Work harder. Do yoga. Make more money. Eat less sugar. Make it look easy. Don’t stress.
Should. Should. Should.
How do you feel when you say “I should really start exercising more.” or “I guess I need to manage my time better.”? Kinda blah, right? Cause that’s how I feel.
When I tell myself that I should do something, that something immediately gets less exciting. The energy shifts. Especially if I just think I should do it because everybody says it’s important. Saying ‘should’ weighs me down, drains my energy and makes me wanna hide under a blanket and scream “screw you, stupid world of obligations” at innocent strangers.
So, pretty please: Stop shoulding all over yourself.
In essence, saying should makes us feel like shit.
Just because you acknowledge the fact that you should do something doesn’t make you more responsible or more productive. It doesn’t get things done for you. All it does is make you feel bad about yourself.
When I’m unhappy, one of the main reasons is always that I feel like I should be doing more even though I’m already exhausted.
I should, I really have to, I need to, I better… these things can be on replay for months.
Last year, thoughts like these were driving me crazy. Whether I acted on them or not, reminding myself of all the things I thought I should be doing generally made me feel like a loser who never accomplishes anything. And because I was feeling like a worthless idiot, I stopped trusting my own brain and intuition.
I consumed all kinds of advice to figure out what I should be doing to turn me into a capable human being again. All that did was add more shoulds to my life, which made me feel super guilty and even more crappy.
My guess is that some of you can relate to that. Now, why on earth do we allow all these shoulds to come into our lives if they generally make us feel like a bad, lazy person? Why would we want to keep doing something that makes us wanna overdose on ice cream and bad TV?
Well, there’s a psychological trick at play.
Shoulding all over ourselves has us feel like responsible grownups
In my case, I constantly reminded myself of all the things I should be doing or I should have accomplished by, well, yesterday. I felt guilty about not crossing things off my to-do list, And I kept reminding myself of where I fell short because I thought it would somehow make me a more responsible person.
Well, guess what that did: I felt unhappy and not good enough on a daily basis. And that, in turn, made me super unproductive. Feeling like crap most of the time is the surest way for me to be unmotivated, unfocused and procrastinating.
Here’s what I figured: Acknowledging what you should be doing doesn’t make you any more productive/responsible/accomplished. It also doesn’t get things done for us. And most importantly, it doesn’t contribute to our happiness.