How to stop SHOULDING on yourself

What exactly is shoulding on yourself?  I refer to the term ‘should’ as something you do out of obligation, guilt, or any type of negative connotation indicating that you HAVE to do something instead of wanting to do it.

Shoulding on yourself may sound a little like this:

I should play legos with the kids.

I should yell less.

I should do the dishes.

I should get up early and workout.

I should stop scrolling social media and finish the fourteen other projects I started.

I should get going because I have a never-ending to-do list and it needs to get done.

I should stop eating bagels and cupcakes so I can fit into my ridiculously expensive skinny jeans.

I should eat more veggies and less tacos.

I should stop spending so much money.

I should ask for that raise.

I should change my career.

I should be more happy.

I should care more…..

I should be better at managing my time so I can accomplish more in my day.

I should drink less wine.

I should start meditating, journaling, and doing less.

I should do less __ and more ___.

The list is endless.

These are the types of thoughts that used to run through my mind throughout the day, clouding my judgment, and robbing me of my precious energy and confidence.

Here’s a quick approach to how you can reduce shoulding on yourself, start saying yes to the things you want to be doing, and no to the rest with less judgment and guilt.

  • Kick judgment out the door and say hello to curiosity. Take a step back and ask who are you being in the moment.  Can you look at the situation through the lens of curiosity and leave judgment behind?  Are you making a decision or feeling this way because of what someone else will think? Are you feeling obligated to do something and simply don’t want to do it?  Are you feeling overwhelmed because you over-committed yourself?  Stop, get quiet, and listen without judgment.  The chain of negative thoughts will not result in anything positive and productive other than more of what you don’t want.  Which leads to…..
  • Listen to your heart (or soul, or life force, or superpower, or inner spirit, or true north – whatever you call it). Everybody has an innate wisdom and will guide you toward freedom, purpose, and joy. You know exactly what you need to do even if it means getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Stop worrying about failure.  One question, you can ask yourself, ‘will this matter in six months’, chances are you won’t remember it tomorrow or next week.
  • Focus more on what you are doing right. Why do we belabor what’s going wrong in our day rather than celebrating all of the things that are going well? We become our thoughts and if we are constantly in a state of guilt, shame, and thinking about what we “should’ be doing, we become trapped in a negative feedback loop which leads to paralysis.  What gets done in this state?  Absolutely nothing productive.  Energy flows wherever your intention goes, so get clear on what you want and don’t let negative thoughts occupy precious space in your head.
  • Reframe the thought to I AM and I WILL. You know those thoughts that creep in and take over.  They go something like; I am a bad mom, I can’t write, why are my clothes so tight, why am I so unmotivated, I’m horrible at remembering names, I can’t believe I said THAT.  These are the thoughts that are speaking directly to our mind and body setting us up with more of what we don’t want. Try re-framing your thoughts and use empowering, positive, and encouraging words.  Your thoughts will create action, so speak kindly to yourself and be gentle.

I am doing the best I can today.

I will take a deep breath before I yell at the kids.

I am going to walk an extra ten minutes today.

I am perfectly imperfect.

I am ABUNDANT.

I am focused.

I am tired and give myself permission to rest and recharge.

I am determined to create positive changes for myself.

I will remember her name at the soccer game.

I am a great wife, mom, and friend.

I am doing my best even though it might not be perfect.

Whatever it is you want to manifest, use positive language to guide you in achieving what you want to accomplish.  By removing the word should from your thoughts and vocabulary, be prepared for some powerful shifts in your mindset and energy.  It will lead you to the path of action, ability, and freedom.