I don’t know about you, but I have a long laundry list of things I should be doing, for my business, my health, my finances, etc., and the more I think I should, the more resistant I become to doing it!
What is it about ‘should’ that just shuts people down? I have been sitting with this a lot lately, as I observe myself contracting at the very use of the word should. Do I want to do all of the things that I know I should? Yes, I do, but when I feel like I should do it, it feels like a burden to bear, another obligation in my already full of obligations life.
The biggest thing I realized, is that all of those things I should do would actually really benefit ME. Most of the things I spend my time actually doing mostly benefit other people. For example, I love what I do as a business consultant, and I am highly motivated to do things to help the business move forward with their strategic goals and get clear on how to do them. But when it comes to my own business, I don’t spend a fraction of the energy or time to move it forward.
It certainly isn’t because I don’t want to. I love what I do in my business, helping others is my heart’s passion, it truly lights me up and opens my heart when I am able to help another get clarity, break through, heal and reach their goals. Their is a psychological response that is triggered when I feel like I should do something that makes me shut down, lose motivation, and flat out avoid.
It could still be the rebellious part of my mind that didn’t want to be told what to do (is my inner teenager still running my life?); it could be that my life is so full of other obligations that adding another obligation feels overwhelming, so I avoid it; it could be a form of self-sabotage because my mind wants to keep me safe (safe is known, even if it is miserable and small/limited) rather than take action to do the things that will move me closer to where I want to be in my life.
Whatever the reason, it is not serving me! This is where awareness and choice come in. Seeing the patterns and making a choice to create a new pattern.
I know I am not alone in this, which is why I decided to write about it. I was talking to a dear friend today and she made a suggestion about reframing ‘should’ into ‘I can’ or ‘I get to’, which feels completely different!
When I think of something ‘I should do’, and turn it into an ‘I get to do’, the way it opens me (or at least doesn’t shut me down) is amazing.
Example: I should write a blog post on my site because it has been too long. Feels BLAH!
Reframe: I get to write a blog post about feeling like I should, which can help other people who may be feeling the same. Feels Ahhhhh…. 🙂
Notice how a simple change of words can change your experience into something completely different?
Words and our agreement about them have the power to make our experience of life feel like one full of curiosity and openness or feel like a burden which constricts us. With awareness, we can pay attention to which words close us and which ones open us, and begin to reframe our experience by choosing more empowering words.
And the result of the reframing? A blog post that is written instead of on a to do list, a body that gets the exercise you have been avoiding doing, a phone call with a friend that you have been meaning to make that actually made you feel lighter and helped raise your vibration, etc. etc. etc.
Ready for an experiment?
How about for this week, start noticing how many ‘shoulds’ you are avoiding, and play with reframing it in a way that makes you feel more open. Make your ‘To Do’ list into ‘I get to do’ list and see what happens!
Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves that life isn’t a burden we ‘have’ to deal with, it is a gift that we ‘get’ to experience… and how we experience it all comes down to the story we tell ourselves.
And you ‘get to’ make it a fun one!