Why do we "should" all over ourselves?

07/20/2016 11:17 am ET

Really...why do we should all over ourselves?

I should be thinner.
I should forgive and forget.
I should just get over it.
I should be grateful for the things I have.
I should be more productive.
I should eat less and exercise more.
I should be happier.

I should. I should. I should.  BLECH!!!

Should-ing all over ourselves seems to be pandemic and it stinks!

The Why’s 

There are many reasons we “should” all over ourselves, but here are my top eight ...

  1. Fear of what others will think .
  2. Fear that we may disappoint or piss someone off.  (Enter guilt, stage left)
  3. Feelings of not being good enough.
  4. We feel the need to prove our value so we resort to doing the “shoulds”.
  5. We don’t trust in our own abilities to get things done OR make the right decisions so we listen to what others think we “should” do.
  6. We adopt them from someone else.
  7. “Shoulds” serve as a great 2x4 to beat the shit out of ourselves with. (As if covering ourselves in “shoulds” isn’t enough?)
  8. We feel our wants are selfish so a “should” must be selfless, right? 


Sound familiar?  What’s your biggest should?

The What Happens When We STINK of “Shoulds”?

The stark reality is when we “should” all over ourselves...

  • Our needs  get squashed, trampled on, or moved to the bottom of the list. And sometimes they go unmet.
  • We subconsciously tell ourselves that what we want is not important.
  • We run the risk of creating resentment.
  • We miss out on fun.
  • We run out of energy. Not only are we covered in “should”, but we are fried and crispy.
  • We become explosive, reactionary, “should”-covered people.


So what can we do to avoid “should-ing” all over ourselves?

How To Flush the “Shoulds” Once and For All

  1. Create awareness by paying attention to what you say. When you hear yourself “should-ing” make it a point to do Number 2 and that is...
  2. Start asking yourself questions, for example, “Is this something I want to do?” and if the answer is “No!” then ask something along the lines of “What’s driving me to do this?” and then “What do I choose/want to do?” When you create awareness, you not only create options to choose from, you take back your personal power from the “shoulds.”
  3. Take care of you!! Practice the art of self-care. It truly helps you to come from a more powerful place and less from a place of not enough. 
  4. Work with someone who can help you to overcome those feelings of not good enough. (A coach or therapist.) Someone that can support you in recognizing that “shoulds” are not self-less. They are self-destructive

And lastly, remember you have no control over what others think so don’t allow something you have no control over to throw you into a pile of “should”. Oh, and as far as guilt is concerned, as Dr. Brené Brown says...”The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between ‘I am bad’ and ‘I did something bad’” . The only “bad”  is allowing ourselves to get covered in “should” in the first place, but we have the power to clean ourselves off.

Until next time here’s to stopping the “should-ing” and standing in our power of “I want/will”.  

As always, much love and light to you all...

Pam, your resident transformation specialist

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS