Some people should all over themselves regularly. Daily, hourly, sometimes by the minute.
Guilt, shame, ‘I’m not enough’, ‘I need to do more’.
Women are queens of should-ing. But who says you should anyway?
Do a little experiment for yourself right now. Go on, it will only take a minute. Stand up and shake yourself off, take a breath.
Now say out loud, ‘I should be more generous.’ How did that feel? Was it helpful? Empowering? Where in your body did the energy come from?
Now say out loud, ‘I want to be more generous.’ How was that? What energy did it give you? Was it different than the first statement? Where in your body did that energy originate?
Now say out loud, ‘I AM generous, I give to others every day.’ Where was that energy in your body? How did it feel? Was it less or more empowering? How did your voice sound?
‘Should’ is not just a weak word, it is a negative energy word. It is heaped with weight and responsibility. If you don’t do what you should, then the shame and guilt floods in and you find yourself should-ing on yourself even more.
‘I want to’ is more positive but still reasonably neutral. You want to but you could go either way. Perhaps you will, perhaps you won’t. It still relies on doing. Wanting to is out there in the atmosphere somewhere, a bit hard to grasp and hold in your hands. But it is good to want to.
‘I am!’ is positive energy. It is a statement of something that exists (unless you say something really silly such as you are a purple people eater.) It is certainty, even if that certainty is only true a small part of the time. It is an identity. Your identity. It is who you are.
As James Clear says in his book, Atomic Habits, personal change that comes from a place of obligation or should-ing, is an uphill struggle. Even wanting things to happen doesn’t guarantee that they will. But when you speak from a place of identity, change is far easier. And it helps weed out the shoulds that are coming from outside of yourself that aren’t necessarily part of who you are.
If ‘I am an athlete’, I am far less likely to eat garbage and far more likely to get out and walk that mile because that is what athletes do, come sun or snow.
If ‘I am a horse trainer’, I will be more aware and more proactive when I am with my horses.
It’s not nice to should all over yourself. I spent years doing it and it made me very sick. I mostly stick to putting my should with the s*** in the wheelbarrow these days. It grows much better flowers there.