What “should” should shed?

‘Should’ is not often a word that conjures positive images or gets one inspired. It is more one of duty, related to things we feel we haveto do, not wantto do.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be living a life solely made up of ‘SHOULD’, without any passion or inspiration. Now hang on, before you throw your papers on the ground and declare to your boss that he’s forcing you to live a life of monotony – There are certainly some ‘shoulds’ that we need in our lives, that play vital roles in the wellbeing of yourself and others around you. Some examples of these SHOULDS are:

– We SHOULD all help those less fortunate than us. This is a duty to our community.
– We SHOULD take care of our bodies, eat well, and exercise to achieve an optimal, healthy life.

– We SHOULD make sure that we are committed to providing stability and future for our family.

For some of us, our ‘shoulds’ are different to others. For example, your friend may love going to the gym. However for you, only after you’ve finished your series of sweaty, pain staking squat jumps can you feel some sense of satisfaction – you do it because you should, to maintain a healthy lifestyle.I’m sure we can all agree that there are some good duties in life that we should continue.

But then, there are so many things we do just because we feel obliged to. This is when we need to ask ourselves: how helpful is that ‘should’ to us, or to others? If it isn’t helpful, that ‘should’, should be shed!

How about the pressures of these SHOULDS:

– Woman SHOULD wear makeup in order to be beautiful. You, naturally, aren’t enough.
– Men SHOULD appear strong, even if it means holding back emotion that needs to be expressed.

– You SHOULD stay in that company because of the pay. Never mind the dream you want to chase.

Most of the time, these ‘shoulds’ are driven by two sources: Fear and Pride. Have a look at those points mentioned above and see if you can apply fear or pride to the source of those ‘shoulds’.

Some healthy ways we can push back on the ‘shoulds’:

Create awareness – If the ‘should’is something you need to continue, replace those words with “I get to” or “I want to”. Here, we transform the emotion connected to this duty into gratefulness: “Woo-Hoo! I get to go to work and provide for my family’s future!”

Question the ‘should’ itself – Is there another way of doing this? Or, should I stop doing this completely? There is something powerful in pushing back on the right ‘shoulds’ and choosing where you give your energy and passion.

The honest truth is that nobody can tell you which ‘should’ you need to shed; you need to answer that question for yourself. Start by creating awareness around them – then unwrap them, inspect them, and be bold enough to answer yourself truthfully.

Gabby Ivey

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