You *should* read this.
Ready for a small idea with huge implications? All we are going to do is eliminate one word from your vocabulary. One word that I guarantee you say, and probably way too much.
- I “should” make more time to sit down and write.
- I “should” be getting more sleep.
- I “shouldn’t” be eating so much.
- I “should” be better at this parenting thing.
- I should, I should, I should….
When you hear or say “should,” how does it make you feel? Heavy, burdened, obligated, stressed?
Now ask: “ ‘Should’ according to who?”
“Should” according to YOU.
What?! Now why would you do that to yourself?
We all have this idea in our head of how things should be. We fear that if we don’t keep up with our shoulds, then things will fall through the cracks and we’ll fail miserably. I challenge this. Failure is not the consequence of dropping “should” from our vocabulary. You’ll actually achieve more joy, freedom, and peace in your life instead.
What is “should?” It’s resistance, plain and simple. In the simple act of should-ing something, a large part of our focus is funneled to the one thing we’re pushing against. We may think we’re motivated toward the thing we desire, but in reality the heaviness of what we’re resisting dominates. That’s why we feel heavy when “should” is in play. When we’re in a state of resistance, do you think we have creative capacity? Access to awesome, life-generating ideas? Open to new thoughts, ideas, words, and actions? Probably not. This state of mental constriction directly opposes creativity.
I’m fat. I overeat. I stay up too late. Here’s an example: you want to be healthier, right? You say you should be working out more, should be eating less, should be getting more sleep. The heaviness of “should” therefore keeps you focused on the, “Ugh, I’m fat..” You think you’re focused on the opposite to move your body, eat healthy foods, and honor your body’s rejuvenation time. You’re hoping that you’re inspired toward positive beneficial live giving action. But no, you’re most likely bummed about what is.
Should leads to dread, taxing effort, discomfort, exhaustion, guilt, and shame.
Can anything positive come out of this? Maybe. But I’ll guarantee you that the feeling of dread and procrastination is every part of you telling yourself to sure, go ahead and proceed – but you’ll never get the return you’re hoping for and it will not be commiserate to the effort invested. In this state of should, we could drag ourselves to the gym and restrict ourselves from the things we love to eat. We could make some progress on our health journey, but without joy is it worth it? And more importantly, is it sustainable?
The Irony. Ok, now I know what you’re thinking. “If I don’t operate from “should” then I’ll probably lose my job, I’ll lose my friends, I won’t reach my goals. I’ll never get anything done. I’ll be a horrible citizen.” Not true. Here’s why: you have intentions – probably like wanting to pay bills on time and keep a good credit score, be successful and have enough money, generally feel good, and have a good life. Having set those intentions then it would follow that inspired thoughts are in alignment with these intentions.
Inspired thoughts? Inspired thoughts are those happy energetic expansive thoughts that when you think them you feel uplifted and, at the very least, hopeful. They are the thoughts that feel light yet powerful, and the when you execute on them the result is seemingly effortless action.
Inspiration: the breath of life. Trust yourself and your what your mood is telling you. If should is in play, you’ll know by how you feel (dread, heaviness, a general sense of “ugh”). Drop it and figure out what you WANT. It’s in the want, the true desire, where inspiration lies. When you’re in inspired action out of true desire you’re in a spacious creative place. THEN you have access to all those great ideas and energy to do the things that are continually pushed down the to-do list.
The practice. If you feel the truth in this and you’re excited by what’s possible, here’s a way to try it on:
- Every so often throughout your day check in with yourself and see how you feel.
- If you are experience any bit of negative emotion (confusion, frustration, boredom, apathy, anger, fear…) then figure out what your “should-ing.” (e.g. I should know what to do here. I shouldn’t be fighting with my brother. I should be doing anything other than what I’m doing right now…). Note: I will absolutely guarantee you that under EVERY negative emotion you have a should in play.
- As soon as you’ve nailed what your should-ing, what your resisting, then turn your attention instead to what you want. Change your should into whatever completes these sentences: “I WANT to… I can’t wait to…. I’m really excited by… It gives me great relief to… I feel joy if I were to… I must…”
- Act. Do what you want, not what you think you should. And TRUST that your inspiration will serve you at the right time all the time.
Don’t take my word for it, try it out. Trust that those things a citizen has to do will get done. You’ve set your larger intentions so have faith that your inspired thoughts will spring you into action and when they do it will feel light, not heavy. To live joyously in freedom and creativity, fully experiencing life in each moment you must live from your wants, not shoulds. Trust it’s all in order and your inspirations and inklings will come at the perfect time, every time, and on purpose.
I want to hear from you. Leave me a comment and tell me what your biggest “shoulds” are. What would your life be like if they didn’t dominate your internal dialogue? Thanks in advance for being brave, vulnerable, and inspiring!