Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm a should - er. Are you?

I should be more disciplined. I should be friendlier. I should be less introverted. I should have finished the housework. I should have more faith. I should be nicer to my husband and children. I should stop being afraid to drive in the snow, to make phone calls, to travel. I should send more money to missions. I should be a better example. I should have had this blog post done yesterday. I should be out of my pajamas, since it's noon. And so on...


There's not a day in which I don't wake up with a load of shoulds on my shoulders and go to bed with a heap of shoulds in my head.  

This. Is. Not. Normal. (or healthy)

manbase-shouldingExample: Husband says, "We're out of mayonnaise." My automatic reply, "I'm sorry." Husband (not afflicted by the shoulds) says, "Why are you sorry?" My response, "Because I SHOULD have noticed we were running low and picked some up at the store." Hubby shakes head.

As long as my brain is full of shoulds, I never feel finished. Never quite done. Never quite good enough. We're doing a Bible study at church about grace. I got stuck on the lesson about pleasing God. If you are a should-er, pleasing God (or anyone else) seems impossible. However, Romans 12:1-2 says we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and that when we do, we'll prove (know, understand) the goodness of God's perfect will.


So I must first become aware of the shoulds in my thinking before they affect my spiritual, emotional, and physical state. That, for me, will be step #1. Some of these shoulds are so deeply rooted in my psyche it may take time to locate them all!

I discovered step #2 in a wonderful post at The Art of Manliness. (I know, I'm not a man, but this site has some great writing!) The author suggests substituting "I should" with "I choose." I like that, it's proactive instead of reactive. 

Can anyone else relate to this? I know I'm not the only should-er out here!

What have you done, or might you do, to stop should-ing on yourself?

10 comments:

  1. I oh I'm relating to this post!I am another should-er. Love replacing I should with I choose. I'm going to try that!

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  2. I scrolled past this one once. the second time I thought maybe i SHould read that! glad I did...so much like me!

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  3. Jo,
    Glad to meet another should-er! And glad you CHOSE to read this post! : )

    Hoochy,
    LOL... Even if you started with "I should" I'm still glad you read it! It's nice to know there are more of us should-ers around!

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  4. I've been cooped up in my house since Monday afternoon (yes, today is Saturday!) due to snow and ice and have been bombarded with "shoulds." I should have gotten so much more accomplished around here in 4 days than I did! That huge "should" has taken the joy out of an unexpected bit of peace and stillness, for I "chose" a lot of reading rather than a lot of housecleaning and organizing. :)

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  5. Great post, Niki. This is often on my mind -- I've been known to "should" myself to -- with to the point of not even knowing what the "right" thing to do is, anymore. Sitting here now, even, feeling like "I really should ..._______." Fill in the blank -- if you don't mind, I think I'll address this on my blog and link to you ... :)

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  6. Anne, you just made an incredible point I failed to mention. The "shoulds" suck all the joy out of living! I'm finding just saying "I choose to..." makes a huge difference in how I feel.

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  7. Andrea, ME TOO! Eventually the "shoulds" create a sort of pseudo-paralysis where I can't do anything!
    BTW, thanks for the backlink, and the great post on your blog, too! :)

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  8. Oh yeah, I'm a shoulder... but I can't keep up the facade... It's like being on a hamster wheel, running as fast as I can...

    Sometimes I think God is just waiting for me to get off the should-wheel and admit that I can't do it all... and that's okay.

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  9. LOL Cheryl, I agree. God's just waiting for us to wind down. I heard a minister once say the greatest revelation he ever had was the knowledge that if he never did another thing in his life, God would still love him just as much. Love can't be earned, whether it's God's love or the Father's. Giving ourselves permission to rest there would probably enable us to accomplish a lot more!

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  10. Ahhh, the choosing! It's so hard to choose to do things I'm not crazy about (ala cleaning the shower and taxes.) You're right. We need to be proactive in tackling the day.

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