Thursday, 12 July 2018

Covered in Sh*&ld

What life would you like to lead? One where you’re feeling happy & powerful? or beaten-down & guilt-ridden?

My coach asked me that question a few years ago, and it stuck. I had spent years using a form of self-flagellation as a motivational tool.

There is a term for using self-judgement and criticism to try to change. It’s called ‘Shoulding all over yourself,’ and I am determined to stop doing it.

I’ve worked hard to transition thoughts from mean to inviting because... even if shoulding leads to change, we're teaching ourselves that the only way to attain a goal includes a large amount of suffering. One of the most effective ways of working through this has been writing every day no matter what (I'm well beyond one thousand in a row, no breaks). Those times when I just want to force myself to do it, instead, I now stop and dissect. 
The first step is to admit I have a problem. Become aware of your thoughts, that’s it. Note when words like ‘should’ ‘have to’ ‘need to’ come up. The second step is to figure out why I am thinking that way. Sometimes it's habit, sometimes it's deeper. It’s seemingly simple to ask ‘why’ of yourself, but sometimes we don’t want to see the answer because we are judging our very reasons behind the behaviour. The more honest we can be the more likely we are to find the source. Are you afraid of something? If so, what? Is it a real fear or imaginary? Do you have what you need to work through it? Can you make a list of options for getting past that fear? The third step is to invite myself to change the should into a want. Once we’ve discovered our ‘why’ it is easier to change those feelings of self-victimization to see that we actually WANT to do the thing. Note: if you can't figure out why you'd want to do something don't do it. Lately, if I catch myself covered in Sh*&ld, I’ll picture drowning in mud and chains, because this is how it feels. Let’s free ourselves of those shackles, shake off the dirt, and emerge victorious and free. It’s worth it. In any moment, we have the power to change ourselves and our experience of life. ~M *M, Well said. I loved that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw asked the question, “Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?” It resonated with me then, just as your post resonates with me now. Great advice.  - J


  1. Delete the word should from just about every thought.

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Maira Gall