Why are We Shoulding All Over Ourselves?!

The shoulds of life… They are ingrained in us from an early age and the funny thing about them is that they aren’t even our expectations of life but rather the expectations of others put on us. So we are really stressing ourselves out for other people and their desires, not ours.

Yep, I’m starting off with the bomb for this post… it’s inevitable for this topic and not one that I am willing to sugar coat.

From an early age we have been told by our parents, guardians, authority figures, the media, our friends, etc how to be productive human beings in society and the expectations that are set around us. We are told how to live our lives and what is insisted that we need to do in order to be successful, healthy and most importantly happy beings.

The only problem is that these expectations are not the expectations of ourselves and they may not be what we really want in life. In fact, most of the time they are the demands of others who thrust their opinions and their expectations of themselves onto us! And guaranteed the demands of the others are based on what friends, family members, society, and complete strangers will think of them, not even their expectations for themselves…. It’s a vicious cycle that will perpetually continue unless we make it a point to stop.

So, these shoulds of life… they are pressed upon us at an early age because people have our best interest at heart. Awesome. But when these shoulds become a burden on our mind, our body and our spirit that’s when we need to stop and think about what it is that we truly want.

The shoulds of life make us judgmental of our selves, they make us really hard on ourselves no reason and they are self-deprecating of our spirit. The ego lies in the shoulds and expectations and it is constantly fed every time we judge ourselves for doing something we ought to do rather than what we want to do.

The shoulds of life instill fear into our minds telling us that if we don’t live up to the expectation than we are not good enough, we won’t be loved, and we won’t belong in this world.  And if we don’t act upon the shoulds, or do a good enough job (according to who, by the way!?!) then we become shameful of ourselves.

Being shameful about your self is worse than self-judgment. Having shame is saying that there is something wrong with who you are and a connectedness to your inner self; you are disappointed about something inside of you and are continually telling yourself that you are not good enough.

This is a serious issue here, folks. The shoulds of life are self-deprecating, they kill the spirit slowly… and we’ve been doing this since we can remember!

We have been shoulding all over ourselves for a long time and I reckon it’s time to think about what it means to have a life we want versus a life we should have. 

We all have family members or people in our lives that force their demands on us based on what they think is best for us or even worse, what others will think of them if you choose a life outside of what is expected of you.

“What will the extended family think that you want to have a baby outside of wedlock!?”- “What will I tell people that you no longer are pursuing your career as a doctor and are deciding to travel the world for a year!?” - “ How will your grandparents react when I tell them that you are no longer seeing that person?! It will break their heart!”

How do we break this cycle, you ask!? Start living your life the way you want to without judgment of self, without fear,

For the longest time, I thought about how I should have the model figure body shape. Knowing that I was bigger than a size 2 – hell I’m at size 10/11, there is no way I will ever be a size 2- and knowing that I’ve got some extra meat on my body and I was OK with how I looked, the shoulds of what my body should look like kept creeping up: You shouldn’t have as much fat on your hips; your thighs and ass are way too big to wear shorts… I should go to the gym and workout more often; none of the guys who I think are hot want a girl with curves, so I’ll lose as much weight as I can to seem skinner and they won’t notice my curves as much, that should get them to notice me more (Note: when I lost a lot of the weight, my curves stood out even more! I’ve got a tiny waist and big hips… I couldn’t deny what I was given and slowly started to accept that part of me).

Once I started to accept this part of me and quiet down the chatter of the shoulds of what my body ought to look like, I started to accept my body and appreciate that I’ve got curves; by accepting this part of me I was accepting and loving myself more and more. I started to realize the potential of my life even more so.

*written on February 2, 2014