our ‘Shoulds’ are often constructed according to an abstract set of standards projected onto us by society – not helped by the unrealistic influence of social media! We appear to have been conditioned to believe that if we don’t keep feeding ourselves these ‘Shoulds’ that somehow, we will deteriorate into an unproductive, unsuccessful and unmotivated mess.
It’s as if we are relying on those 'Shoulds’ to keep us on the straight and narrow - which is in fact a complete paradox! Because in reality, all that ‘Should-ing’ is so damaging to our self-esteem and self-belief, holding us back from stepping boldly and bravely into our happiest and most aligned selves.
So, how about this for a refreshing thought:
What if our ‘shoulds’ were actually signposting us towards our deepest wishes and desires instead?
Instead of living in the dark shadow of expectation, what if we choose to hold a mirror up to ourselves and think about who we really WANT to be, and what we really WANT from our lives?
Taking that step back and reconnecting with our truest selves and exchanging our SHOULDS for WANTS can be a hugely liberating experience and will undoubtedly lead you down a far more fulfilling and meaningful path.
So, instead letting your ‘Shoulds’ run the show, why don’t you try out these simple steps to unlock your ‘Wants’ instead…
Step 1: GET AWARE
Keep track of what sparks off your ‘Shoulds’ by noting them down every time they come up over a period of a week, and see if any patterns start to emerge.
Step 2: CHECK YOURSELF
Every time a ‘Should’ comes up ask yourself: “Am I doing this because I WANT to or because I feel like I SHOULD?”
Step 3: DIG DEEPER
If it’s a ‘Should’, ask yourself: “Why do I think I should do this?” and “What am I worried will happen if I don’t do this?”
Step 4: FLIP THE SCRIPT
It’s time to embrace a new perspective! Ask yourself: “What is this ‘Should’ telling me about what I really want or need?” and “Is there a different choice I can make that will feel more meaningful to me?”
Tuning into your truth and digging a bit deeper below your ‘Shoulds’ will help you to embrace your reality with your heart and eyes wide open, rather than fighting against it.
And identifying what you really want, need and feel will suddenly reveal all sorts of solutions and opportunities you may have missed while you were tangled up in your own despair.
Shaking off your ‘Shoulds’ will enable you to live your life as the truest and most authentic version of yourself, rather than sacrificing your deepest desires at the expense of what the world expected of you.
So what are you waiting for?
A world full of WANTS is ready to welcome you in!
The Parenthood Coach