The Idea of “Should”

should/verb

  1. 1.used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.”he should have been careful”

It’s just an idea, right? A concept? A word in the dictionary? I’m not sure what sparked my interest in how “should” or “shouldn’t” plays a role in my life, but it crosses my mind daily now.

A couple of months ago, I had come back from vacation and had planned to go to a 3-day yoga workshop a couple days later. The person who was hosting the workshop (an acquaintance) was from out of town and I had told them that I would attend. The first day of the workshop rolled around and I was feeling a lot resistance towards going. I was still tired from my trip and I was feeling low on cash. I started to feel my inner body begin to clench, this workshop was feeling like a chore. I couldn’t figure out why I was experiencing so much dis-ease. I decided that I wouldn’t go to the first day and I’d go the second. Day two rolled around, I didn’t go, day three…you get the idea. I felt like I had bailed. I felt guilty. I felt unreliable. I felt like a bad student. But, BUT–I didn’t want to go! 

Then it hit me! I didn’t want to go and that’s ok. It’s ok to not do things that you don’t want to do AND you don’t have to explain yourself to ANYONE. I had this idea in my head that I “should” go, I was “supposed” to go and because I didn’t follow this story I had created in my head, I felt guilty. That’s when I started to look deeper at the idea of SHOULD. Many of us see and feel SHOULD in our whole being as belief! A Truth. 

I think we all have a different relationship with SHOULD. A lot of people do things or say things according to what they believe they SHOULD or SHOULDN’T do. They lose their authenticity and the opportunity to get to know who they are and what they want because of these beliefs, most have been raised with. For example, “I shouldn’t eat any more”, “My body should look a certain way”, “I shouldn’t act like that” OR “I should go to that yoga workshop”. However you look at it, they all disconnect us from the harmonious state of BEING, from the birthright that we all have to be as we are. Exactly as we are. Unapologetically. SHOULD is actually COULD, not some invisible force from the universe putting moral pressure on us to stray a certain way. The “pressure” is imaginary, made up in our heads.

Because I have a natural rebellious side to me, I don’t usually do things that I don’t want to do, BUT as I mentioned before, I do feel guilty. The guilt was what weighed heavy on me. I felt guilty for not doing things that I believed I SHOULD do and man was that getting old!

I’ve become very familiar with the feeling of guilt over the years and now that I know where it stems from–>SHOULD. I have been working to rewire my relationship to it. Now when I come across something that I don’t want to do or support, I recognize that nagging “but you should! Society/your friends expect you to!” belief, and I choose to believe something different. I choose to believe that it’s my life and I can do what I want to do and not do what I don’t want to do. It’s really that simple! Not to say that I don’t struggle with it anymore, but I know I don’t want to live my life based off beliefs that make me feel like crap (to any extent!). You will probably disappoint people along the way but at the end of the day, whose beliefs do you want to live up to? YOU can create your own world of COULD and it’s allowed to change an evolve just like you do. SHOULD is just a box of black and white suffering that will keep us feeling claustrophobic in our own minds and hearts with no hope of expansion. 

We obviously need to practice love and common sense while breaking free from the chains of SHOULD or we could get ourselves into trouble depending on the situation, but I hope that we can all start small and enjoy the freedom of BEING. Ask yourself, “Do I feel like I *have* to do this or am I choosing to intentionally?” And if you feel like you *have* to do something, will you give yourself permission to do something else? Something you *want* to do?