Have you ever heard the phrase, “stop shoulding all over yourself?” I remember the first time I heard it. I was a teenager and I wanted to fit in. This was followed by a barrage of shoulds.
- I should try out to be a cheerleader.
- I should enroll in athletics.
- I should be on the yearbook staff.
- I should have a boyfriend.
The word “should” has historically been knocked down in my life. I was told that I was beating up on myself, that I was expecting too much, and that I SHOULDN’T say SHOULD.
What I have found is that should, framed with a balanced mindset could be easily (and powerfully) replaced with the word LONGING.
- I long to be a cheerleader – which meant to me, to be seen, heard, and matter.
- I long to be in athletics – which meant to me, to be healthy, fit, and accepted.
- I long to be on the yearbook staff – which meant to me, to make a permanent difference in as many lives as I could touch.
- I long to have a boyfriend – which meant to me, to have companionship, love, adoration.
Today, as an adult and coach, I recognize that every should I give myself has a deeper longing behind it. The POWER of that should is this.
When I put action behind it, I take steps to fulfill my longing.
I choose to be part of charitable projects: Which means I contract with myself to: bring my full creative self to the project and any project where I can make a difference, to see this project to the end, and to honor the work I do and the work of others as we create together.
Result: I fulfill my longing to make a difference and more projects begin to manifest to expand the ripple effect of my presence in the world.
All that from a teenage longing! The word SHOULD is so powerful! And don’t forget to look within as well as outside, because both the inner and outer world have the potential to fulfill a longing. Creating inside first makes that outer expression so much more powerful and lasting!
Daily Exercise: What have you been shoulding yourself about? Do the exercise below.
- List your shoulds.
- Unroot your longing.
- Pinpoint one focus area which, when worked, will meet that longing.
- Take action and witness the results in your life.
Did you complete this exercise? Comment below on what works for you.