style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
There's a phrase that keeps appearing on my radar. It's a phrase that's been in play for the past several years. Clever and explicit, it's hard to ignore... ‘Stop shoulding on yourself’.
I'm not sure who first coined the phrase, but it seems women have a real problem ‘shoulding all over themselves’.
Though it's still relatively new to me, I've now read several articles and posts calling out this trendy (and pervasive) habit and urging us to break it.
OKAY, SO WHAT IS SHOULDING?
Well, considering the dictionary definition of should... shoulding would be the following:
Indicating obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
Basically, it’s beating yourself up… repeatedly, for not doing, being or having what you or someone else thinks you ‘should’.
When I first started hearing about this concept, I didn’t pay much attention. I felt pretty strongly that at this stage of life, I wasn’t really stressing about other people’s shoulds. I’m a self-proclaimed rule follower and usually choose happily to do what society thinks I ‘should’ do. This mainly pertains to things like; basic traffic laws, normal human kindness, and good citizen behavior. I've decided to obey the rules, so I didn't think I had an issue with 'shoulds'.
Then recently, I read an article about ‘shoulding’ that opened my eyes and shifted my thinking.
I now realize that the one doing most of the shoulding on me… is me!
I’m my own worst should offender.
Take a peek at your life… is there some 'shoulding' going on? If so, who’s responsible?
Are you allowing others to should on you or do you take on that role yourself? Or a bit of both? Regardless of where we believe the pressure is originating, the bottom line is that we are responsible for each and every should.
We always have the freedom to decide how we feel and what we think. Always.
So in reality, people can 'should on us' until the cows come home, but how we let those imposed 'shoulds' affect us... well, that's entirely our choice.
Here are a few shoulds that I deal with almost daily:
I should be more financially secure.
I should plan my workouts better.
I should be sexier.
I should make dinner for my family more often. (than 4 times a year!)
I should be happier.
I should be more grateful always.
If I dig a little deeper, I can also find a few societal shoulds that have taken root in my mind:
An Anthropologie Personal Stylist should always go to the grocery store looking put together.
My marriage should be perfect.
My car should be clean.
Women my age should have… fill in the blank…. manicured nails, fancy houses, an important handbag, Botox…
As I’m quickly learning is all aspects of my life, AWARNESS is the first step in making a change!
If you want to stop living a life filled with shoulds… start by simply noticing them.
Pay attention. Slow down long enough to tap into what you’re feeling. I've discovered that when I'm feeling crummy… it’s often linked to a should.
As I researched for this post, I heard the following shoulds from friends and clients:
I should be doing something productive right now.
I should have firmer thighs.
I should be folding laundry.
I should have whiter teeth.
I should be nicer to my husband.
I should do more for my community.
I should be working harder.
Our egos have an uncanny knack for playing our thoughts on repeat. Our minds prefer autopilot. Easy and familiar. As a result, some of our 'shoulds' have been on continuous loop for years!
How to stop the shoulding:
When you notice a 'should', become deeply curious.
Investigate a bit to determine what's really going on.
Ask yourself the following questions...
Who created this silly should?
Am I being bullied (by my own mind or someone else) into thinking that I ‘should’ do, be or have something that isn’t really authentic for me?
What do I really want in this situation?
What shoulds can I let go of today?
If you’re bugged by a nagging ‘should’... expose it. Call it out. Get clear on what you really want. Then decide if what you truly want to be doing, being or having lines up with the shoulds.
Keep in mind that not all shoulds are bad. Sometimes the should is a gentle reminder of something that would actually make our day better. Sometimes.
Once we see how this ‘trend’ is affecting our lives, we can begin to step away from the shoulds. Exposing these crazy thoughts makes them less powerful. And from personal experience... it feels so good to drop the shoulds!
Thanks for reading… I’m sure, like me, you're a bit sick of the word ‘should’!!! But by repeating it over and over, I'm hopeful that you'll more easily recognize this sneaky habit the next time you're feeling internal pressure to do, be or have something.
What are your biggest ‘shoulds’?
Have an amazing week.