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  • Writer's pictureBecky Upchurch

Stop Shoulding

Have you ever had the experience of WANTING to do something and then just never doing it? Sometimes this happens thanks to mindsets that are keeping us stuck, but often it is the result of our THINKING we want something when in reality we actually don’t but for some reason, we feel like we SHOULD. So how do we tell the difference between being stuck and being caught up in a “should” situation? I’m glad you asked😉

In a “stuck” situation, we are likely to feel disappointed in ourselves because we have a sense of “missing out” on the thing we want but are not achieving.

In a “should” situation, we are likely to feel disappointed in ourselves because we are not achieving or performing in a certain way.

In a “stuck” situation we may ask ourselves why we aren’t taking the steps we need to take to achieve the result we want.

In a “should” situation, we may ask ourselves how we can just get this done.

In a “stuck” situation, we might struggle with INTERNAL stories about our capabilities, worthiness, etc.

In a “should” situation, we might struggle with EXTERNAL comparison to people and things around us.

The first time I ever heard the expression “stop shoulding on yourself,” I thought it was brilliant. I mean, of course, as a former English major, I appreciated the wordplay…but what really struck me was that when we give in to “should,” we actually ARE crapping all over ourselves in a way. And yet, most of us believe that this is the right way to live! Crazy, right?! So how do we take a lifetime’s worth of programming around what we should or shouldn’t do and erase it overnight? The honest answer is…we don’t! Now that doesn’t mean we can’t do SOMETHING; it just means it would be unrealistic to expect an immediate change to an entire way of existence without a bit of effort! But the good news? It doesn’t have to be as difficult as we think it is! So where do we start? By beginning to ask ourselves THIS question when we make decisions around how we spend our time and energy: Is this something I legitimately need or want to do, or is it simply something I’m telling myself I “should” do? (Want to go a bit deeper? Use the examples of stuck vs should above to help you reflect!) Practice making that question a part of your daily practice, and I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly your awareness shifts with it!

And of course, we can’t talk about the “shoulds” that permeate our lives without talking about the external pressures that often come with them! Because yes, we may put pressure on ourselves around who we think we need to be, how we need to show up, and the kind of goals we think we need to pursue…but these ideas often come from the EXTERNAL stimulus around us. Maybe we have a friend who espouses the life-changing benefits of meditation and feels like we should get on board with that too. Maybe a colleague comes early and stays late every day so we feel like we should work harder to compete. Or perhaps our neighbor is the “fun mom,” so we feel like we should be doing more cool activities with our kids too. See how easy it is to be influenced by what is around us? So how do we combat that? My deepening our relationship with ourselves, what matters most to us, and what we want out of life.

Not sure how to do that? Message me; I’d love to help😊

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