Got the ‘shoulds’?

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?I should have written this blog much sooner, I should have gotten more done today, I should have a cleaner house, I should be more organized, I should be more focused, I should understand that spread sheet my accountant sent me…I should pay attention to details, I should go one a walk, I should, I should, I should…

This ‘list’ could be taken as an example of my most random, honest, erratic thoughts at any given moment, which it actually is ;), but it is more than that – its filled with “shoulds”.

Some ‘shoulds’ are a necessity, we should shoulder check before changing lanes, we should brush our teeth, we should eat healthy and exercise, we should get plenty of rest.

By abiding by those shoulds, we are caring for ourselves and they’re helpful.

The ‘shoulds’ that don’t serve us and actually help to activate an inner whipping girl/boy and by heading those sets of orders we’re actually self sabotage ourselves.

When we ‘should’ on ourselves it’s messy and mucks up our footing (get that stuff off your shoes!)

In the ‘shoulding’ research, (it actually exists, just called something else ☺)it shows that when we try to be who we aren’t or are hard on ourselves it sets us up for defeat, it takes the creative, confidence boosting side of our brains off line and puts us into the reactive portion of our brains that sabotages courage and creativity and we stay fearful and our thoughts and reactions become more stunted.

The truth is we shouldn’t ‘should’ on ourselves. Part of the above list included things that I have beaten myself up for, felt stupid and inadequate for. By being more accepting of who I am, embracing my own limitations and giving myself permission to be who I am: flawed, human, and perfectly, authentically imperfect, I release myself from the grip of the ‘shoulds’ and can be more me…

The ‘shoulds’ show up in subtle ways…

“I should be able to understand this detailed spreadsheet, it’s my company after all”

“I shouldn’t ask for that, it seems so petty”

“I should just get over that, it happened months ago”

“I should have remembered that date, I’m so stupid”

These expectations of seeming perfection hold us back from showing up authentically and actually fuel our lack of self esteem, our ‘not enoughness’ – the more that beast is fed, the smaller we become and the less courageously we show up in our lives.

Good news is there’s an anecdote to the ‘shoulds’, it has been shown to actually boost self confidence and it helps create acceptance of your fallible, beautiful self.

Its self compassion…Here’s how you use it

Talk to yourself as you would a friend, speak kindly to yourself. Would you ‘should’ on a friend? I didn’t think so (that creates shame…shhhh…that’s a word we don’t like to use)

Know that your feeling of not enoughness is shared with every single solitary human being. The less you see someone one else show that side of themselves the more one knows they are hustling 24/7 to keep their fear of inadequacy hidden.

Be mindful of your feelings but don’t get attached to them, just because you feel like a loser, an imposter, or you feel terrified to do something or ask for something – that does not mean that you shouldn’t, it’s a feeling, just that…Picture holding that feeling in your hand, look at it observe it, but don’t collude with it, it will pass and it may not be actually telling you the truth.

Here’s a self compassion test and a great site from one of the top self compassion researchers (you can’t fail so don’t panic – you can improve – take it again in a couple months ☺)

Lastly give yourself permission to be you, heck, write yourself a permission slip, carry it in your pocket, it softens the ‘shoulds’ and helps you to show up anyways…

In the case of the complicated spread sheet (I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it) and for those of us who could understand foreign language better than accounting, I tell myself ‘permission to ask lots of questions’ or ‘permission to learn what you can and leave the rest’ rather than my standard, self unkindness that goes more like this “seriously Leona, you should get this, this is your income statement, its English words and numbers-you should be smarter than this”

Here’s the truth, I am smart, but with numbers I feel like I topped out at about grade 8 math, I give myself permission to not understand it and realize that’s not my strong suit and that’s ok…I am ok and I am enough

You are too…More than enough, perfectly, delightfully you

Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself, please – be kind to yourself, know that we are all flawed and give yourself permission to be you ☺

The world needs you to show up – to shine

Notice where your self debilitating ‘shoulds’ are and replace your whipping person with a loving, self compassionate person, who gives yourself permission to be all you.

I’d love to hear what difference it makes ☺

Leona deVinne