Stop shoulding on yourself

2014-02-15 13.40.59

Have you ever heard that phrase before? The phrase about shoulding on ourselves or others?

  • I should be
    cooking dinner instead of wasting time photographing my Valentine’s carnations…
  • I should be more outgoing…
  • I should be able to organize my calendar without the help of a friend…
  • I should be more thrifty…
  • I should call my parents once a week (well okay, I should do this one.)
  • I should care what other people think…
  • I should not care what other people think…

or

  • You should not feel that way…
  • You should not be so selfish…
  • You should think the way I think…
  • You should not accept those kinds of people…
  • You should live in a big house and drive a fancy car and have plastic surgery…
  • You should have done a better job on that…

And lately I’ve been noticing how often I should on my kids. On my kids who are now 21, 18 and 15. Because I know what’s best for them! Seriously though – how effective or empowering is that word “should”? It just creates anxiety and takes away choice or preference in the matter. It can also solidify into an unhealthy override of one’s own intuition or gut feelings. An inability to trust yourself. YUCK! I do not want to do that to my children… I don’t want to motivate them with guilt or power plays, or make them feel wrong or bad for thinking differently than me. Even if they have healthy and empowered intuitions the word “should” most likely will just create resistance in them toward the thing I want them to do anyway.

And how often does that word rob our own or others experiences? Just as an example, my photography session with the carnations. Instead of allowing myself the full of joy of noticing how beautiful they are, and noticing the intricate way the petals are all bundled together in such sweet ruffles, I was busy listening to the chatter in my head – “You should put your camera away, and start cooking dinner.” “You don’t have time for this.” “You should be doing something more productive and useful.” Or an example that can be more painful, telling someone who is still grieving that they “should” be over it by now. Or that they should move on. Some of these “shoulds” in our heads are ancient! People from our pasts, even our very distant pasts, still controlling our behavior. CRAZY – when you start thinking about it! It’s crazy how much power and authority we have given over to people who may not even be in our lives anymore. Right there is the real crux, power over our own lives, and trusting ourselves to know what’s best for ourselves.

I think there is a better way, different words that give us back our power.

  • I want…
  • I would prefer…
  • I could…
  • Would you consider…

Ah, those are some beautiful and thrifty flowers! And that spicy carnation smell – it sure was a delight to the senses to take a moment and capture them in a photo!

2014-02-16 15.15.56

3 Comments Add yours

  1. You are amazing, Pebble! I do love how your mind works and the beautiful insights you have! Love to you!

    Wonder-V

  2. domesticali says:

    ‘Would you consider…’ – I like that phrase. I’m going to try and use it instead.

  3. batspit says:

    I’m definitely guilty of should-ing all over myself. Good advice. And can I just say– those photos are FANTASTIC. I’m curious as to how you shot them.

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