I SHOULD go to college.
I SHOULD move home.
I SHOULD take the job.
I SHOULD date the guy.
I SHOULD get married.
I have been ‘Shoulding” all over myself for years. I bought the message that I SHOULD do what others wanted me to do in order to make THEM happy. I stayed in my lane and did what was expected. My way of thinking I was being a rebel was instead of going to the Big 10 school, I went to the small Catholic College. Instead of moving home for long, I moved into an apartment I could not afford. Instead of taking the job with a public school, I went for the Catholic school that paid nothing. Instead of dating the guys that were stable, I chose the “bad boys” that paid attention to me. Instead of seeing the red flags right in front of me, I ignored them and married the man waving those flags. During my divorce, I SHOULD myself into making decisions I never would have made had I listened to and trusted myself.
I SHOULD myself into so many corners in my life to make others happy and gain their approval.
So I made a choice to stop.
I cleaned up the SHOULD and put it away.
I realized that once I stopped “SHOULDing” on myself, once I started trusting myself, I was happier. I was more fulfilled. It is not easy and it is often scary to trust myself. Honestly, things do not always go as planned and often go wrong but the blame for that lands solely on me.
I also realized that I was “SHOULDing” on my kids. I see them making what appear to me to be mistakes, but I have to allow them the freedom to make those choices and see what happens. Glennon Doyle write in her book Untamed, “A woman becomes a responsible parent when she stops being an obedient daughter.“
I want to be a responsible parent and that means I have to stop SHOULDing on myself to make others happy. I need to stop being the obedient daughter because I want more for me and for my children.
I want my children, now young adults, to make choices based on the fact that they WANT to not because they SHOULD. I want them to be independent decision makers. The SHOULD cycle stops now.
So now when I am faced with a choice, I ask myself, “Am I doing this because I SHOULD do it (to meet someone else’s expectations) or do I WANT to do it(my choice)?” That question alone often stops me in my tracks and helps me refocus…from having a snack (should I eat this because it is lunch time(expected) or am I really hungry(I want it)?) to starting a business (should I do this because she wants me as a business partner or do I want to be a business owner?)
Taking back my WANT and putting away my SHOULD has been one of the biggest changes that has helped me move forward in my life.
Are you SHOULDing all over yourself? Is it time to clean up the SHOULD and take back the WANT? Together we can move forward with less SHOULD and more WANT!