I’ve spent my entire life hearing “should” and some variation of “ought to (generally it’s “otta”).
You should lose weight. You should eat better. You should write more. You should pay more attention. You should be sexier. You should be more professional. You shouldn’t act so crazy. You should be more fun. You shouldn’t hide. You shouldn’t be an introvert. You should move to the city for a better job. You should buy this. You should be more open. You should trust “me” (from various people, both romantic and not, both betrayers and not).
Worse than that…I’ve been SHOULDING all over myself for years. I’m sick of it.
I should lose weight. I should get in shape. I should be prettier. I should wear makeup. I shouldn’t sleep in. I shouldn’t game/watch all-day-bad-horror-movie-marathons. I need to save more money, I need to spend more time doing “X”. I should eat my vegetables, I should be vegan. I should eat meat. I should clean my house (ARGH!). I should do laundry (sigh). I should feed my dogs (ok, that one’s necessary and the boys are quite vocal if I’m more than 10 minutes after feeding time, so no real danger of missing it).
SHOULDING is messy. And stupid…and it doesn’t actually do the psyche any good.
When I’m SHOULD on (by myself or others), I’m given an obligation. I’m imposed upon. I’m not choosing. SHOULDING is the act of imposing values or actions instead of CHOOSING those values or actions. I’m done shoulding on myself, and I’m done allowing others to should all over me (because seriously, that’s gross).
That doesn’t mean I don’t do many of the SHOULDs anyway: I actually enjoy a lot of them. I feel calmer when my house isn’t a disaster. I feel better and have more energy when I work out regularly (particularly when I do something I think is fun). My brainpan has needs to express via writing and calm via meditation. I (GASP) LIKE vegetables.
The freedom and responsibility of choice is far more fun, exciting, and fulfilling. Therefore, I have no resolutions, because resolutions are just SHOULDs in devious disguise.
I choose to work, because I generally like getting a paycheck, I like the environment, and I’m pretty decent at the work itself.
I choose to spend time with friends, family, my husband because I LOVE them all and (even when I’m lazy and cranky) I’d rather be with them than anywhere else.
I choose to eat better and work out because I FEEL better when I do so, and in doing so I improve my physical appearance, my creativity, and my psyche.
I choose to do yoga and meditate, for the obvious (and a few less obvious) benefits.
I choose to write more, because working at it is rewarding and I want to nurture that talent toward my ultimate goals of how I want my life to work. My first book is about half done…and I greatly anticipate the accomplishment (and ROCKING celebration) I’m going to have
I choose to do household chores more often because I sneeze less and feel less anxious when my house isn’t a disaster.
I choose to stop SHOULDING and change my mindset to embracing opportunities and choice, even when the choice is the unpopular one.
My gut isn’t broken: I choose to listen.