Posted by: jude49 | July 1, 2018

Stop “Shoulding” Yourself!

Hello Readers!

Do you find yourself making statements such as:

  • I wish I would have said/done x…
  • If only I would have done x, things would have turned out better…
  • I should stop doing x…

Where do the “shoulds” come from?

“Shoulds” come from patterns, beliefs and expectations in our family-of-origin, our immediate family. Everyone grows up in a family where there are family rules, many of them unspoken.  These unspoken expectations often cause us difficulty, particularly in adolescence and adulthood. How many times have you heard comments like, “I thought you knew that!” or “Well, everyone knows you don’t do/say that!” or “Do I have to tell you everything? This is just stuff you should know!”

What is the impact of the “shoulds” on us?

Feelings of guilt, embarrassment, inadequacy and other negative emotions accompany “shoulds.” Often, we feel dumb and believe we somehow lack essential knowledge that everyone but us was handed out at birth! Often we find ourselves trying to live up to expectations that are unreasonable and impossible to fulfill. Often we feel “driven” to reach expectations that are completely nonsensical under realistic examination. We often discover that we wouldn’t hold anyone else in our position with similar issues to the expectations we are demanding of our selves.

What do we do with our expectations?

  1. We can keep our expectations. We also keep the consequences of them.
  2. We can modify our expectations. We keep what works and we discard what is no longer relevant. Expectations relevant at one time under certain circumstances may no longer be relevant or viable. Rarely will all expectations be discarded; however, if there has been substantive trauma or abuse, we may have to clean the slate and determine healthy and wholesale expectations to live by.

What are the difficulties in modifying expectations?

  1. Pressure from family and friends.
  2. Intimidation from friends from family. Example: If you have this expectation, we, your family, will exclude you from family events.
  3. Our own negative self-talk. “I know I need to change, but I’m anxious about making the changes.” “I don’t know whether I can do it.”

What are the rewards of modifying expectations?

  1. Independence.
  2. Freedom from expectations that no longer fit your life.
  3. Peace of mind and peace in knowing you are doing what is right for you and your situation.

At first, it is difficult to change your expectations. And there probably will be flack from those close to you. However, trust your gut…your mind is in your body. When you make changes from a place of positivity and strength, those around you sense your strength and positive energy. In my experience, they do come around because they see and feel your sense of rightness about the expectations you have chosen.

Best,

Judith

 

 

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