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Shoulds Paralyze

Mendocino coast with plants in foreground, rocks with waves breaking and hills across the inlet

SHOULDs are not a good motivator. In fact, they have kept me away from writing here for years. I am much more motivated when I can come from a place of love, gratitude and desire.

Shoulds paralyze. Gratitude and desire motivate. 

TODAY, I choose to act from the place of gratitude and my heart’s desire.

Shoulds are huge. They come from cultural and social norms we have accepted, peer influence, upbringing, and the media. They come from outside of ourselves. We swallow them whole, but they are poison. When did we become a Stepford Wife? When did we become that mousy people pleaser? When did we become that workaholic? Did shoulds lead us down the garden path? We become cogs in the machine that we are simultaneously railing against.

We can never measure up to all of those shoulds. And then we lose hope or lose ourselves in trying to do all of them. No wonder shoulds paralyze.

For me, when I was in my late teens and early 20s, and still reeling (though in denial) from losing my dad, I found myself making bad choices. I married a man who didn’t love himself and couldn’t possibly properly love another human mindfully. He was an addict and abusive. What did I do? I hoped that, if I atoned . . . if I was good enough . . . if I did all those shoulds . . . God would rescue me from my situation. There’s way too much to unpack in this paragraph, but not to worry. . . there’s a book coming. Suffice it to say, it didn’t work. It’s way more than the shoulds. The shoulds were the symptom of a larger problem.

Now, I try to notice the shoulds, lest they creep back in. I’m pretty good at remembering not to should on others. Most of the time. But I am rarely good at not shoulding on myself.

TODAY, I’m going to do what my heart tells me, and go where it leads me. Things always work out better for me when I trust myself and love myself. For me, and for those around me.