I Should Stop

I should be writing more in my blog. I should be doing more meditation. I should be getting more sleep. I should be getting up earlier. I should journal more. I should exercise more.  I should volunteer at my kid’s school. I should read that book. I should reach out to that friend…

I should stop saying “should”.

There exists a countless number of “should’s” in my life. Thoughts that cycle in my mind as I go throughout my day. Thoughts that pang with me with guilt, disappointment and shame. Thoughts that make me feel like I am failing at life. It’s amazing that one little word can have such a profound impact on my self-worth. The word SHOULD is loaded with judgement and criticism. It reminds me of what I am not doing. That what I am currently doing is not good enough. And that I need to be better.

Now I am a big believer in self-improvement and seeking ways to better yourself. But not in a way that breeds shame and unworthiness.

So I started to wonder­­ –– how could I stop this cycle of negative feelings brought on by this one little word?

I recognize that I cannot really put a stop to “should” thoughts. They will always pop up into mind subconsciously and be out of my control. However, what I can control is my reaction to should thoughts and letting go of attachments to that word.

Here is what I am working on:

Letting go of judging myself for what I am not doing and honoring everything that I am doing. I work hard to balance a full-time career and single parenthood. I make time to exercise and eat fairly healthy. I read, snuggle and laugh with my kids. I try my best to stay connected with friends and family.

Letting go of expectations of how things “should be” and appreciating what is right in front of me. My kids are happy. We are healthy. I live in a great neighborhood. I love my job and colleagues. I have amazing friends.

Letting go of perfection and adopting a “good is good enough” mindset. My worth is not dictated by what others think of me, how much is crossed of my to do list or how clean my house is. Life will pass me by if I keep waiting for perfection to start living. Accepting B grade work for a given task allows me to devote time and energy to what really matters most in my life.

Letting go of self-criticism and replacing it with self-love. This one is the hardest. I am my toughest critic. It’s so easy to harp on the negative and lose sight of the positive. Love starts from within. It’s not about external validation and others telling me how great I am. It’s about believing deep down in my soul that I am good enough and I am worthy. That I am whole and not broken. Loving myself is about noticing the good and accepting what is. I recognize and appreciate that I have dealt pretty well with what life has thrown at me. I have cultivated a strength and resilience that even surprises me at times.

The path to happiness first starts with awareness. I know that getting out of a “should cycle” will take practice. These prompts help me remember that I have the power to change the course I am on.


One thought on “I Should Stop

  1. Adeline Heymann says:

    Loved reading this! I was struggling with the word ‘should’ for a long time too. Then for 2 years in a row, I decided to focus my new years resolutions around that word exactly. I decided that if I thought I ‘should’ do something, I either should make it happen – or decide to take it off the ‘should’ list because I wasn’t prioritizing it in my life. So while ‘reading more’ and ‘playing guitar’ were always on my should list, I took them off because I wanted to focus on other things.


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