I Should…

“I should do this…” “This is what X should look like…” “I’m doing X so I should…”

Should, should, should… not the most helpful of words. I know, I know, sometimes we just use it in place of “I need to”, “I get to”, “I want to”, or “I have to” when it’s something we are planning on doing or are reminding ourselves to do something- and it’s harmless. However, other times I hear clients say, “I should” in the context of something they think they need to do or are expected to do. When I hear the word “should” it oftentimes signals to me of a gap in personal values/desires/goals and what is expected of someone.

What are you telling yourself you “should do”? Is it something that aligns with what you want to do? Need to do?

What expectations or standards are you holding yourself to? Yours? Someone else’s?

Where is that gap between the want/need/have/get/about to and the should? What’s causing it? What can be done about bridging this gap?

Is this “should” important?

How does this “should” align with your own goals and lifestyle desires?

I’ll get a bunch of different answers about the should being brought on from things ranging from societal expectations, different family members, friends, partners, teachers, bosses, etc. It is pretty rare that this ‘should’ is brought on by an individual that is holding themselves to their own standards or expectations. Though it can and does happen.

What are you telling yourself about this should? What makes it a should?

How much of this “should” is based on truth?

How can you accept your own standards? Additionally, how can you hold yourself to your own standard to cut down on the “should”?

Is there a compromise, middle ground, or baby step that can be taken about this “should”? Do you need that-or want that- to happen?

On a random note, and not to interrupt the flow of internal awareness, but I have to say that even writing this world “should” as many times as I have in this short period has started to make the word look wrong- like it looks weird, or I’m spelling it wrong or something. I’m clearly feeling a particular way about the existence of “should.”

Notice where you are using the word “should” in your life. Notice the patterns, themes, feelings, things, people, and places involving the should. That’s a lot to ask for, I know. What happens when you notice the “should”? What do you want to do about it?

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