Shielding from the Should Storm

It's a holiday week, which means that everybody seems to be halfway invested in what they're supposed to be doing, and halfway in party and prep mode. And 'tis the season to indulge in the most delicious food that we all decide to obsess over in the days leading up to the big day, and then feel guilty about pretty much upon chewing and swallowing.

I thought Thanksgiving was supposed to be about giving thanks. (No?)

Should we be doing all the things we "should" about (eat less dessert, play with my kids instead of watching football, help with the mashed potatoes)? Yeah, maybe.

Are we magically doing all of those things simply because we decided we should? 


So, I'm here to let you off the hook.

This week's question:

Q. How can I turn around a "should" storm?

A. The traditional intention of "shoulding" is to keep us on task and in line.

"I should work out," should get us off the couch. But it doesn't. 

"I should go to bed instead of bingeing one more episode," should immediately float us into our bed, where we blissfully pass out as soon as our head hits the pillow. But it doesn't.

Shoulds don't inspire. Shoulds don't bolster dedication or willpower or stamina. And shoulds don't actually change anything, they just complain.

(I could probably write volumes about shoulding, and shame, and guilt... But I won't, because the brilliant Brene Brown already did has, and this is supposed to be a short email.)

What I will say is this: What is happening in the present moment is already happening, which makes a judgey statement (about how it should be something else) completely irrelevant.

But here's the gem: "Shoulds" come up to show us that we might genuinely want to change what we're doing, but we have an unmet need or emotional work to take care of first. Or, that we genuinely don't want to change what we're doing, but our ego is judging the should out of us. 

So go in and check it out- 

  1. What do I truly want? Love? Connection? A fun day? 
  2. Will the "should" get me closer to getting what I want?
  3. Do I genuinely want to do this thing that I'm "shoulding" about? If not, then let it go! Easy peasy!
  4. If I do actually want to do the thing I'm "shoulding" about, what's stopping me? Fear? Hunger? Sadness? Exhaustion?
  5.  Address the roadblocks, course correct to get you closer to the actual thing you want AND feel better NOW. Do the thing that makes you feel light. Excited. Positive. That's how you know it's right.

The End. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Focus on the things you want, do the things that feel right.  :)  


Is there anything in this answer that sparked another question? What else would you like to learn about? Email me with more of your questions, and they might be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

Sylvia Hendershott