Of late I’ve found myself shoulding on myself a lot. Even when I don’t do it to myself, others are always ready to offer up a serving of should. I’ve been thinking about should and it doesn’t seem like a very good motivator. I suspect many of you, like me, don’t like to be told what you should (or shouldn’t) do.
There were a few days over the holidays when I took a vacation from should. It felt so good that I decided to make it a permanent break. Here are 5 reasons why I’m saying farewell to should and releasing the word from my vocabulary in 2014.
1. Obligation is a lousy reason to do things. When I think I should do something, I will peel back a layer and see if there is a motivator that feels authentic underneath. If not, I give myself permission to pass.
I woke up thinking I should send thank you notes for my Christmas gifts. Upon reflection, I realized I was grateful for the treasures my friends and family gifted me. I made a decision to let gratitude be the motivator for getting the notes sent. (Fair warning, friends, that timeline might be a little longer than should dictates.)
2. Should is a judgment. As I release judgment, I will ask myself what remains. I will ask myself “Whose belief this is?” and “Is it serving me?” If it is, then I know there will be a genuine reason to do it beyond merely should. Added bonus: the more I release judgments about myself, the easier it is to release judgments about others.
3. One of the most powerful questions I learned to ask in 2013 is “What would I love?” I commit to connecting with loving energy when approaching any task, person, or situation. What would love do?
If I think I should clean the bathroom then I will connect with how much I love to get ready for the day in a clean, fresh space. If that love is enough to motivate me, then I’ll clean it today. If instead, I’d love to spend my time taking a yoga class, then I will serve the highest expression of what I’d love today with my whole self and without apology.
4. Pleasure is my favorite motivator. As shoulds cross my mind I will seek the pleasure in them.
I should get out for a walk today to get some exercise. I enjoy the pleasure of sunlight on my skin even on the coldest days. I will let pleasure and not should be the motivator. If I can’t find the pleasure in it, then it’s a no go.
5. My passion and purpose have never spoken to me in shoulds. They’ve come as nudges and soft whispers but never as demands. My highest truth is the belief that we are here to divine and live our soul’s purpose. In that pursuit there are dreams and desires that call us forth and draw us near. I’ll skip should and go for the dream.
It’s my intention in sharing this with you is that next time should sneaks up on you you’ll consider an alternative that feels great and more fulfilling. I suspect this will be a work in progress for me as well. Wishing you a blessed New Year!