Don't Should On Yourself

Jul 08, 2020

One of my favorite expressions is “don’t should on yourself.” As Americans, male and female alike, we have this idea of what should be happening in our lives every day. We don’t all have the same ideals, thank goodness, but each of us carries this thought process of what “should be” happening. A while back we talked about mom-shame and keeping up with the Jones’, but let's talk about self-shame a bit. The only thing you should ever do is honor your body, mind, and soul. Everything else is either something that you have been taught or a societal norm you are trying to fit. Think about it... “I should vacuum once a week.” Says who? Where in the world is that rule written? Unless you love to vacuum and it makes your heart happy to see vacuum lines on the floor, this “I should” idea was taught. Please note, I am not telling anyone to abandon all responsibility and all obligation from their lives. This is more a conversation of how you judge yourself based on what you were taught or what has been “normal” in your life. So yes, if you need to vacuum because the kids ate chips in the living room, by all means, suck those crumbs up before they get smashed into the floor. But if you have it hanging over your head because someone once told you on Wednesday’s we vacuum, let that go.  

So many times we judge ourselves based on what “should be.” I should put makeup on every morning. I should volunteer at my kid’s school. I should make homemade treats for their soccer team. I should learn a second language. I should... I should... I should... How many times do you tell yourself that? How many times do you judge yourself and beat yourself up for something you should be doing. Listen, Mama, if your family is clothed, fed, and respectful, you're doing great. If you are holding a job and honoring your body, you are doing great.  If you're getting yourself up and working towards a better version of you daily, you are doing great!

Here’s how you know the difference. If you feel better after your house is clean, then yes, you need to clean the house. If you are choosing to dust today because you “should” leave it be. If you are eating kale because you should, even though it makes you bloated, stop eating the kale. Find an alternative. Making yourself miserable because you “should be” eating kale, does not honor your body. If you are volunteering at your child’s school, but you hate being around other people’s kids. Stop it. Find some other way to serve at the school. If you are drinking a glass of wine because you’re out with your gal pals and that’s what you “should do” even though you don’t like wine... get water instead, or a rum and coke, or a beer, or an ice tea or nothing if that is your preference. Free yourself of what ‘should be’ happening and allow yourself to indulge in the activities that honor your highest good. 

Stop doing the things you “should be” doing, and start doing the things that fill your cup and honor your soul. Continue to show up in the world. Continue to serve your family and yourself in a variety of ways. Just make sure those ways make your heart happy. If that means you buy the soft sugar cookies with too much frosting (you know the ones I’m talking about) for after soccer treats, instead of homemade granola bars. That is okay. If you hire a house cleaner because you’d rather spend that time on a walk with your family, that is okay. If you don’t like kale, but can tolerate a greens powder in your smoothies, that is okay. If you don’t want to plant flowers in your yard, despite the neighbor having a colorful curb appeal, that is okay. If it doesn’t serve you to eat breakfast every day, then don’t. If it doesn’t nourish your soul to go to the church you were raised in, but you feel God in the church up the street, that is okay. If you don’t like to meditate, that is okay. If your body is telling you to rest, despite your mile-long to-do list, rest. Listen and honor it. Guess what, your list will still be there tomorrow. I promise you the world will not stop if you chose to take a nap instead of crossing something off your to-do list today.  

Pay very close attention to your inner monologue. The next time you say to yourself, I ‘should be’ make sure it’s without judgment, and it is something that honors your mind, body, and soul.  

Love and light to you—always.  


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